As you look to the original idea God had for man, you see a beautiful picture of harmony and tranquility. You see people in fellowship with God. Their thoughts are toward God. Their every need and desire is supplied.

God's plan for man was the Garden of Eden. What a marvelous plan. The first chapters of Genesis reveal that God wanted mankind to live in a glorious relationship with Him to the extent that man would have no real concern about his needs, because they were all supplied.

The heart of God was longing for companionship. When He made man, He made him in His own image and likeness because He wanted someone on His own level with whom to commune. He had angels and other beings, but they were not of the quality for true fellowship.

Children are born into a family because of the love and union of the parents. Most parents then desire to pour themselves into that child and create for him a life that is full and beautiful. Everything the parents have is used to accomplish that goal.

Likewise, our Heavenly Father sought His own offspring. He gave His children the right to receive all He has and is; therefore, they can obtain the powerful and beautiful results that His fullness brings. John 1:16 says, "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."

God's desire and dream has always been to fellowship with someone on the same level of life. Man was in that position until he turned away from God and obeyed a rebel spirit. At that point, man's pure fellowship with God was destroyed. God began immediately to implement a plan to restore mankind to a fellowship that fulfilled His dream.

The redemption Jesus brought restored man to a position of intimate communion with God. Many people do not recognize just how far-reaching and complete this is. But, through simple faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, man was put back into the kind of relationship with God that Adam had in the Garden.

If this is not true, then the work of Satan in the Garden would have been greater than the work Jesus accomplished on the cross. But we know that, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the price for sin and separation from God was paid.

Now there is no need or reason for any person to be outside a deep, personal relationship with God. The door has been thrown open. The invitation is to all. The purpose is the same as it was in the beginning - God's dream of fellowship. You are the object of that dream.

When Adam was hiding from the presence of God in the Garden, the sound of that beautiful, familiar voice rang out, "Adam, where art thou?" That call has remained alive throughout history. God is seeking His people.

"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). You have actually been called by God Himself into the same fellowship that the Father has with Jesus.

That calling is an invitation into a very personal and intimate relationship. You have a divine summons to be joined into the same fellowship that Jesus has with the Father.

Many shrink away from the thought of a fellowship with God that is like that of Jesus and the Father. But it is our own lack of self-esteem that brings our negative reaction. We have been convinced through religious condemnation that God tolerates us but has little pleasure in us. Guilt becomes the primary motivation for any action we take.

We pray only because we feel guilty if we don't. We go to church because we feel guilty if we miss. We give because we feel guilty for not having done more.

With an understanding of this, many so-called religious leaders develop tremendous skill in creating guilt in people as a form of psychological manipulation.

God does not lead by guilt. God wants people who pray because they see that He will move through those who pray. He wants people who love all others who love Jesus, those who lift and minister to people in His Body. He looks for those who will allow Him to direct their giving.

God has sent His Spirit and His Word to lead us, not guilt and condemnation. The praying, the church attendance, and the giving must all be done. But we must approach each area with the right motivation, or they will be fruitless. They should grow out of a love toward God and toward the people He loves.

When we get a real understanding of how God sees us, the better understanding we'll have of the fellowship to which we have been summoned.

Source: Knowing God Intimately by Dennis Burke.
Excerpt permission granted by Dennis Burke Ministries