The Benefits of Intimacy
We Love Him More
As Marc Dupont says in Pursuing Open Heavens: Seeking God for Our Generations, “We need to allow God’s passion for us to transform our hearts and fill us with a new passion for Him.” (p.78) “What God is after is that the sun of our solar system – our hearts – burn for Him. He is a God who, first and foremost, is desirous of a deep personal relationship – a relationship with a transparency like Adam and Eve had before the fall.” (p.96)
When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength'” (Mark 12:29). When you boil all of the commandments down to their essence, Jesus said, they’re about loving God with all that you are. “God is after a day-in, day-out, sacrificial love for Him.” (Dupont, p.97)
Affects All Relationships and Fulfills Us
True intimacy with the Father and with Jesus (pp.45-46). In v.3, We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”When you live in continual repentance, God purifies you so that there is nothing between you and Him, and you can experience the joy of His presence. You see, sin will not cut off your relationship with God, but it will hurt your fellowship with Him. But if all is clean, when you wake in the morning, He is there – when you curl up with your Bible and your coffee, He puts wonder in your soul with revelations. When you move through your day, interacting with people, you see them through His eyes. There is hope in your heart, gladness in your step, for your Bridegroom is by your side, guiding you, loving you.
“By the time John writes his letter, this is his experience. Do you remember how immature John and his brother James had been as young disciples? They wanted assurance of the best seats in heaven. Their thoughts were all about themselves. But John had been purified, and he is truly a holy man. He is experiencing true intimacy, and he longs for us to know the same.”
True intimacy with one another (p.48). v. 7a But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”John promises that when our fellowship with the Father is genuine and real, we will not only have true intimacy with God, but true intimacy with one another.”
Our joy will be complete (p.50). v. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (NRSV)”John tells us that fellowship with the Father and the Son will make our joy complete. So if it does not mean freedom from trouble, what does it mean?
“Living in complete joy requires living in complete confidence in God. Each day can have a little more peace than yesterday, last month, or even a year ago, because though we still have sorrow, our joy is inextinguishable when we completely trust the heart of our Bridegroom.”
Gives Power to Deal with Sin
We become like those we spend time with. The closer we are to the light the more we will recognise the darkness in us, and deal with sin. Because it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), we can be confident of God’s love for us, in spite of our sin. The transforming presence of God the Holy Spirit impacts us and as we gaze in ‘wonder, love and praise’, we become like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Sharing God’s Kingdom Purposes
God had Adam and Eve sharing in the management of creation. God invites us to be part of his Kingdom purposes, continuing what Jesus began. After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go (Luke 10:1). “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21).
Jesus commissioned his disciples to continue the job in Matthew 28:18-20. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
As Amos 3:7 reminds us, the Lord reveals his plans to his servants the prophets. Jesus made known to his friends everything he learned from his Father (John 15:15). It was while the church in Antioch was worshipping the Lord and fasting that the Holy Spirit was able to direct them for the work God had for Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2). We need to keep close to him to find out what he is doing in the world, the part we are to play, and his strategy for us to fulfil his commands.
Brings a Passion for the Lost
Lois Gott, writing of happenings in Sunderland in 1994-5, says,
“For over a year we had been involved in an extraordinary move of God. During this time the Father had been, figuratively speaking, kissing us, his people, with love. We had been falling in love with the Lord Jesus Christ all over again. Now, however, I had been powerfully prompted that it was time to kiss a broken and needy world with the love by which we had been kissed.” (Glory of His Presence, p.2.)
When we are drawn close to God’s heart he reveals to us more of his love for the whole world and his desires become ours. We cannot fail to be moved by the needs of those who do not know the Father’s love; those who are in bondage to sin, not knowing Jesus the Saviour whose blood sets free; those grieving without knowing the Comforter.
Intercession According to God’s Heart
In Genesis 18, the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” And then went on to tell him about Sodom and Gomorrah. With persistent intercession, Abraham prayed that the judgement would be averted. Moses likewise pleaded for God’s anger to be turned away from Israel (eg. Exodus 32:9-14). In his book Intercession the Power and Passion to Shape History (p.16), Jim Goll says, “Life begins in intimacy. Prayer is the bedchamber of the Holy Spirit.” And goes on to give examples of those who “got in God’s face”, “wrestled with God” and the need for us to know God’s heart and passion if we are to be involved in his-story in our generation.
Makes Us Strong and Keeps Us Secure
Mike Bickle writes:
“Intimacy empowered Jesus to face the trials of the enemy, and this same intimacy equips us to overcome the trials of life… I’m convinced that just as the Father spoke strength to Jesus by expressing His delight in Him, so God will empower us by assuring us of His delight in us. Nothing else will be able to sustain our hearts… Jesus and David overcame fear by seeking God’s face in intimacy… Psalm 27:4) David confronted fear by throwing himself into intimacy with God. He pressed into revelations about God’s beauty. He knew that his safety was in living with a fascinated heart that transformed his inner life. We too experience victory in the midst of the struggle as we seek intimacy with God. (Psalm 27:5-6)
“The breakthrough anointing over fear is found in the secret place of God’s beauty. Fear does not dominate the heart there because a superior pleasure upholds the heart. It is a lifestyle of encounter and intimacy with the beauty of God that rescues us from fear. Moses, … popularised the teaching that you cannot see the face of God and live (Exodus 20:19). David answered that paradigm of God with his own experience, “God Most High told me that He wanted to show me His face.”… His new teaching was that the God of heaven does not want to strike us dead when He shows us His face, but He desires to bring us into the experience of closeness and comfort with Him… When all is said and done, the spirit of fear is best driven out by a spirit of intimacy.” (Psalm 27:13-14) (Mike Bickle, After God’s Own Heart, p. 216,218,225-226)
“When Jesus is with us, all is well and nothing seems difficult; but when Jesus is not with us, everything is hard. When Jesus is not speaking in our hearts comfort means nothing, but if Jesus speaks just one word we experience abundant comfort. … It is a great art to know how to keep company with Jesus, and great wisdom to know how to hold him. If you are humble and peaceable, Jesus will be with you. Be devout and quiet, and Jesus will stay with you.”
We Get Ready for Eternity
Learning to live in close relationship with the Godhead now will prepare us for the future eternity spent in the presence of the Father, Son and Spirit. John had spent a lifetime getting to know Jesus, but in his vision on Patmos, when he was in the Spirit and saw the exalted Christ, he fell at His feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17). His intimacy with Jesus meant he was someone who could be trusted to share with others the revelations of God about future things.
God is Given Glory
The wonder of the Lord will so fill our hearts and minds that self is stripped away in the wonder of being in his presence. In Isaiah 48:11 God says, “I will not yield my glory to another.” We get so caught up in him that his glory becomes our focus, not what we achieve. “When the Bible says, “The Glory of the Lord shall cover the earth” it does not mean we will be incapacitated by His presence, rather we will reflect the glory of the Lord in every sphere, because our hearts are one with His. It will be His name alone that is noticed.” (Terry Somerville, Babylon and the church, quoted in the Australian Prayer Network Feature article 7th July 2007.)
The purpose of God’s plan of salvation is fulfilled when we are restored to be lovers and friends of God. Through Jesus’ death our sins are forgiven, we receive the Spirit and are born again and are brought into fellowship with the Godhead. What a wonder is Jesus’ prayer for us, May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
This is intimacy as God desires it!