Intimacy with Christ
By Dave Palmer
“If you think you have come to the mission field because you are a little better than others, or as the cream of your church, or because of your training, or for the service you can render, or even for the souls you may see saved, you will fail. Remember, the Lord has only one purpose ultimately for each one of us; to make us more like Jesus. He is interested in your relationship with Him. Let Him take you and mould you as He will; all the rest will take its rightful place.” (Team leader Jack Scholes to Dr Helen Roseveare the night she arrived to start her missionary service in the Belgian Congo in 1953—as quoted in her 1966 autobiography, Give Me This Mountain.)
When I was converted, it was with the conviction that the Bible from first word to last is the truth. From the start I sensed that if I was to know God, I would have to read it.
But I got busy. Everything I did – marriage, shifting, study, church – was done with prayer and the belief that God was in it. But closeness to God slipped as other ‘good’ things or stresses crowded in.
In 1993, with marriage gone and work life a failure, I was given a prophetic word which said in part: ‘As you open My Word I will come to you.’ Still I struggled. In 2000, a visiting preacher walked past me and yelled “Get into the Word!” In 2002 another one said, “‘My way,’ says God, ‘is in the secret place, and in the quiet place, that I would speak into your heart and into your life.’ ”
A man in my church had a vision of a vestibule with doors marked ‘prayer’, ‘service’, ‘compassion’, ‘worship’, and ‘faith’ among others. There was a door marked ‘intimacy with Jesus’ that he believed Jesus wants us all to choose.
Often since then I have heard the message about being in the Word – notably when a retired missionary, feeble in body but strong in spirit and voice, asked me if I read my Bible every day. When I said no, she asked, “Then how do you expect to hear from God?”
Maybe I’ve got it this time. Since reading Dr Roseveare’s book this year I have had a renewed vigour in reading the Bible. I’m poring over the Scriptures because they testify about Christ (John 5:39). Reading the Word will lead me to fellowship with Him. My attention has especially been drawn to the descriptions of Christ in Paul’s letters. He could not have written these things without knowing Christ intimately. My expectation is that, as I open the Word, the same Christ who had fellowship with Paul and led him will do the same with me.
‘But when it pleased God… To reveal His Son in me’ (Galatians 1:15-16). I am looking for that to be my daily testimony.
This article originally appeared in NZ Christian Writers magazine, and was used with permission. www.NZChristianWriters.org