You are as close to God as you choose to be.
Like any friendship, you must work at developing your friendship with God. It won’t happen by accident. It takes desire, time, and energy. If you want a deeper, more intimate connection with God you must learn to honestly share your feelings with him, trust him when he asks you to do something, learn to care about what he cares about, and desire his friendship more than anything else.
I must choose to be honest with God. The first building block of a deeper friendship with God is complete honesty — about your faults and your feelings. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty.
None of God’s friends in the Bible were perfect. If perfection was a requirement for friendship with God, we would never be able to be his friends. Fortunately, because of God’s grace, Jesus is still the “friend of sinners” [Matthew 11:19].
In the Bible, the friends of God were honest about their feelings, often complaining, second-guessing, accusing, and arguing with their Creator. God, however, didn’t seem to be bothered by this frankness; in fact, he encouraged it.
God allowed Abraham to question and challenge him over the destruction of the city of Sodom. Abraham pestered God over what it would take to spare the city, negotiating God down from fifty righteous people to only ten.
God also listened patiently to David’s many accusations of unfairness, betrayal, and abandonment. God did not slay Jeremiah when he claimed that God had tricked him. Job was allowed to vent his bitterness during his ordeal, and in the end, God defended Job for being honest, and he rebuked Job’s friends for being inauthentic. God told them,
“You haven’t been honest either with me or about me — not the way my friend Job has… My friend Job will now pray for you and I will accept his prayer” [Job 42:7–8 MSG].
In one startling example of frank friendship, [Exodus 33:1-17] God honestly expressed his total disgust with Israel’s disobedience. He told Moses he would keep his promise to give the Israelites the Promised Land, but he wasn’t going one step farther with them in the desert! God was fed up, and he let Moses know exactly how he felt.
Moses, speaking as a “friend” of God, responded with equal candor:
“‘Look, you tell me to lead this people but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me… If I’m so special to you, let me in on your plans… Don’t forget, this is YOUR people, your responsibility… If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now! How else will I know that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not?…’ God said to Moses, ‘All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me'” [Exodus 33:12–17 MSG].
Can God handle that kind of frank, intense honesty from you? Absolutely!
Genuine friendship is built on disclosure. What may appear as audacity God views as authenticity. God listens to the passionate words of his friends; he is bored with predictable, pious clichés. To be God’s friend, you must be honest to God, sharing your true feeling, not what you think you ought to feel or say.
To instruct us in candid honesty, God gave us the book of Psalms — a worship manual, full of ranting, raving, doubts, fears, resentments, and deep passions combined with thanksgiving, praise, and statements of faith… When you read the emotional confessions of David and others, realize this is how God wants you to worship him — holding back nothing of what you feel. You can pray like David: “I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. For I am overwhelmed” [Psalm 142:2-3a NLT].