What kind of relationship does Jesus desire to have with us? What is the right imagery that communicates the nature of the relationship we have been invited by Jesus to share with Jesus?
A love affair. Yes, really. Intimacy with Jesus.
I know that imagery and implication may sound a bit extreme, but it is biblical. Throughout Scripture, God uses intimacy language to communicate His love for people. In the Old Testament, God used references to adultery to talk about His people turning to other, lesser gods. In the New Testament, He could have used any label in reference to His church. Acquaintance. Admirer. Religious associate. Instead he chose the word bride. Not by accident, but by design. There is intimacy implied behind that label. You are the one He has chosen. You are the one He desires to know in the most intimate of ways. He is not content to stand at a distance and wave. He wants to draw near.
Jesus could have stayed in the comfortable, luxurious, safe confines of heaven and invited His followers into a long-distance relationship. But he did not. Jesus drew near in the most literal way imaginable, so near that He could be seen, smelled, and touched. When He came, He did not retreat from people. He pursued them. He invited people to know Him and to be known by Him.
Intimacy is knowing and being known.
Intimacy is pursuing and being pursued.
Intimacy is discovering and being discovered, over and over again.
Intimacy is listening and being listened to.
Intimacy with Jesus is not achieved in a moment, and it isn’t defined by a few select moments. Intimacy is the very nature of the relationship Jesus desires to share with us. Feelings may come and go, passion may rise and fall, but intimacy should define our relationship with Jesus at every level.
Here is where the intimacy with Jesus becomes so unique--we were known fully and completely by Him before we ever became aware of His existence. Psalm 139 says it is God who knit us together in our mother’s womb. From before the time we were conceived,Jesus has known us, but our knowing of Him did not begin until later. For some people, knowing Jesus begins early in life; for others, knowing Him does not begin until much later in life. In either case, our intimacy with Jesus is exceptional because He doesn’t need to get to know us, but we need to get to know Him. Yet he was not content to sit back in the confines of heaven hoping we would somehow find Him.
He came. He drew near. So he could be known. By you. By me. By us. Intimately.
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