God desires intimacy - love demands this kind of 'renewing relating'. In our day-to-day relationships, this kind of intimacy cannot grow without depth of commitment and the willingness to be truthfully "naked" before one another in a spiritual and emotional sense. We don't need to remove our clothes to "get naked" with each other - we just need to remove our masks. Intimacy implies a certain familiarity with each other. It comes out of frequent exposure to each other - to the real you and the real me. It is the revealing of who we are, how we act, and what we like/dislike. It involves how we move and what moves us. In essence, until we reach this kind of depth in relationship with one another, we cannot truly be in a place of accountability with one another - and heaven knows, we need this type of accountability if we are to plant and harvest well!
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)
Intimacy also involves continual open communication. Truth be told, we just plain stink at being good communicators. For communication to reach a level where we are actually helped by what we share and what is shared with us, we need to be more than superficial in our sharing - we need a depth of revelation. Revealing who we really are, what we require or need, and how we plan to move or what it is we have planned. This type of communication can open doors for us to see our life through the eyes of another - and we all need to see life through eyes other than just our own! To this we have to add awareness, contact and frequency. We have to become aware of each other - not just on a casual level, but with the intent of knowing another at the deepest possible level. Awareness is more than just having knowledge of - it is being cognizant of what that knowledge can do when it is handled well. Contact involves close association with the other person - experiencing their "presence" even when words aren't spoken. It is in contact that we get to know both the spoken and unspoken needs of another.
Too many times we think of relationship as a matter of just spending "time" together. I'd like to challenge that one a little today - when there is continual association - even if it is just in your thoughts of another, you are developing a closeness of relationship. Yes, the presence of another is important, but so is the awareness of the need to keep them frequently in your thoughts and dear to your heart. Up to this point, you may have only suspected I was speaking about the relationships we have with each other. I challenge you to reread this and substitute God for each of these relationship characteristics. You and I need to be as intimate with him as we are with each other - to fail HIM on any of these points is to fail ourselves! One of the things I have come to appreciate in my relationship with Jesus is the ability to have an "informal privacy" with him. By this, I mean the ability to relate to him, not so much in the formality of him being GOD, but in the informality of him being my closest companion and my most frequent contact.
Not sure where you are today in your personal relationships with each other, but we all need to realize the importance of them. We can all do a better job of that! When I stop long enough to consider those that mean the most to me, I find myself smiling at the fondness of memories associated with those individuals. I also find myself lifting them in thoughts and silent prayers for their safety, continued growth, and God's best for their lives. When I think about my relationship with Jesus, my thoughts gravitate toward the tremendous selflessness of his unending love and grace. I can only hope to exemplify this type of love to those who I relate to in the natural sense. I don't know who you need to develop a better awareness of today, but if it is Jesus - go for it. If it is your spouse - go for it. If it is your cubicle mate - go for it. The guy next door - go for it. The checkout clerk - go for it. Until you do, you are missing out on what God intends for your deepest and most meaningful growth! Just sayin!
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