When I was about 15, I remember being in a bible study when I first heard someone refer to “intimacy with God”. As a teenage boy, I felt awkward about that word – intimacy. My adolescent façade of tough skin and limited emotion didn’t like the idea of being intimate with anyone and especially with God. At this point I wasn’t necessarily living the most faith-filled life either, so that didn’t help.
As I’ve grown older and my relationship with God has most definitely deepened, I have come to recognize the beautiful opportunity in having an intimate relationship with God. For many, God comes off as cold, distant, or disinterested. However, scripture describes our Creator as one who is far more involved in our lives – even to the point of uncomfortableness. What Jesus accomplished at the Cross was so much more than the forgiveness of sins. There is a reason the veil of the Most Holy Place was torn at the point of His crucifixion (Matthew 27:51). That veil represented the barrier that sin had placed between man and God. The Holy sacrifice of Christ made it possible for man to enter into the Holy Presence of God through the gift of grace. The author of Hebrews describes this miraculous event with eloquence,
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:19-22
It is important to remember the great love that God displayed by coming to earth incarnate as the Son – Jesus Christ. This divine visitation was all a part of God’s radical plan to restore his relationship with his creation. He longs to dwell with you, even to the point of death. He sacrificed his Son, so that he and his creation could be together. There is a beautiful invitation for us to enter into God’s presence, and the response is up to us.
I love the book of John in the Bible. To me, it is seemingly drenched with intimacy. The language that John uses and the words that Jesus says are full of love and depth. I often find myself reading John chapters 14-17. I simply can’t get enough of those passages. About 90% of the words in those chapters are red, meaning that they are the words of Jesus. In John 14:17-18, Jesus is seen comforting his disciples and speaking of the Holy Spirit he says, “You know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus speaks very highly of the Holy Spirit and it is a shame that he often goes unnoticed in some Christian circles. Jesus even said that it is better for us if he leaves, so that he could send the Holy Spirit! (John 16:7). The Trinity is a beautiful mystery of intimacy. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in constant relationship and glorification of one another. What is more – is that God’s own hand has pulled us up into the warm center of that Holy triangle of affection.
I have learned to turn my affection to the Holy Spirit, he is my helper. I long to feel His Presence daily. If I’m being honest, the days that I don’t draw near to Holy Spirit, aren’t my most fruitful days. Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” This is intimacy 101. We are now in Christ and He is in us. It doesn’t get much more intimate than that. Whether it’s through worship, prayer, meditation, studying the word, we must learn to turn off distraction and redirect our hearts to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit.
What does his voice sound like? What does he say to you? Where is he calling you to go? Without the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives, this journey will be even more challenging. We have not been left as orphans, God has come to us.