Intimacy with God is something that most disciples of Jesus would love to experience as a reality. Sometimes this can be seen as only attainable by people who are ‘super spiritual’. This is not the case. Like any relationship, if we want to get to know another person well, we need to be willing to spend time with them and get to know them. Every believer can know what it is to know and be known by God if we are willing to invest the time and effort into developing this intimacy with Him.
Read John 5:16-20. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. What does the expression “intimacy with God” mean to you? Do you know somebody who experiences intimacy with God? What does this look like?
2. Read John 12:49-50. Jesus’ life expressed the reality of His relationship with His Father God. How did He develop this? How can we do this?
3. How do you respond when your “belief in God” doesn’t translate into your “experience of God”? How do we hold this tension without eroding our faith?
4. Jesus personally knew God the Father. He didn’t just know information about Him. How can we personally know God?
5. How does our day-to-day life express our relationship with God?
6. What does it mean to obey God? Why do we not always do so?
7. Why is knowing, loving and obeying God necessary to maintain intimacy with Him?
To live a ’normal’ Christian life that holds the tension between what we believe and what we experience of God, we need to be willing to know, love and obey God.
Take a pen and paper and write down what comes to your mind for the following 3 questions. Then ask God which of your written answers are from Him for you today.
Father God, what are you like? How do You feel about me? What is one thing that You are calling me to do this week?
Take a moment to do this, and pray together as a group.
There’s a moment in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus very carefully and deliberately shows His disciples some very simple, repeatable steps to help them learn to hear God’s voice for themselves. He teaches them to observe and reflect on their circumstances right now and ask: Is God trying to get my attention with what is happening? They gained insight into what He was saying as they discussed it together. They then responded together with clear plans of action. As we follow in their footsteps we can discover the power of hearing God for ourselves.
Read Matthew 6:25-34. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. Do you believe that God speaks to his disciples today? How can we demystify the idea of hearing from God in our everyday life?
2. How can we create space in our crowded lives to hear God speak to us personally? What do we need to do to enable this?
3. What helps you stop and reflect on what God is saying to you in a certain situation?
4. Read Hebrews 10:24-25. Who are you in community with that you trust to speak into your life? Do they have permission to do so?
5. What does the term accountability mean to you? How does spiritual partnering differ from spiritual “policing”?
6. Given the strategy that we see Jesus using with His disciples, is this something that you could implement to hear from God for yourself. How?
Living as a disciple of Jesus in partnership with Him requires us to live dependently on Him. How does this integrate or challenge our independent lifestyles? Talk together about some concrete ways you can be actively more dependent on the Lord this week. Commit yourself to one and check in with each other the next time you get together.
The New Testament teaches us to be discerning as we listen for God’s voice. We know He will speak in a way that is always consistent with Scripture. We need to submit what we think He is saying to trusted people who can help us get clarity. Hearing God’s voice will lead us to enjoy the peace and provision of God. His will aligns us with how He has created us.
Read John 10:1-6. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. Share a time when you have “heard God speak” to you.
2. What filters do you use to distinguish the voice of God?
3. Read Romans 8:14. What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? Is this for today?
4. Read 1 Samuel 3:8. Samuel could hear the voice of God, while Eli was not able to. Why might this be the case? What are some things that can stop us from hearing God’s voice?
5. What are some of the steps you would take to ensure that you hear from God when making a life changing decision?
6. What part does our intimacy with God play in us hearing from God?
Take time as a group for someone to share an area in life where they would like to hear God’s voice. It could be a significant decision or a part of your more “every day” life. As a group, take time to pray for them. Then take a moment to reflect on any thoughts, impressions, Scripture verses or pictures that might help you to hear God’s voice in this situation. Share these together, taking time to carefully discern whether God is speaking through them. Pray for others as you have time and feel led.
One of the lessons we can learn from the great characters of the Bible is that they trained themselves to listen for God’s voice, no matter what was going on in the world around them. They didn’t just try harder, they trained better. Their experience with basic practices like waiting on God, studying the Scriptures and seeking godly counsel often positioned them to hear the Spirit’s promptings even in the toughest situations in life. As we look at their example, we can learn to do the same.
Read 1 Samuel 30.1-8. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. How does God communicate with you? Share your ‘norm’ of hearing from God.
2. What do you do when you find it hard to hear from God?
3. Read 1 Samuel 30:6. David was in a tough place, but found strength in the Lord. Has this ever been your experience? Share.
4. When we are faced with a challenge we may respond by blaming ourselves or others, blaming God, taking things into our own hands, or complaining about the situation. Is there one response that you default to? What could be a different way to respond?
5. What is your default response towards God in good times?
6. David had developed his relationship with God in the good times which enabled him to turn to God in the challenging times. What is your regular routine of spending time with God? How can you develop this to help you in challenging periods?
Take some time quietly as a group and ask this question: Where has God been at work in your life lately? In a few minutes of silent prayer and reflection, ask God to help you search through yesterday. Where did you sense His presence, or not? Does anything grab your attention now? In hindsight, do you notice any things you missed in the moment? Were there moments the Lord was trying to speak? Are there areas God is showing you where you strayed in an attitude or choice? If you’re human, the answer is likely ‘yes’! After a few minutes, take a moment to share something with the group. Give thanks in prayer that God so often wants to speak to us no matter what is happening in life.