Jesus Offers Intimacy
Not many experience intimacy with Jesus because they often don't seek Him deeply. When we read some of the old hymns like the eleventh-century song by Bernard Clairvaux-"Jesus the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast"-the wording seems foreign because we are not customarily prone to thinking in such a manner. Why is that? The old saints intimately spent hours with the Lord. Martin Luther translated the whole Bible from Hebrew and Greek to German, and yet he prayed three to four hours a day. Most of today's Christians can finish prayer in five minutes or less. Men like Luther weren't "asking" the Lord for things-they were "basking" in the delights of Him! "Basking" is resting and nourishing ourselves in the presence of the Lord, getting to know Him personally. Have you ever thought about what a precious, blessed privilege that is?
Jesus said in John 14:21: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Think about it! The Lord is waiting to unveil more of Himself to you. Do you want to experience the God of the Universe intimately? Then spend both quality and quantity time with Him.
Do you know why I love astronomy, oceanography, and science in general? What intrigues me so much about all that is getting to learn more about God in nature because I want to know as much as possible about my Lord. If you want to know God, will you accept the greatest offer of all? A personal, always-present relationship with the Majesty on High? The One who is the very center of all-that-ever-will-be wants to show you more of Himself every day.
Jesus wants us to remember what salvation is: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). That is the Christian life in one short statement: we are His sheep because we can hear His voice-He knows us, and we follow Him. If you struggle with assurance of your salvation, are you hearing the voice of the Lord? Is He revealing Himself to You? Are you following Him?
Jesus offers us the enjoyment of intimacy. Are you enjoying an intimate relationship with Him today? Are you enjoying the personal revelation of Him? Do you enjoy talking to Him? Are you reading His letters to you-the Bible's books? Are they at the top of your pile? When the mail comes, I usually sort through it very quickly. Half of it normally goes into the trash, and half can be read any time. But there is usually a letter or two that I just can't wait to open because I can tell by the handwriting or some other sign that they are of personal interest to me.
In America, one of the most anticipated events is the mail delivery. But far greater is the fresh letter the Lord Jesus mails to us through His Word every day, and He wants us to put it at the top of our pile. I recently met with someone who told me that they were having a bad week and, in fact, a bad summer. I asked, "What is so bad about it?" They admitted that they had not been reading the Bible much. My diagnosis was that they were spiritually sick. At times when we have called the pediatrician about one of our children, their doctor always asks if there is a loss of appetite or lethargy. When that happens, the child is actually sick. As God's child, if you have lost your appetite for God's Word, and have become spiritually lethargic, you are likewise sick. The cure: Do not expose yourself to things that grieve and quench the Holy Spirit of God. Someone has aptly said this about the Bible: "This Book will keep you from sin-or sin will keep you from this Book."
What do you know of Jesus that only comes by long hours shared with Him? I'm not talking about learning from what some great writer has written, but what you personally know from seeing Jesus reflected in His Word until your heart can't help but rise in intimate worship of God. Now do you see how the old saints could pray for hours? Such prayer is a reflection of a heart panting after Christ: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God" (Psalm 42:1).
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