Moving Past the “To Do List” (Abiding & Intimacy with God Intro)

Photo Source: SwordSwag; used with permission. 

Can we talk as if we are old friends? I would love to spend time sharing with you. I love sharing experiences. The next series of posts will be on abiding and cultivating intimacy with God. I will share testimonies and experiences with God. 

The Bible is filled with the experiences of men and women who encountered God; they did life with God. They joined God’s story. God invites us to join His story. Are you excited to know God? I am. 

A peak into my walk with God… 

My mother said my first word was Jesus. She would pray and read the Bible with me beside her as an infant/toddler. I’ve been with God for decades. I gave my life to Jesus when I was a very young child; we’ve been on some glorious adventures and challenges together. 

If I speak to you about a topic, know I’ve either walked through it, I’m walking through it, and it’s been (being) tested in my life. I am not an expert. I, like you, am on a journey of cultivating intimacy with God. 

So to get us started, let’s examine the infamous “To Do List!”

I met with a friend a few weeks ago and we talked about the Christian “To Do List”. 

Are you familiar with the “To Do List”? 

The “To Do List,” contains all of the things we need “to do” to become more like Jesus or be a good Christian. 

We talked about the failures that arise from being told what to do without anyone modeling or showing you how to do something. We also talked about the stress involved with striving and self effort. 

We were told to do the following: 

  • Confess Jesus 
  • Go to Church (worship gatherings)
  • Give 
  • Serve 
  • Read the Bible 
  • Worship 

We discussed how doing these things did not give us all the information needed to cultivate deep intimacy with God. 

It is possible to do the list and still not know God in deep ways. Say what? Yes, you heard me correctly. I did the list for years. I could quote to you all the things I knew about God. I could quote scriptures for you. I could regurgitate what I learned. 

There’s a vast difference between knowing things about someone and knowing them intimately. 

I wrote a book. People who read it or things I write on social media can say they know things about me. They can regurgitate what I say. They do not know me intimately. The people who know me intimately talk to me regularly, have lived with me, or we’ve done missions together; they have suffered with me, or they have walked with me through seasons of life. They have been with me through the good and challenging seasons. 

Intimacy, sweet friends, requires proximity. When we respond to the call of salvation, we are saying, “God come live in me. Abide in me. I am Your dwelling place. Be Lord over my life.” We open the door to our entire lives, and invite God to have access to it all. 

God is after a profound, life-giving, intimate relationship; a deeper and more intimate relationship than a human marriage. He longs to be first. He alone can fulfill the human heart. Jesus did life with the disciples.

Let’s back up to the “To Do List”; those are great disciplines. They are necessary. They do not substitute or replace the need for a personal, one-on-one relationship with God. I can read the Bible and miss God completely if my objective is to check a box instead of engage with the Author. 

How did I start the journey of deeper intimacy with God? I prayed. 

I was in a long term relationship that seemed as though it would lead to marriage. I prayed. I don’t believe in jumping into marriage without prayer, wise counsel, and weighing all aspects of the relationship. In hindsight I wish I had prayed before we started dating. Hindsight is 20/20 right? Lesson learned. 

God and I had the “To Do List,” relationship going. Yet something inside me (Holy Spirit), kept tugging for more of God. There had to be more. 

My focus of prayer initially was, “Should I marry this person?” My prayer wasn’t, “Lord take me deeper.” 

One afternoon I was in my bedroom praying. I was quite serious about this prayer time. I asked God directly, “Should I marry this man?” I was young, still in college, and had never lived on my own. I heard a voice as clear as day say, “No!” It was outside my head. 

I looked around for another source and could find none. You would think the audible voice of God would lead me to break things off. Nope. I kept praying. Why? I did not believe at the time God would speak directly to me. 

I thought God spoke only to pastors or only through His word. He spoke to people in the Bible, not directly to me about every day things. This lie kept me from going deeper in intimacy with God. His word says, “My sheep will know my voice.” 

The more I prayed, the worse things were in the relationship. We’d known each other 8 years, since we were kids. How do you walk away? You choose God. I will save the rest of the story for another day. 

After I ended the relationship, I began to seek God in more purposeful ways. I cried out for “More Lord!” Gosh that was over 12 years ago. I would steal away to be with God for hours and cry out to hear and know His voice. 

After salvation, and years of doing the “To Do List,” I wanted more. God responded in great ways. I prayed the following prayers. 

God I want to know You! 

I want to meet with You face to face; heart to heart. 

I want to be best friends. 

I want to know Your voice. 

I want to love like You love. 

I want the character of Jesus manifested in my life. 

I’m hungry for more of You…

He responded to those prayers in ways I cannot express in one blog post. I can say, if you pray these prayers, expect God to show up. He did not and has not answered these prayers in ways I thought He would. He did show up and invite me on this journey into the most glorious places of His heart. 

So stay tuned. I am praying for you, for us, to continually encounter the perpetual goodness and greatness of God. 

Key note: there’s always more to learn about God. There’s always more! 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

One thought on “Moving Past the “To Do List” (Abiding & Intimacy with God Intro)

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