Here at the Growth Mandate we want to make sure that we hear from different people, who are passionate about growth. This month we have a guest post from my fantastic, faith filled friend Maxine. Read what she has to say below.
Friendship with God
Imagine never being able to hear. You’ve never heard your favourite banger of a song, your mother’s comforting whisper as you fell asleep, or your closest friend’s ridiculously hilarious laugh. Once, I saw a middle-aged Nepali man HEAR for the first time! That’s right, he was deaf, and by his openness to Jesus and our faith in the power of God, he’s now HEALED! Following Jesus really is the book of Acts in real life; wild. This was one of many absolutely mind-blowing miracles of God that I witnessed with my own eyes in the Himalayas!
In seeing countless miracles of healing of devout Nepali, Hindu villagers, desperately hungry to hold the word of God in their hands, I was struck by the reality of every human heart; our most desperate need of all is to know the Lord.
In every region, city or unknown land I’ve walked, from the Himalayas to the Middle East, as cultures and communities seek to define and fight for their own idea of truth, I’m reminded that all we are ever searching for is Truth – the person! All we ever wanted was to know Jesus! But our hearts are unaware until we realise and acknowledge our deepest need for God, and actually meet Him!
There’s a powerful truth running through each story of these people experiencing who God is, of whom many have never even heard of the name or person of Jesus. Almost every heart I met in the remote villages of the Himalayas was so deeply aware of their desperate need for Jesus. So they carried such a raw hunger to encounter God, to know and discover who He is, with beautiful wonder and awe of Him! This struck me and convicted me deeply. Do I live in this awareness of my desperate need for Jesus?
Maybe God took me all the way up to 3000 metres altitude in the Himalayan mountains to show me that I actually need Jesus. That I really, really need Him. In my moments of horrific altitude sickness (ie. throwing up all night), to communicating with Nepalis who have absolutely no idea what I’m saying, to living here in my own community. I always need God. I’m never not in need of Jesus.
My desire is that I would live fully aware of my desperate need for Jesus, every single day. And that every person I know and meet would also recognise their need for Him. I believe this is how we build a beautiful friendship with God, and learn to listen to and know His voice and His heart, as we recognise that we’re in need of Him!
Do you want to experience this kind of intimacy with God?
Imagine if you lived in the same awareness of your need for intimacy with Jesus as the (no longer) deaf Nepali man I met. What would that do for your life? It would drastically change things for sure! While this may be what we desire, we are left with the question of how? How can we walk in an increased awareness of our need for intimacy with Jesus, and grow in friendship with God?
Abide in me, and I in you…for apart from me you can do nothing.
Abiding in Jesus and walking in friendship with Him calls for some serious dependency on Him, and surrender!
We can’t know the Lord without knowing His voice.
I am deeply convinced that we can’t live without the voice of the Lord! His voice enables us to live in constant communion with Him, to live in intimacy and friendship with the Father! Jesus gives an unbelievable promise to us, that all that He hears from the Father, He makes known to us! (John 15:15)
This is where our dependence on Jesus comes in. Living in full reliance on Him and always acutely attune to the whisper of His voice.
What this looks like for us is seen in the beautiful picture of my favourite living thing apart from people; my dog. Old mate Blackie hangs on absolutely every word that I say, and he’s always at my feet, walking as close as he possibly can to my leg that sometimes, I trip over him! I want to live listening and responding to the voice of God just the same, to hang on every word that He says, led so closely by the Father! This is what it looks like to be a friend of God!
To grow in intimacy with the Lord, we need to trust His heart.
Do you fully believe, without one inch of a question, that He knows you, your heart, and that His nature is innately good? We need to be grounded in the truth of the nature and character of God to walk in friendship with the Lord!
This is where our surrender comes in. When we’ve surrendered our misunderstandings, our flawed ideas of the truth of who He is, we offer our hearts to Him. As we let Him reveal who He is to us, this builds trust! And we freely share what we carry on our hearts with the Father, and He shows us what’s on His. His flawless pursuit of us becomes mirrored in our surrendered, poured out heart’s pursuit of Him!
Here we will find ourselves living fully free in our constant need of the Father, in pure dependency on Him! This is friendship with God!
Living in dependency on God is so freeing! It’s where we live in deep friendship with God; acknowledging our greatest need for Him and therefore what shapes our lives is knowing Jesus. Being in need of God is not a weakness, it’s a gift! For this is how we can know Jesus and grow in intimacy with God!
First and foremost, this is our call: to know the Lord. Intimacy with Jesus. And because God never changes, neither does our call or our greatest need for Him! I pray that we would each step into this life-transforming dependency on and friendship with God. That we would always lean into and rely on Jesus, that we would know above everything else that our deepest need of all is to know Him. Trust me, it’s even far more wild than hearing your friend laugh for the very first time.