When you open your heart to Jesus, you begin to think about the elements that make up a life of intimacy, such as Bible study, prayer, and worship. So, you say, “Today I’ll pray for 30 minutes.” or “Tomorrow I’ll read three chapters in the Bible.” And although it’s good to set aside time for spiritual things, it’s far too easy to think of these things as events – activities that start at one time and stop at another. You can live your whole spiritual life this way, pleased with your accomplishments, yet missing the crux of intimacy. For you see my friends, intimacy with God isn’t a series of events, it’s a lifestyle.
The dreaded “we need to talk”
How do you react when someone you love says, “We need to talk”? If you’re like me, you brace yourself, sure that what’s coming next won’t be anything you want to hear. What if all intimate conversations were limited to these “we need to talk” moments? It would be a stilted, awkward relationship, wouldn’t it? Yet we often do this with God. We rush pell-mell through life keeping God compartmentalized. Then when we REALLY need Him, we say, “We need to talk!” And we call this prayer.
Think of someone you love on earth. Isn’t your love relationship a fluid thing? You converse with one another as you go through life. You learn more about the other person as you talk, ask questions, and become familiar with their thoughts and feelings. Our relationship with Christ should have that same fluidity. Intimacy with our Savior is not made up of a series of events. It’s a walking, talking, living, breathing relationship – one He wants us to be involved in throughout every day (and as we sleep at night).
Dive in to love
J.C. Ryle once said, “Truly we have learned a great lesson when we have learned that ‘saying prayers’ is not praying.” Likewise, reading Bible chapters isn’t knowing Him, and singing songs isn’t worshipping Him. Intimacy isn’t a collection of prescribed tasks. When we fall in love with someone, we dive in, not for 30 minutes a day, but all day, every day. We don’t set appointments with the object of our affection, then ignore that person the rest of the time. Even when we’re not together, our mind stays on the one we love.
I invite you to consider your spiritual life. Is it based on activities that start and stop at certain times? Or is it a continual conversation, a streaming love relationship? When you live in immersive intimacy with Christ, you won’t have to fret that you haven’t prayed long enough or read enough Bible verses today. You’ll talk to Him because He’s always on your mind. You’ll read about Him because you have an unquenchable thirst to know Him more. You’ll sing to Him because as you know Him more, His mercy, kindness, and all-consuming love will engulf you.
Waiting and calling
Stop trying to perform for Him and just be with Him. It’s not as hard as you think. He’s right there, waiting.
I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: “Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.”Song of Solomon 5:2*
The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service to Him. It is never ‘Do, do’ with the Lord, but ‘Be, be’ and He will ‘do’ through you. The only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work and to be interested alone in Jesus Christ.Oswald Chambers
*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.