On intimacy with God - do we really know Jesus?

January 18, 2010

Allow me to ask a bold question. Are we more in love with the idea of Jesus, the power of Jesus, or the doctrines of Jesus than we are in love with Jesus Himself?

I’ve written on this topic in these past articles here and here but I’ve been been personally convicted again lately by the way I would answer this question, because I have had a wrong understanding about what a “relationship with Jesus” is for so long.

Unfortunately we’ve made a relationship with Jesus to be something completely different than what it should be. Men are sincere but misdirected in their pursuit of intimacy and relationship with God. Intimacy with Jesus has been characterized by a nebulous, intangible warm fuzzy feeling on our hearts during a prayer meeting or worship gathering. If someone has memorized the Bible and can speak eloquently, or they have lots of “intimacy language” we often say that they “know Jesus”. With this false idea of intimacy, Jesus is not a real human to us in the same way that the people close to us like our family, friends, and coworkers are. As this wrong mindset progresses in a downward spiral, the incarnation becomes only a doctrine that we adhere to, and Jesus becomes nothing more than a fairytale-like figure that sits on a cloud in the heights of the heavens.

Now we would all agree that the substance of intimacy with someone is relational knowledge. We grow close to another man or woman through things like conversation, sharing in life’s experiences, and personal interaction. We get to know their story. Where did they grow up? What are their parents and siblings like? What are the details of their lives? What do they like and dislike? The more we get to know someone in this way, the more we truly love them.

Our relationship with Jesus must be rooted and grounded in these same things - actual knowledge of who He is and the life that He lived. I imagine a conversation between a bride and her friend, with the bride saying “I’ve found the one I love. I’m ruined.”, and in response to a question from the friend about the details of her bridegroom’s life she replies “well, you know, I’m not so sure… but I love him!” If she gave that answer to her friend, how ridiculous would that be and what would that show her about the depth of her love for her bridegroom?

If Christ is truly our life, our hope, our reward, our bridegroom, and our everything, then the most natural thing for us would be to devour every single detail of His life available to us. Our lack of passion for who He is, His life, and His story as seen in the four Gospels is just a symptom of a greater disease – the Christ-less expression of Christianity in the church today.

Jesus became a human so that we could get to know Him relationally. Four men inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote down the details of His life and His personality. Looking upon this One in the four gospels in context to a life of obedience will actually cause us to love Him. The way to growing in intimacy with God is not primarily through hearing more teachings on intimacy or by meditating on the Song of Solomon, as good as those things are. We must set our hearts to know Him in the story of His life. As we stare into the details and dialog with him about who He was, how He felt, what He did, and what moved Him, we will grow in true intimacy with Him and our hearts will ache for His return.

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Hosea 6:3a Then shall we

Hosea 6:3a Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD

Could our lack of true knowledge be due to our lack of follow through? How many of us are encouraged to do this in our churches?
I fear that not wanting to be "religious" has caused many churches not to encourage daily disciplines which are essential to truly knowing God. We like the worship music, but we get offended if we see something that God says that conflicts with our lifestyle.

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Thank you very for posting

Thank you very for posting this

I think it just comes down to our separation from God, and therefore there is more room for deception and wrong perspectives about a God we are "pretty sure" exists.

I forget that Jesus is a human! And He is more real than I will ever comprehend!

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This is something I've been

This is something I've been thinking of lately... I likened it to being the #1 fan of some celebrity. You know everything about them. You know their message. You may have even met them several times and maybe you've even been to some afterparty with them and maybe even had a conversation with them. But when it comes down to it, even though you've met them and you know all about them, it comes down to this: does that person call YOU "friend?"
They are more likely to call you friend if you take their message and start living it, than they would if you just learned everything about them. Many people like the IDEA of Jesus, but then it just comes down to Him being a great political figure and people come up with skewed ideas of who He was. It's that difference between liking some aspect of His message and idolizing the idea of this Jesus-figure, versus listening to what He said and walking it out and letting His message speak to you. I know what I'm trying to say but IDK if I've effectively said it...
I want to learn to really walk as a friend of Jesus... a real... real... real friend of Jesus. Not just someone who can name off verses like a sports fanatic names off his favorite player's stats.
...Anyways!!
Thanks for posting.

Amen... love the analogy!

Amen... love the analogy! Thanks for commenting!

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the offensiveness of Jesus

Thank you Josh for putting it so eloquently. I was JUST saying this morning to my student (I teach privately) that as we study His life and who He is in His entirety (and she had just stumbled across the cleansing of the Temple the other day) He becomes offensive, challenging our happy-clappy, sterile, dreamy Christianity. We are tackling a chapter a day in John as part of her curriculum and she cannot leave the room where she reads and prays until she has revelation ;) or I will send her back. Then we discuss. Today, John 7, she was amazed at Jesus not going to the feast because "The World" was seeking to kill him and we had opportunity to talk about the offensiveness of Jesus. This is a side to Him we adamantly ignore in our churches. The more seeker-friendly we are, the less offensive Jesus becomes in our churches... and the less we know Him.
One of my greatest revelations has been His blood-stained robes at His second coming. The blood of humans who chose to side with the enemy who hinders and seeks to destroy love. That picture of blood stained robes is offensive. And I must say, it inspires me to follow Him. I love that He is not concerned with treading softly. He is concerned with truth, justice, love, freedom, worship... We have a real hope in a real judge... not just a pretty blond man who floats 3 inches above the ground blessing everyone. We have a King and a fierce Lover returning for us and NOTHING will stand between Him and us. He will not be politically correct so as to win the most souls. He will be passionate and just.
I can hardly wait for your seminar here in College Station next month. Looking forward to learning more about my Jesus.

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