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Intimate Friendship with God

I just found a book review I did when I was in YWAM (Youth With a Mission) doing a DTS (Discipleship Training School) when I was 19 years old – in Lausanne, Switzerland. The book was “Intimate Friendship with God” by Joy Dawson. This was written at a time in my life when God was rescuing me (from myself and my self-destruction) and changing me – breaking me, shaping me, molding me into something more beautiful! I thought I would share it with you to encourage you to read this book for yourself (and I may just have to dig out my copy of Joy’s book and reread it).

Take a drink from the deep today!

Lori 🙂

Intimate Friendship with God
by Joy Dawson
Jan. 1990 DTS

Out of the 16 chapters in this book, there were many chapters that really spoke to me. However, I will focus on only five chapters or areas for this report. “The most exciting relationship of our lives” will be “Intimate Friendship with God”, and that’s what I want!

Chapter 1 deals with the Fear of the Lord and what it is. As Joy Dawson says, “It’s the most fool-proof thing in the world in relation to sinning”. But what exactly is the fear of the Lord? In Proverbs 8:13 it says, “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” This means that at all times we must have God’s attitude toward sin. In Malachi 2:5, God says, “My covenant with him was a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him, that he might fear; and he feared me, he stood in awe of my name.” The Lord is anything and everything I could ever want, need, or desire and beyond. So we need to “consider with awe and wonder, the limitless power and supreme authority of one who, by His spoken words alone, has brought the universe into being”. I need to have a deep respect for, and understanding of, the holiness of God, the power of God, and the total sufficiency of God to meet man’s need. I need to obey God because of what He says, but more importantly I need to obey Him for who He is.

Chapter 5, on the different levels in our attitude toward sin, really shocked me in a way. First of all, I didn’t know that there were four levels of attitudes toward sin. “Level one . . . The person who does not sin because the consequences are too great. There is no hatred of evil and, therefore, no fear of the Lord. Level two . . . The person who lives by the Golden Rule. Level three . . . The sincere Christian who earnestly desires to please the Lord Jesus Christ. He is deeply concerned and longs for freedom. Level four . . . The person who has the fear of God upon Him.” When reading this I realized I am sometimes on the first level, second level, or third level, but rarely on the fourth level. Like Joy says, “we have sinned because we have chosen to sin, because we love sin.” That is so true, especially in my life. James 1:14-15 shows the truth about sin: “But each person in tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is full grown brings forth death.” I agree with Joy when she says that “sin not only hinders our closeness to God, but it is also destructive. Therefore, we do ourselves the greatest favor by avoiding it or getting rid of it.”

One big problem that I struggle with is my thought life. So when Joy talks about our thought lives in Chapter 7, I read it closely. “All sin starts in the mind, therefore, we are only as holy as our thought lives are holy”. Just as Proverbs 23:7 says, “for as he thinketh in his heart so is he. . . ” I need to not only repent and ask forvieness for my words and actions, but also for my thoughts. I knew I had to do that, but I didn’t think my thoughts were that bad if I didn’t carry them out. How wrong I was! I really struggle with my thought life, but I will find that there is no attraction to a certain temptation to the degree I ask for the fear of God and receive it by faith. I should also try to replace evil thoughts with good ones. Like Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” So my greatest need is for the fear of God to be upon my thought life where all sin starts.

Relationships are very timportant to me, and a lot of time I struggle with some of them in different ways. Chapter 8 – Relationships: Holy or Unholy – really spoke to me. It gave me courage and hope to know that I can have a pure and holy relationship with someone – that it is actually possilbe. Joy says, “The fear of the Lord is the answer to all problems connected with relationships – whether with the opposite sex or with the same sex.” God can totally fulfill any human being, but no human being will ever totally fulfill me. Joy also talks about love and holiness being linked together throughout the Bible. “Holiness in thought, word, and deed releases us to be loving and tender in our relationships without a particle of lust.” That is so encouraging to me. It means that I don’t have to be afriad if I love someone deeply, as long as the relationship can stand “the test of the bright, white light of the Holy Spirit’s standard of purity in thought, word and deed”. As Joy says, “The devil has convinced millions of people [including me] of the lie that a little or a lot of sin makes any relationship more exciting.” I have fallen into that trap and lie so many times. Praise God though, because the Lord’s been very merciful. However, Nubers 32:23 says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hiden that will not be known, Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3). I know my sins will be made known, as some already have been. But I’ve been forgiven, and the Lord is doing a wonderful job at repairing some relationships of mine.

The last chapter I will talk about is Chapter 13 – Idolatry and the Fear of the Lord. This chapter showed me that I have the fear of God upon me only in proportion to my freedom from idolatry. “An idol is something or someone that takes a priority place in our lives over the Lord Jesus Christ in our thinking, in our time, in our affection, in our loyalty, and in our obedience.” I didn’t really realize that I did have some idols in my life and that I was breaking the first commandment by putting these “gods” before Christ. “God is concerned about the heart being distant, cold, and estranged toward Him because other things had taken His place”. As Joy says, “I dolatry is a symptom of ‘heart trouble’.” I found I need to clean out my heart from the idols I have so I can follow Matthew 22:37 which states, “You shall love the Lord your God wil all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” God created us for friendship with Himself, but because of idolatry and other things, we give Him relatively little time for intimacy. If we decide to put God first above everything else and spend time with Him, He will reward us and do things for us. Plus, it’s always in a way that is far beyond anything we could plan. So, if I name my idols before God and repent of them by a change of mind, heart, and life, God does His part to deliver me and set me free! Praise the Lord!

There were so many things in this book that spoke to me and that I could realte to. It’s an excellent book and I wish I had read it sooner. I realize now that I need to clean up some things in my life and I really want and need the fear of the Lord in my life!
Examples of Application
I’m sure that there are many examples of how I could apply this material to my life. However, I will spare you many hours of monotonous reading by limiting my examples to two. 🙂

When Joy talked about the different attitudes toward sin, I realized that my attitude isn’t where it should be. I’m usually on level three, but I need to be on level four. I need to have the fear of the Lord in me. This means I need to hate sin the way God deoes. I also need to respect and honor God because of who He is. He created everything around us, including us, and He died for us. The least we can do is to obey Him, not because of what He says, but because of who He is! I’m going to try and be obedient to Him, to view sin like He does, and to praise and honor Him above everything. I want Him to give me His attitude toward sin and I want to grow closer to Him.

In accordance with having the fear of the Lord and being obedient to Him, I want to get rid of the idols in my life and I want to love God more than anything on this earth. I realize now how many idols or “gods” I have put before my Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t want to do that any more. I want to spend time with the Lord, get to know Him, become very intimate with Him, and just have the best relationship I’ve ever had! God is the only thing I really need in my life, and until I’m staisfied with that, nothing else will totally satisfy me. No one on this earth or anything can fulfill me, but my God in heaven can!

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