Has anyone ever asked you if you have a “personal relationship” with Jesus? I believe that Jesus is calling Christians to something much deeper than a “personal” relationship with Him. He is calling us to an intimate relationship with Him. I believe the Bible is clear on this fact. Are we in love with Jesus or just friends with Him? Let’s take a closer look.
The Bible has many allegorical stories which, through figurative language, convey the deep level of intimacy which God desires to have with us. The Old Testament conveys the bond of perfect love between God and His chosen people of Israel. Christians see the intimacy of God through the gift of His Son Jesus and the union He has with His Church.
In Mark 2:19-20, Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom. In Ephesians 5:24-25, we see the relationship between Christ and the Church compared to the relationship between a man and his wife. Clearly if we see Christ as the bridegroom, and the Church as the Bride, then we must conclude that the relationship is expected to be intimate. In Song of Songs 1:2-3 we read this, “Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine, better than the fragrance of your perfumes.”
When a man and woman are truly in love they desire to have a close, intimate, and personal relationship. God is truly in love with us and thus He longs to have a close, intimate relationship with us too.
In the physical act of love making, a man and a woman completely give themselves to each other. By faith, Christians completely submit their intellect and their will to God. Physical intimacy involves nakedness and it involves vulnerability. Are we willing to stand naked before God and, in total honesty and vulnerability, give ourselves completely and in a covenantal way to Him?
Biblically speaking, marriage is not a contract, it is something much stronger. Marriage is a covenant sealed with an oath before God. Marriage is a relationship between a man and woman with an obligation to become one, physically, spiritually, and relationally (Genesis 1). Biblical covenants have signs such as rainbows, circumcision and Baptism. Sexual intimacy is a covenantal sign, reserved by God for marriage, hence “one body.” (Genesis 2:24)
Following the period of engagement, friends and family gather to celebrate the new couple’s marriage. After much anticipation, the bride and groom have the opportunity to celebrate their covenantal oath of love through physical intimacy.
Intimacy is more than just sexual. Within a marriage, couples seek intimacy of their hearts, spirits, minds and bodies. As to physical intimacy, in the beginning, love making is a vital and vibrant part of most marriages. Often however, as time goes on in the marriage, love making is pushed to the side. Life gets in the way. In many marriages, physically speaking, couples live more like friends than like lovers. The freshness and excitement of the wedding night wears off. The song, I MISS YOU, by Darius Rucker conveys this very well. Here are a few verses from that song:
Had a bottle of wine and a perfectly fine dinner
Talk about school, work, life and how cold it was last winter
Lay down in this big ‘ole bed and you turned on the TV
Fell asleep without a goodnight kiss or even an I love you
Baby, oh baby
How can we go on tonight and not even touch one another?
How can we say we’re still in love and not be lovers?
How did we get here, where you can be right there
And I can be with you and miss you?
Jesus exists in an intimate union with the Trinity. He hungers for and desires that same intimacy with us. Metaphorically speaking, the life of a Christian frequently parallels the life of the lovers described in the song. When our Christian faith is in its infancy we are infatuated with Jesus. We talk about Him to others, like a newly married bride proudly talks about her new husband with terms of endearment. We can’t seem to get enough of Jesus early on. We often immerse ourselves in Scripture and Catechesis.
However, as time goes on, our relationship with Jesus sometimes grows stale. We hardly talk with Him anymore. As in the song above, we all too often go to bed at night, roll over and don’t even take time to pray and thank Him for our day or to tell Jesus just how much we love Him.
Since this figurative bride/bridegroom language was instituted by Jesus to describe His relationship with His Church, it is equally as applicable to an unmarried person who is living a chaste celibate life. Jesus longs for a complete intimacy of heart and spirit with all of us. Permit me close with a few questions.
- What is the current status of your relationship with our Lord?
- Has it grown stale?
- Does your relationship with Jesus enjoy a deep intimacy?
- Are you in love with Him or just friends?
Heavenly Father, I long to give myself completely to your Son Jesus as a bride does to her husband. At times Father, life distracts me and I fail to be as intimate with Jesus as He is with me. Draw me back Father, to a more perfect union with Him today and always, amen!
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