In the previous blog we saw how a close relationship with scripture that is undergirded by obedience forms the bedrock of our ability to hear and discern the Lord’s voice equipping us to daily walk with and follow Him. In addition, scripture is the foundation and framework for constructing a personal knowledge of God by which we are to access everything we need for life and godliness and by which we develop the ability to reliably hear and discern His voice for ourselves.
The intentional development of a personal knowledge of God and intimacy with Him is central in our hearing God’s voice for ourselves. Christ made this absolutely clear in the very chapter in which he categorically states, “My sheep hear my voice”
John 10:14 — 15
“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.
Our (the sheep’s) ability to hear the Shepherd’s voice is knowledge based. This is where it starts – coming into and growing a personal knowledge of Christ is the starting point and building block of hearing the Shepherd’s voice for ourselves. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the way by which we come to know God the father and enter His sheepfold.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
It is in coming to and encountering the person of Christ for ourselves that we enter into a personal knowledge of Him and God the Father. No other way. And without a personal knowledge of the Shepherd, it is impossible for the sheep to hear and discern His voice for themselves.
Once one has come into a personal knowledge of Christ, one is naturally expected to grow in that knowledge and develop intimacy in order to consolidate oneself in Christ and be able to discern the Shepherd’s voice. For it is to the level that one knows Christ and is intimate with Him one is able to stay strong in the faith and discern His voice with clarity.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
Colossians 2:6 – 7
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
There are three fundamental players in building and developing intimacy in our relationship with Christ.
Obedience is the be all and end all of intimacy. Intimacy is founded and constructed on a life of trusting obedience to Christ. It is through our obedience to Christ and His word (abiding in them) and continual walking in the light in all areas of our lives that we inch closer and closer to the Father’s heart. Without living in the light – that is, God’s irreplaceable attribute, His essence and very nature – it is impossible to have or maintain even a form or semblance of communion with God. When we choose to walk in the light, we choose to walk with God. This does not mean we are without fault or sin all the time but have chosen to go the way of the cross where we repeatedly find forgiveness and cleansing from our sins.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
It is this type of open fellowship and walking with God that facilitates intimacy – open to His searching light and ready to confess and repent from all sin in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing for a restored walk with Him. This is the bottom line.
Involvement & Inclusion
Next, intimacy is developed with the involvement and unhindered inclusion of Christ in every area of our lives. As we involve Him and our walk with Him impacts more and more areas of our lives we develop a truly intimate walk with Him where nothing in our lives is out of bounds to Him. There cannot be an area or section of our lives where Christ is unwelcome or hindered if we are serious with developing an intimate walk and life with Him making it easier and effortless to hear His voice for ourselves. And as we walk through the various trials and challenges, ups and downs of life involving Him in every one of them, we grow a firsthand and intimate knowledge of Him and His faithfulness.
Finally, intimacy is developed over time and with time. Time is the common denominator here – it takes time to develop intimacy and the development of intimacy is dependent on the time we dedicate to our relationship with Christ. It is in our intentionally making time and effort to draw near to God that we find He draws exponentially near to us.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Intimacy is a progressive project developed over time and not a state achieved overnight. The more time we spend with Christ on a regular and ongoing basis, the better we get to know Him and the deeper the intimacy developed making hearing His voice in our lives light work.