Fear of Intimacy
Seems that a portion of Christians would fall into the category of those who either doubt the possibility of intimacy with God and/or despise those who claim to enjoy it.
I certainly understand wanting to safeguard against heresy, but Jesus plainly spells out a life of intimacy for His people. Not a mere closeness–the same intimacy He had, in fact.
Jesus shocked the religious leaders of the day by claiming God as His Father. That would have been enough to get them riled up, but we went further. He taught His disciples to pray, “our Father” and extended the same blessing of intimacy to all who believed in Jesus (and by extension, us).
Remember Jesus high-priestly prayer in John 17? It’s a powerful intercession to be sure.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” –John 17:20-21
He desired for us to be intimately and wholly intertwined as He and the Father were and are. He then establishes another inconceivable thought–that we would all be in Him–one with His heart and purpose.
I think many mock and refuse to embrace this childlike intimacy because they fear they’ll lose their reverence for God. A child climbing into his father’s lap can enjoy the intimacy and still be in awe of how big, loving, and amazing his dad is. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Sure, some people don’t understand this intimacy correctly, but just because someone mishandles something God says is good doesn’t mean we should all shy away.
His word is still true. His promise still stands.
As Brennan Manning relayed the story of a broken woman who found healing in the arms of her Abba, Daddy God, I couldn’t help but be in awe again at the beautiful access He offers us. In his words,
Be aware, this is not sloppy sentimentality or indulgent wishful thinking. But rather a woman who dared to pray in the childlike trust and deep reverence that Jesus said would mark a disciple, and in doing so discovered the furious love of her Abba.
Why don’t you and I let our Father decide how much intimacy to allow us instead of our own religious comfort level? I think the fury of His delight in our simply coming to Him would shock us. The sloppy sentimentality is what I think people are afraid of, but really experiencing Him doesn’t lead to that sort of trifling. I believe true intimacy will draw us into Him and exponentially increase our reverence as we see Him more plainly.
That’s what I’m after. We could all lay down our guard and with abandon lift a praise,
Abba, I belong to You.
Welcome to week 3 of our book club discussion of the Furious Longing of God (disclosure) by Brennan Manning. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for the widget and another great take. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.