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Rise Above "Normal"

The key to developing exceptional intimacy with God

Have you ever wanted to be great at something? Do you look at people who excel with just a little jealousy or envy, wondering what it's like to be a famous singer or Olympic athlete? In every category of life, there are people who seem to soar while the rest of us are bound by gravity.

I think this is also true with spirituality. Some people seem to live on a different plane in their relationship with God. Were they born with a "superhuman" spiritual gene? How did David become the "apple of God's eye" (Psalm 17:8, NIV)? Why were John the Baptist, Moses, Mary, and Daniel so highly favored by God?

Super Christians?

The list of "super Christians" isn't limited to the Bible. Throughout history and even in our time, some men and women are marked by a profound intimacy with the Creator. Some are famous and others completely obscure. I've always wondered what made them a cut above in the spiritual realm. Just as I could never hope to be a great athlete or Nobel Prize-winning genius, I also assumed that reaching great spiritual heights and depths was impossible. Until recently . . .

What I came to realize is that these people are normal, but they have "abnormal" relationships with God.

I had the incredible opportunity for four years to sit behind the microphones of Focus on the Family and talk to some of the "super Christians" of our day. I expected to meet people who were somehow different. Would Max Lucado turn my water into a soy latte? Would Nancy DeMoss and Jerry Bridges have halos around their heads? What I came to realize is that these people are normal, but they have "abnormal" relationships with God. They simply don't settle for a status quo walk with the Lord.

Singular focus

So what is it that sets apart those who walk intimately with God from the average Christian? Is it some special anointing from God? Perhaps. But Scripture also reveals to us a secret route to the heart of God. David wrote, "The one thing I ask of the LORD—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). And Paul wrote, "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).

God is no respecter of persons. He shows favor to those who make him the one, primary pursuit of their lives.

Giving him all

Perhaps what's keeping us from the deepest waters of God's presence and intimacy is our own lack of desire for him.

If we are honest, most of us admit to often being 80-percent or 90-percent Christians. Although God can have most of it, we reserve some percentage of our hearts for what we think and what we want. God's eyes search the earth to find those who say, "You can have it all! I'm 100 percent in! Make me exactly who you want me to be because there is nothing on earth or in heaven that I desire other than you."

Perhaps what's keeping us from the deepest waters of God's presence and intimacy is our own lack of desire for him. So consider: Does your life dispel the myth of the super Christian? Is your desire for the Lord so great that people can see in you a normal person who has a very "abnormal" relationship with the Creator?

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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