Is God your second-hand friend?
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. (I Peter 1:4)
Getting to know someone isn't always that easy, is it? We can hold back a little until we realize the other person is kind of 'all right' and we can probably share a bit more with them. We don't just dump everything out into the relationship and hope for the best. We wait to establish trust and then we unpack a little. Why? We don't want the discovery of some things by just anybody. We want those things to be shared with only those we consider to be our 'inner circle', or the ones we value and trust the most. Imagine that God invites us to get to know him personally and intimately - not holding anything back - because he values and trusts us! He trusts us with the knowledge of how he moves amongst us and what moves his heart. He opens up the secrets of his grace and inner peace to each of us. In turn, he asks us to trust him to always be open with us and invites us to always be open with him.
To know one 'personally' means we don't settle for a second-hand relationship. I know some of my BFF's friends, but it is more of a second-hand relationship. I am not all that close to them, but I respect them, am invited into their gatherings, and enjoy their company. We have 'contact', but it isn't as 'direct' as the contact I enjoy with my BFF. The relationship I have with them is kind of 'general' - not much sharing of 'personal' stuff occurs. We talk about family, acquaintances, happenings, and plans. We don't generally talk about our hearts, hurts, and hopes. When I share with my BFF, it is just the opposite. It is pretty much with open abandon, knowing she will not laugh at my dreams, judge my 'way out there' ideas, or shut down my hopes. God doesn't want us to 'hold back' our true selves in relationship with him - he values us too much to ask us to 'reserve' our true feelings from him.
To know one 'intimately' might just mean there is a confidence we can be our real selves in their presence. Where this 'confidence' exists, there is a freedom of movement and expression that is allowed. God isn't trying to put us in a box and hold us captive to certain beliefs. He has opened the box we were captive within and shows us exactly how our beliefs create a sense of freedom to be who he created us to be in the first place. We may run back into the box from time to time, all because the discovery of who we really are is kind of frightening to us. Intimate relationship with God is all about knowing boundaries but being totally free to live within those boundaries. Putting aside our 'reservations', we embrace freedom. Welcoming him into our lives, trusting him with our innermost thoughts, and giving him our absolute trust - this is what God asks of us. Just sayin!