I’m not married as of yet (and no, I’m not taking applications or set-ups either … at least at this time), but I do know that to have intimacy with someone requires a purposeful cultivation of daily intimacy.
Can you imagine a husband who schedules flowers and chocolates to arrive at the house every week but never tells his wife he loves her? While the wife may want the sweet morsels and stunning centerpiece, those should be the outflow of love not the replacement for it.
I once heard the story of a wife who went up to her husband and said, “Why don’t you ever tell me you love me anymore?” The husband, a bit perplexed, looked at his wife and replied, “I told you I loved you when I married you and if it ever changes I’ll let you know.”
The reality of marriage is that it should get better over time – the depth, love, and intimacy should grow more beautiful and rich – but the only way that can happen is to cultivate daily intimacy with your spouse.
The same is true with Jesus.
Many of us assume that spending 30 minutes in the morning with our Bibles and in prayer covers the other 23.5 hours of the day. But what if this was the same in our marriages? If you spent 30 minutes with your spouse, and ignored them the rest of the time, do you think your relationship, closeness, and intimacy would grow and get better?
Well, the solution must be to spend 24 hours a day with Jesus … right?
The Outside Come Has Come Within
One of the tremendous realities of the New Testament is that God is not “out there” somewhere watching us from a distance (as the old Bette Midler song declared) but has come to live inside us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. [To clarify, yes, He is everywhere; but the emphasis in the New Testament is that He desires to live within me].
Pentecost is the reality of every believer – the outside God has come to dwell within!
I don’t live my life by myself. I don’t attempt to live the Christian life and mimic Jesus. “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) doesn’t apply to my life. I’m not playacting and imitating Christianity. Rather, I am allowing the Holy Spirit to come within my life and be my source; He the resource, strength, and wisdom I need to pull off the Christian life.
I am participating with the Spirit of God to live the Christian life. He moves, I respond. The essence of the Christian life is not what I can do for Jesus but what He wants to do in and through me!
Praying Without Ceasing
Paul makes an audacious statement in 1 Thessalonians 5.17 when he says, “Pray without ceasing.”
Is that even possible? What would that look like?
What Paul is NOT saying is that we are to walk around every day mumbling “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, O Jesus, Jesus, Jesus …” This isn’t a call to lock ourselves in a room and never do anything except be on our knees, with eyes closed, praying.
This is a call to intimacy. Praying without ceasing is about having constant communion, intimacy, conversation with the Living God.
If God has come to live within my life through the indwelling Holy Spirit, then why wouldn’t I want to carry on a constant conversation with Him? If Jesus lives inside of my life – not in mere theory or pie-in-the-sky hoping – but in reality because His Spirit lives within me, it would be foolish to ignore Him.
The God of the Universe lives within me! I do not become God, but I do become the vessel through which He wants to showcase Himself to the world. I become the stage upon which He acts, the glove He wears, the pen He uses to write with, or any other illustration we have used to explain such an incredible reality!
And He wants relationship with me.
He doesn’t merely want to dwell in my life and have me meet with him once a day for 30 minutes – He wants constant intimacy.
How to Cultivate Daily Intimacy with Jesus
While this is a topic we will explore more in detail later, it is important to realize that it IS possible to grow in your relationship with Jesus – to love Him more, enjoy Him more, obey Him more, serve Him more, and talk with Him more. You can always grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus – it’s an endless frontier.
To get you started, here are a few thoughts to consider:
- If you are a Christian, Jesus actually lives inside of your life through the indwelling of His Spirit
- If He lives inside of you, you can talk to Him at any point – or all the time
- The key to cultivating greater intimacy with Jesus is being purposeful in your relationship. This is not a haphazard thing, press in!
- Bring Jesus into the everyday moments of your life. Wake up and start talking to him like a friend – tell Him how beautiful the day is, how much you love Him, how much you need Him
To cultivate daily intimacy with Jesus, I must continually turn my heart, mind, and gaze upon Him. It doesn’t take much, just a constant reminder that I am not living my life on my own but He lives within me and I desperately need His involvement and interaction in my life.
All throughout my day, I find myself whispering under my breath: “Thank you Jesus for living inside of my life!” “Jesus I love You!” “Jesus I need You.”
This isn’t some magic wand you wave over your day or some self-help chant that you tell yourself in the mirror each morning. I honestly want Jesus’ involvement in my life every moment of the day – so I find opportunities to remind myself that He lives in my life and wants to be my source, wisdom, and strength. I cry out to Him in need. I involve Him in my everyday moments.
As I checkout at the grocery store, I am talking to the cashier but also silently praying that God would encourage her and stir her heart in such a way that she wants Jesus. I pray for an opportunity to share Jesus with the guy taking my order at the restaurant. In conversation with someone, I ask Jesus for wisdom and that He would speak through my lips.
I don’t want to live the Christian life on my own – besides it is impossible to live in my own strength and ability. I need Jesus to live the way that I ought. So why not involve Him in my life all the time?
Besides, isn’t that what He wants anyway?