Love is at the heart of intimacy. The more we love someone, the closer we desire to be with them, and the closer we allow them to us. We cannot be intimate with a person we don’t love. The more we love someone, the more we trust them and believe in them. This helps us understand why faith only works by love.
Galatians 5:6 (AMP) For [if we are] in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love.
Faith in God is based on our love for Him, and our love for Him is expressed through our faith in His word. Jesus is God’s word made flesh.(John 1:14)
As Jesus was preparing himself for the cross, He was also preparing His disciples for the time when He would not physically be there with them. In John 14 we see a marvelous dialogue between Jesus and his disciples. Pay attention to the emphasis of this chapter.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:22-23 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
Judas asked a very important question. “How will You manifest yourself to us and not the world?” Jesus said, “by loving me,” (my paraphrase) Then He told us that love for Him is expressed, through obedience to His word.
In verse 23 we have an amazing promise that God will make His home in us if we love Him like this. I can’t think of a more powerful promise in the entire Bible.
Our New Testament command is to love. According to the three verses above. demonstration of our love for God is shown through obedience to His word. It is our greatest act of faith. Without obedience, Jesus said we do not love Him. The Church, for the most part, has not let that sink in.
Intimacy requires obedience. Obedience is God’s “love language.”
I remember years ago, in a private time of worship and prayer, I blurted out, “Lord, I love you so much!” He then said to me, “How much do you love me?” Without hesitation, I said, “With all my heart Lord!” He spoke again, “Jack, that is not enough.” It felt like a punch in the gut, but He immediately brought this scripture to mind.
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
I then realized that “loving God with all my heart is only 25% of what this verse is commanding me to do.” God was showing me that I was created to love Him like He loves me. With every fiber of my being.
Honestly, I had to ask the Lord to show me how to love Him with my soul, mind, and strength. If fact, this happened over 25 years ago, and I am still processing this truth.
The chief expression of love is selfless giving. (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…) We must have the courage to ask ourselves; What are we giving our soul, our emotions, and our mind to? What do we give our strengths, giftings and talents to? What do we give our time and attention to? What we love and worship can be clearly identified by what we give our time and attention to.
John 15:9-14 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Our experience of God’s nearness or distance is not an indication of his actual proximity to us, but of our level of intimacy with Him. The more we love God, the more intimate we will be with Him. When we feel distant from God, it is often due to a lack of intimacy.
Intimacy is the highest level of communion in any relationship. It requires honesty, humility, vulnerability, and constant communication. Intimacy does not happen in a Church service, a Bible study, or any other public meeting. Intimacy happens behind closed doors. Taking an honest look at how we worship and love the Lord when no one else is around will locate our level of love for the Lord.
Why is love and intimacy so important in spiritual warfare? Because He is the one we are fighting for. His purpose, His plans, and His strategies for battle become clear when we are intimate with Him. It purifies our motives and clarifies our perspectives. More than any other thing we can do, it strengthens us for battle and gives us a vision for His victory.
A lifestyle of intimacy with God is characterized by great joy.
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
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