Intimacy: close familiarity or friendship; closeness.
The apex of any fruitful relationship is intimacy. When we develop a friendship, the difference between an associate and a best friend is intimacy. We judge the strength of relationships by closeness and familiarity with one another. You wouldn't call a stranger your best friend, and the same thought process should be applied in our relationship with Jesus.
So many people come into salvation understanding they need a savior, but not realizing they're starved for love.
Our encounter with Christ is often summed into one monumental experience where we accept the gift of eternal life, when in reality true relationship is time-tested, and experience-rich.
Christ's heart for his bride (us) is relationship, this is why scripture refers to the church as 'the bride of Christ' and Jesus as our Groom. The comparison of our relationship with Jesus to a marriage covenant is to represent the depth of connection that Christ intends to have with us.
Religion has done a great job of presenting rules, and ideas about how we should act, and the image we should bear for the title of 'Christian'.
Relationship affirms us while giving value and identity. It sanctifies us.
Religion draws us away from God by placing unreachable standards upheld by condemnation.
Relationship pulls us closer to God by validating our worth, and affirming us especially in our weakness through loving conviction.
Jesus died for a relationship with you- not so you can call yourself a Christian.
He died to take on the penalty of sin, and remove the veil that prevented us from having access to the Father in heaven.
He died so we could directly approach God's Throne of grace.
Jesus died so we could finally experience true intimacy.
When we struggle in our relationship with Christ, it's often because we've missed the point. This is a relationship, a marriage-- it takes work.
Marriage is a covenant, not a contract, it requires faithfulness, and selflessness from two whole individuals with unique identities. It requires one party(woman) to submit to the will and the direction of the other party(man). So it is with Jesus.
Every Christian is first a bride.
True brides know that marriage goes beyond the wedding.
Wise brides know that marriage requires extensive work, sacrifice, suffering and death to self.
So it is for our relationship with Christ.
My prayer is that we get to a place where our relationship with Jesus is our first priority. May we not be invested in self-promotion, idolatry, temporary pleasures that we ignore the groom who first stole our heart.
To cultivate true intimacy in relationship, 3 things are needed:
Honesty - Tell God everything, he knows it all anyway. Don't let fear, shame, or condemnation shut your mouth. He yearns to hear your voice.
Consistency - Stay the course, don't give up when it gets hard, or if your emotions change.
Faithfulness - Don't cheat. Don't share your affections with things and people who haven't earned it or paid the price for you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies.
This scripture is not just talking about physical fornication, it's talking about giving yourself to anything that does not honor God. That includes cheating on God with the idols we create.
You were bought with a high price.
My prayer is that the church experience a season of radical intimacy with Christ, a greater revelation of Jesus and a deeper relationship with God-- one that serves as the foundation for holy, sanctified lives fully committed to the cause of Christ.
With love, Obioma