Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Intimacy with God

The Quest for Love

Most of us at one time or another, have desired a deeper relationship with someone who just wouldn't go there with us. As much as we wanted them to love us the way that we loved them, it just didn't happen. They may have been polite, kind, respectful -- and they may have even admired you. But love you in the deep and intimate way you desire? No, they just didn't.

God's Heart for Us

In Revelation, Chapter Three, as God speaks through the apostle John to the church in Laodicea, He expresses this in such graphic terms. He tells them (and us) that being good and respectful is not what He desires. In fact, He would rather they be hot or cold altogether than the lukewarm polite people that they are. They haven't abandoned their faith, but they are not deeply engaged with the God who so desperately loves them and created them for an intimate connection -- not just a distant respect. But the people were just not going there with God.

In Revelation 3:25, we hear His gentle pleading:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Heartfelt Love

The almighty God of the Universe could so easily get us to fear and respect Him by striking us down and commanding our subordination to His authority. But He doesn't do that because fear and respect is not what He wants most. He wants our hearts, but He will not force us to love Him

Selfish Love

When we choose to keep Him politely at arms-length and not embrace Him lovingly -- well, that's called "religion," not relationship. Typically, religion is all about giving God just enough fear and respect to stay in His good graces so we can avoid pain, and ask Him for things. It's about us -- when it should be about Him. He loved us first and gave Himself for us, and to us, so that He could live in us. He gave us everything -- and still so often, we resist Him.

Passionate Love

He invites us to call him Father -- in fact, "Abba" Father (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15) -- an intimate term like "daddy". He simply knocks gently and patiently waits -- not for more respect, and not for more obedience, but for more love -- deep, intimate love. The kind of love that touches our hearts at the deepest level. The kind of love that transforms us. The kind of love where we pine for Him and rest in His embrace with no fear and absolute transparency. The kind of love we had in the garden a long time ago -- and will eventually have again.

Embrace Lasting Love

So, until then, consider giving up "religion" -- which is self-serving behavior based on harnessing the power of God just for yourself. Consider instead, embracing a close personal relationship with God where unconditional love lives just for you -- but it is not all about you

When you dare to go to that safe and loving place where He longs to spend time with you, and you finally begin to see yourself and other people from your Heavenly Father's loving point of view, you will find a lasting love that provokes a deeper intimacy than you will ever find anywhere else.

I have a song for everything.
"Deeper" by Hillsong United; "The More I Seek You" by Kari Jobe

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