But for me it is good to be near God. (Psalm 73:28)
If you were asked to describe your current relationship with Jesus, how would you respond? There are periods in my own life when I would describe the difference between walking side by side rather than face to face. In other words, my relationship with Jesus is always important (side by side), but it is not always intimate (face to face).
There is relationship when walking side by side. There is agreement and one accord; there is a common purpose that leads in the same direction. Now, without question such a relationship is important, but it is not necessarily intimate. Intimacy is moving from a side-by-side relationship to a face-to-face one. It is the experience of not only deeply knowing, but being deeply known.
Scripture says of Moses that “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). You and I should desire such a relationship with our living Lord. When God created us in His image, He created us for relationship with Him, one that would not only be important, but intimate as well. Our God wants what we all so desperately need: an intimate personal relationship with Him.
When the psalmist said “It is good to be near God,” I don’t believe he was talking about proximity; he was speaking of intimacy. The psalmist knew that intimacy with God has no competition or contenders in this life. And that is the way God designed it to be! That God-sized hole in each of our hearts was put there by God so that it could only be filled up by Him and nothing else. There is nothing smaller than God that will ever be able to meet us in our deepest place of need, no matter how hard we try to make it so.
Listen, God wants intimacy with you so much that He provided for it as His expense. In sending His precious Son to die on a cross, He paid the price and paved the way for you to experience intimacy at the deepest possible level—to live coram Deo (before the very face of God). Enjoying intimacy with Jesus is knowing that everything we think, do, say, and desire is fully known by Him . . . and that includes all the things we ought not think, do, say, and desire. Through it all, we are fully known and yet completely loved. That truth, when fully understood, takes an important relationship and makes it intimate.
So let me ask you: Would you describe your relationship with Jesus as one that is important . . . or intimate? Remember, every aspect of life is to be lived before the face of God. If we desire deep and abiding intimacy, we cannot withhold any part of our lives from Him. We will never experience the intimacy we were made for if we compartmentalize our Christianity.
The importance of our life with Christ is guaranteed; intimacy depends on us. This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!