Mistaking spiritual information for intimacy

WritingYou could call me an information pack rat. As I flipped through the pages of my journal on Sunday, I found a rich bank of scribbled sermon notes, bedside thoughts, and devotional gleanings.

But there was something missing. The pale yellow pages told a story of a young man who substituted information for intimacy – and then starved.

The journal lacked the prayerful vitality that springs from communion with God. I marveled at God as if he was one of those fold-out pictures in a National Geographic, talking to myself in my journal about God, but not actually to God.

Information cannot feed the soul. Experiencing intimacy with God can.
There is an important distinction between information and intimacy. It’s like the difference between the boy daydreaming about the girl sitting two rows in front of him at school, and the lover walking hand-in-hand with his bride in the flower gardens. The schoolboy says an awkward hello. The lover gently tucks a flower in his bride’s hair.

Information is key to intimacy. Therefore, we study God’s Word. A rich knowledge of God’s character enables more intimate adoration and worship.

But information is not equivalent to intimacy anymore than hours of surfing Facebook is equivalent to personal relationships.

Because even the most vast reservoirs of information can not feed the soul, Psalm 63:1-8 has become my cry:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

My journaling is now taking on a new tone as the result of the Holy Spirit’s work over the last few months. What’s the tone of your quiet time, journaling, and prayer? How much intimacy do you really have with God?

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