Today I have a guest host, Ava Pennington. She has graciously volunteered to help me this week because I’m having foot surgery.
by Ava Pennington
How intimate is your relationship with God? How intimate do you want it to be?
I’ve always heard that if I wanted to be close to God, I needed to be intentional about spending time with Him in prayer, reading the Bible, obeying His Word, and fellowshipping with His people.
But I’m the master of the to-do list, and even though I checked those items off my list each day, something was still missing. Maybe it’s because these activities can deteriorate into rituals. I can easily go through the motions of religious behavior with a disengaged heart.
Then I began to think about how people move from acquaintances to personal friends. We get to know them by spending time with them and we listen as they reveal intimate details about themselves.
However, when it comes to intimacy with God, we often depend on what other people say about Him. We learn from our parents, from religious traditions, even from our culture. But we can miss who God says He is.
Problem is, I grew up attending Sunday school and I still had trouble understanding what God said about Himself. I misunderstood many of the names and attributes of God which had brought comfort to countless generations.
For example, what does God mean when He calls Himself Jealous? Or what about when God calls Himself a Consuming Fire? Even the more familiar names and attributes can be misunderstood. The Bible says God is love (I John 4:8). But how do we define love? Hearts & flowers? Terms of endearment?
One characteristic of intimacy is trust. It’s difficult to trust a stranger. But the more we learn about who God is and how He works, the easier it is for us to trust Him.
The foundation of that trust is a complete picture of God. All the names and attributes of God combine to reveal His nature and His glory. We misunderstand who God is when we focus on one name or attribute of God to the exclusion of all others.
Let’s face it. We are naturally drawn to certain names and attributes of God over others. Savior? Merciful? Faithful? That’s how I enjoy thinking of God. Jealous? Consuming Fire? Judge? Not so much.
But those who focus only on God’s characteristic of love often end up with an anything-goes god who tolerates sin. Others who focus on God’s holiness to the exclusion of all other characteristics create a fire-and-brimstone god who is unloving, unmerciful, and uncompassionate.
God is love and He is holy. He is merciful and He is just. He is all these things and more. To intimately know Him we must be intentional about learning all that He is – not just one or two characteristics that appeal to who we want Him to be.
That’s why I wrote Daily Reflections on the Names of God. It’s a one-year devotional that explores 122 names and attributes of God three ways: who God is, who we are in light of who He is, and how this changes our relationships with others.
Ask God to show you who He is. Mine treasures from His Word as He reveals His nature and His ways through His names and attributes. The result will be intentional intimacy Him.
Dig into His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, and learn what He has said about Himself.
Wherever you are, whatever you are facing in your complicated life today, God – in ALL of His attributes – is everything and anything you will ever need.
Ava, Thank you for sharing this with my readers and for helping me with a guest post while I recover. I’m thinking this book would make a great Christmas gift.
Ava Pennington is the author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God, released by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries International. Visit her blog at www.AvaWrites.com/blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. She is also a regular contributor to My Purpose Now.
How can you help me and Ava? Tweet these. Thank you!
God knows your name. Do you know His? (CLICK TO TWEET)
Knowing God’s names will change how you trust Him. (CLICK TO TWEET)
How intimate is your relationship with God? (ClICK TO TWEET)
How many attributes of God do you know? (ClICK TO TWEET)