Recently my wife and I spent an evening with son, daughter, and granddaughter. It’s always a pleasurable experience to just be with, to just hang with them.

Today I was thinking about how I always liked to see my kids perform; Martin with his baseball or football uniform, all decked out in his gear; Jessica all dressed up and fancy singing and dancing in school; Chance playing basketball or performing a new song he wrote on his guitar.

Today they are expanding on that as they mature and grow into adulthood. Now they are performing at a new level: Jessica as a wife and mom of our four month (two year) old granddaughter Clair, and Chance and Martin contending in competition to win the prize of the best uncle. I love to see them perform and excel in life and activities, and I’m proud.

Still my favorite time with them isn’t when they are all geared up to perform, or excel, in a life activity. It’s when they are relaxed and casually comfortable and desiring to spend time with me. That’s my favorite time. It’s not about performing, or showing, or flexing their life muscles, but enjoying dad and daughter or dad and son time. That’s my favorite time.

In the light of this I think of how my heavenly father desires to spend time with me. Sure he likes to see us fight the good fight of faith, all decked out with the armor of God. When we exercise our gifts, callings, and perform exploit for the purpose and extension of the Kingdom of God, I believe He watches and cheers us on.

But to see us perform isn’t His greatest desire. The cross is the bridge that God the Father intended to reconnect us so we could relate, and spend time with Him. Open, face to face, heart to heart communication is what He longs for as well as what we truly need. We tend to approach Him, to petition for something we need or want to have Him do for us. But He loves us to draw near, just to be with Him.

It is when we experience this kind of closeness that our potential to truly excel in life can increase dramatically. The very things we want in life; the success we strive for is found when we stop performing and simple draw near to be with Him. Here’s how a practical approach can be implemented to experience a closer connection with our Father God.

In the mornings I take time to be with my Heavenly Father. But it is more than just reading the bible or praying a pray. Consistently, I take notice of the visuals in my place of prayer that remind me of all my blessings, possessions, desires, hopes, gifts and callings, ministry and business ambitions, money, health and everything and everyone that I cherish, and I visualize removing them from my life, and placing them at the feet of my Father, God. Then I worship Him without all my stuff. Regularly, I make a point to surrender all to Him.

This is a key to intimacy in our relationship with the Father and the Son – surrender. It’s not like a bandit surrendering to the sheriff but more like a bride setting everything else aside to be lost in intimacy with her groom. This kind of surrender calls for us to yield to God and to worship Him in the midst of the good and the bad of life experiences. That is how we can come to rejoice in all things.

The Word of God teaches that it is what we give away that can be increased. It’s the seed buried in the ground never to be recovered from the earth, that will eventually bring forth a harvest. If our precious people and possession in life are in competition with our relationship with our Heavenly Father, these things can usurp our relationship with Him, hindering the fullness of blessing He wants to bestow on us. God doesn't hindering our relationship - its the divided loyalties of the heart that do.

When I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ it wasn’t a conditional surrender. My life I became a coin in His pocket to spend however he chooses. What he has chosen for me and for you is son-ship through the new birth in Jesus Christ. Can any of us choose better than that, for ourselves?

Some people treat God as a coin in their pocket to spend however they choose. They have created God in the image of man or in other words they have a false belief about God that has now become the driving force of their belief about God. Regardless of whether we shape a figure out of gold and call it god or we shape our personal idea about god into a belief system about god - both are idolatry. There is the truth and then there is everything else. Belief about God must be based on the Truth. Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me". He is who we will stumble over if we don't embrace Him, in truth.

After I’ve spent time with my Father, I ask if I can put back on and into my life all the blessing he has bestowed on me, and I request an increase of His blessing. I then proceed to live each day with a yielded heart, knowing that soon, I will be surrernding all before my father again, getting casual and comfortable with Him, as a son. I also know that I can expect an increase, a favor, and a blessing because God desires to bless and increase what I surrender to Him.

The Word says to put on the full armor of God….. I’ve heard Christians say that they never take it off. In light of their response it was hard to understand why one would need to put it back on if you never took it off. Now I understand.

In the presence of our Father we don’t need the armor on. It would be ridiculous and probably an obstacle to an intimate relationship with God. The armor is part of His provision granted to us to battle effectively, in this world. I suggest Laying the armour at His feet along with everything else, and spend time with your Father, God. He loves you. Do that and see your provision, protection, gifting, and favor for the purposes of the Kingdom increase. Even more important; we experience quality time with our Heavenly Dad. That’s the best part.

Doug Hobelman     7/12/2012