Intimacy. What is it? More specifically, what does it mean in our relationship with Jesus? Is it something to be desired? The dictionary defines intimacy as: close familiarity or friendship; closeness. One catchy definition I’ve often heard is “in-to-me-see.” Intimacy is a place of vulnerability and authenticity. It’s a place where there are no pretenses; a place where you know and are fully known—without shame. In a very real sense, intimacy with God is a return to the freedom and innocence of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.”
Sadly, we’re a long way from the freedom and innocence of Eden. Our senses are continually assaulted by a million and one distractions luring us away from the beauty and simplicity of intimate fellowship with our Creator—the very thing we were created to know.
Yet His desire has never changed. He still yearns for intimate communion with His children. He still longs to walk with us in the cool of the day. Although He already “knows” everything about us, He wants us to invite Him into the deepest places of our hearts—just as He wants to share His own.
The really great news is that since God is the One who initiated this great love story–He’ll finish what He started (Phil. 1:6). As John said, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). He longs for us to be with Him where He is (John 14:3). He invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). He invites us to abide in Him and He promises to abide in us (John 15:4). He invites us to come to Him—even in our weariness and imperfections—to find rest (Matt. 11:28). He promises that nothing will separate us from His love (Rom.8:38).
Nothing. Ever. Not here, not in ages to come. Because not one of these great and precious promises is based upon our “performance.” Not one.
And that is really the most important thing you can take away from this entire series:
Intimacy with God is never based on performance.
But wait a minute! Doesn’t obedience matter? Didn’t Jesus Himself say “If you love Me, keep My commandments”? (John 14:15).
Yep, He did. But which commandments did He refer to? How obedient is obedient enough? How many commandments do you have to keep before you can rest confidently in His love?
~The Ten Commandments?
~The 613 Laws of Moses
How good is good enough?
Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love Him—and the second was to love others. He said all of the law was summarized in these two commandments. So from Jesus’ perspective, it seems like the main thing is the commandment to love. Which, in my mind, makes the most important question this:
How do we learn to love?
I think the answer is incredibly simple:
By being loved.
~By running into His arms, right here, right now—just as you are.
~By climbing up into His lap secure in the knowledge you are wanted and accepted—just as you are.
~By resting in the knowledge that He’s not frustrated or disappointed in you. He’s not impatiently waiting for you to get your act together. He already saw every fear, every failure, every broken promise, and even every time you’d push Him away, but He still chose you—just as you are.
Intimacy with God is never based on performance, but to access the love He has so freely given, we do need to respond. We need to respond in faith.
We need to believe.
And that’s what I hope to stir over the next few weeks–the faith to believe. We’ll be looking at key ways God has so freely demonstrated and lavished His love upon us so we can lean in just a bit closer and allow ourselves to simply be-loved.
I hope you’ll come along for the journey.
Note: This abbreviated introduction is the first in a five-part series on Intimacy with God called: “6:3 Be-Loved.” I am currently developing the full curriculum as I teach this class locally. After each class, I’ll record a brief podcast summary of the teaching, (link below), along with the full curriculum for that week (link also below).
Week 1 Curriculum (pdf): Be Loved Introduction week 1
Podcast: Be-Loved, week 1: Introduction
Here is the SoundCloud link: