Thursday, February 17, 2011

HAVING AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

IN these days, I'm having to work far longer and harder than I imaged I would at this age.  However, God's working in me the things He wants.  Nevertheless, not my will but yours, Lord.

That's our prayer every moment.  If I don't post with the same daily frequency as before, it is not because I don't want to, but because it is physically impossible.  Thank you for your faithfulness in reading and sharing the teachings God gives us here.
A. Brother

HAVING AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD

By Zac Poonen

In Song of Solomon 4:12, The Bridegroom calls the bride “a locked garden”  – an exclusive garden, exclusively for the Bridegroom. She doesn’t belong to anyone else. She belongs exclusively to her Lord.

Is your relationship with the Lord like that? Can the Lord say to you, “You are My private garden, exclusively Mine”? There are many things out in the world that can attract us like opportunities to make more money than we need, to get earthly power and fame and to earn a name for ourselves, etc. Such temptations can be compared to other men trying to seduce the bride. But the bride here is not attracted. She is taken up with her Beloved alone. She belongs to her Bridegroom exclusively.

Very few believers live in such a relationship with Christ and that is why they don’t know Him intimately and don’t understand His Word.

The secret of understanding the Bible is to have an intimate relationship with the Lord first of all – who better than He can explain to us what His Word means. Walk with Him like the early disciples did and long to hear Him speak to you. Then your eyes will be opened like theirs and your hearts will be set aflame like theirs. This is what I have discovered in the last more than forty years that I have walked with my Lord.

The bride then invites the north wind and the south wind to come and blow over her garden (Song of Solomon 4:16). The north wind is the cold wind of suffering, adversity and trials; and the south wind is the wind of blessing, encouragement, prosperity and happiness. It doesn’t matter which of these winds blow; the result will be the same – a fragrance wafted abroad. Whether we have a comfortable easy life or have a life full of difficulties and trials, the grace of God can make the aroma of Christ to come forth from us. Thanksgiving, praise and worship to God will come forth from our life, irrespective of our circumstances.

“May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (Song of Solomon 4:16) Everything that is produced in our life (our garden) is for the Lord - not to impress other people with how spiritual we are. When you give a testimony about your life, don’t try to show others what a wonderful person you are. Instead, let them see what a wonderful Saviour you have! Otherwise your fruit will be for men and not for the Lord. Here the bride says, “Everything in my garden is for my beloved alone.”

Did God use you to bring someone to Christ? Don’t rejoice in what you did. Rejoice with the angels that a sinner repented. He is the Lord’s convert not yours. If you made a sacrifice for the Lord, let no one know about it. Why should we advertise our sacrifices? Does a wife who loves her husband deeply tell the world about the sacrifices she makes for him? There are so many loving secrets between a wife and a husband. There should be loving secrets between us and the Lord too. You may be spending time alone with the Lord-Good.  But why should anyone else know about that? A wife who is in love with her husband will not want anyone to know about their times together. That was why Jesus told us to shut the door when we pray. Nobody should know about the times we spend with our Beloved.

But it is rare indeed to find Christians like this. Most of them are eager to let everyone know about their sacrifices and their service for the Lord - in a way that glorifies them! That is the clearest proof that they lack a love-relationship with the Lord. Song of Solomon is an important book for all such Christians. I am deeply thankful to the Lord that He led me to study this book first, when I began my Christian life. This love-relationship with the Lord should be the basis of all our service for the Lord.
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