TJS Podcast – Growing in Intimacy with God: Does God Talk to Us? (Episode 11)

If we’re going to be the people God wants us to be in the Kingdom of God and to function as agents of hope and blessing in the world, we’ve got to be different people. God needs to transform us. And we’ve talked a bit about the role of the Spirit in transformation, and how we can cooperate with the Spirit’s leading by becoming better abiders and “cleaving” to the Lord so that he can do his work in us.

We’re going to expand on all that over the next few weeks and talk about growing in Intimacy with God. How do we learn to lean into God, to experience him more fully, and to come to rest — really rest — in his love for us? To relate to God not just as a distant King who we’ve read a book about, but as a real, present, loving Father who “walks with us and talks with us and tells us we are his own.”

For me, everything God wants to do in us and through us hinges on an unfolding relationship and growing intimacy with God. True intimacy will never develop between two people when one or both of them is holding back who they really are and what’s going on inside. But that takes work, right? All relationships take work if they’re to be really healthy. The problem is that most of us “want — expect, really — for intimacy with God to come to us hassle free, with little effort on our part. Pretty much the way we’d like the rest of our life to go — convenient. So rather than a real, daily conversation with the present God, we’ll opt for the occasional bit of predigested, mass-dispensed universal truth.” (Kent Smith)

But that assumes a level of communication, right? It assumes conversation. That’s true with people and it’s also true with our relationship with God. If we’re going to develop real intimacy with God, there has to be communication, and that communication has to be both ways.

And that’s often where we as Christians stumble. Because we get talking to God. But it doesn’t always seem like God talks to us. Or maybe some of us don’t believe God talks to us. I’ve spent much of my adult life as part of a denomination that largely denies that God speaks to us. He spoke to us in creating the Bible, and that’s the only way he speaks.

Well, I no longer believe that the Bible is the only way God speaks to us. I think it’s the primary way, for sure. In fact, I’l say that even more strongly. I don’t believe you CAN have a healthy relationship with the Father without a deep engagement with Scripture. And I don’t believe God will ever say anything to us outside of Scripture that contradicts Scripture, but to have the idea that God went mute after the Bible was written has become for me, untenable. AND, it actually contradicts the Bible.

Join me today as we discuss:

1) Should we expect God to speak to us individually? Does Scripture affirm that?

2) If so, what does that look like? How does it happen? What should we expect?

3) Some of the barriers to hearing from God.

Dallas Willard says, “Today, there is a desperate need for large numbers of people throughout our various social groupings who are competent and confident in their own practice of life in Christ and in hearing his voice. Such people would have the effect of concretely redefining Christian spirituality for our times. They would show us an individual and corporate human existence freely and intelligently lived from a hand-in-hand, conversational walk with God. That is the biblical ideal for human life.”

But I want to end today with this quote from Arthur Miller, because it helped me tremendously. In fact, I think God spoke to me through these words at a time when I desperately needed to hear them, when I was trying to figure all this out. Here’s the quote:

“How does [God] so communicate with you? How will you know? Because God has designed your frame and understands how you are put together, and how you function, what you notice and what you ignore, what you read, what you hear, and what gets your attention. Because the Spirit of God is resident within you and has a job to do as you do yours — leading, nudging, instructing, guiding, opening new doors, reminding, questioning, affirming, prodding, sometimes engineering circumstances — strange, extraordinary things happen. If you need a knock on the side of your head, or a sense of God’s love that will take your breath away — that will happen in God’s time and in a way only you will understand.” – Arthur F. Miller, Jr.

Resources for today’s show:

1. Armchair Mystic: How Contemplative Prayer Can Lead You Closer to God, by Mark E. Thibodeaux SJ (2001, updated 2019)
2. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, by Dallas Willard (2012)
3. Walking with God: How to Hear His Voice, by John Eldredge (2016)
4. Soul Work: Confessions of a Part-Time Monk, by Randy Harris (2011)
5. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence, by Ruth Haley Barton (2010)
6. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, by Ruth Haley Barton (2006)
7. The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence, by Henri J. M. Nouwen
8. He Loves Me: Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection, by Wayne Jacobsen (2008)
9. The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery, by David G. Benner (expanded ed. 2015)

Music Provided by Nathan Longwell Music

2 thoughts on “TJS Podcast – Growing in Intimacy with God: Does God Talk to Us? (Episode 11)

  1. Pingback: The Lord’s Prayer Part I — Teach Us To Pray | The Jesus Society

  2. Pingback: The Lord’s Prayer Part II — The Father Heart of God | The Jesus Society

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