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Gregory Dickow - Intimacy With Jesus

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    Gregory Dickow - Intimacy With Jesus
TOPICS: Intimacy with God

Well, welcome to "The Power to Change Today". And I want to share with you a beautiful verse that I've been thinking about over the last few weeks, it's become really personal to me because it points us to God's everlasting love and it leads us into intimacy with Jesus. I think everyone wants to experience intimacy with Jesus. In fact, through this verse, I want to show you the four levels of intimacy that we can have with Jesus. So, enjoy today's message, share it with someone who needs to hear it and I'll be back at the end to pray for you. Check this out.

Revelation chapter 3, verse 20, Jesus shares with us this closeness he wants with us. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me". I want to talk to you about something today that is going to help you and draw you closer to truly enjoying intimacy with God and closeness with God. There are people in life that are afraid of intimacy, they have had damage in their soul, they've had trauma in something that has happened to them physically or emotionally and it's very hard for them to open up, to be vulnerable and to be able to have intimacy.

The fear of intimacy is a real condition that people deal with. The fear of intimacy, the fear of closeness is a real condition that many people, you may even feel like you've had that and that you felt that. And why is that? It's because when you are most vulnerable, in the life of somebody else, when you're most vulnerable they could hurt you, and they could damage you when you're most vulnerable. And if somebody hurts you or damaged you in a moment of vulnerability in your life, then you will, from that point forward, have the fear of intimacy. But what God wants to do in your life is he wants to heal you from the fear of intimacy by being the one that you can truly be vulnerable with without any fear of rejection, without any fear of abuse, without any fear of being neglected, without any fear of being chastised, without any fear of being belittled or shamed.

Boy, our Heavenly Father would never do that to us, Jesus would never do that for us; nothing can separate you from his love. The only thing that can stop his love from taking its hold in your life is you, the only thing that can stop it is you, you're the one, it hinges upon, you. That's why he says, "I'm standing at the door knocking, but you have to open the door". In other words, the invitation to intimacy that Jesus offers us is completely up to us, if we accept or not, it's completely up to us. And one of the missions that I have in my life is to demystify, to de-stigmatize, if either of those are words, but to take the mystery out of intimacy with God, to take the mystery out of relationship with God. It doesn't have to seem weird and ethereal and cosmic, you know? A relationship with God is just like a relationship with anybody else. The first dimension of intimacy with God or intimacy with Jesus, or really intimacy with anybody, is emotional intimacy, emotional intimacy.

Now, what is emotional intimacy? Emotional intimacy is the ability to emote, it's the ability to express your emotions to God. You know, there's an amazing passage in the Bible in Psalm chapter 13, David says, "How long, O Lord"? How long, "Will You forget me forever"? Now, Jesus, God just got through telling us in Deuteronomy that he'll never forget us, but when you're going through something emotionally, when you're going through a struggle you might feel sometimes like he has forgotten you, and David feels that way right now. "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever"? I think there's a pause there, "How long will You forget me? Forever"?

Like, who hasn't felt that at times, who hasn't expressed themselves like that, who hasn't been sarcastic and snarky like that? We've all been like that, David's like that. David was a great king, David was a great warrior, David was a man who rebuilt men, David was a man who made soldiers out of men in debt, distress and discontent; he made them mighty men. David was a powerful man, David was also a human man. David made a lot of mistakes, David's sins are in front of all of us in the Bible, but the only person that his sins are not in front of, the only person that is not aware of David's sins is God, 'cause he washed them all away.

You know, the only one who's not aware of your sinfulness is God, because he dealt with sin completely and utterly and forever on the cross. And we get so caught up having a relationship with God that's sin-based in conversation and sin-based in thought but God isn't interested in a sin-based relationship with you, he's interested in a love-based relationship with you, in a grace-based relationship with you. And when you understand that about him, it makes it easy for you to be honest with him, to be transparent with him and to be vulnerable with him, because no matter what you tell him he will never judge you, no matter what you say he will never condemn you, no matter what you do he will never reject you.

"How long, O Lord"? But we've all felt like that sometimes, right? "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me"? "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my own soul," how long must I have, "Sorrow in my heart all the day"? Do I have to go through this all day long, God? "How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God". Boy, you know what? David is making some pretty bad, pretty nasty claims about God, here in Psalm 13. "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me"? Like, to even assume that God could forget you, that's a pretty strong claim by David. "How long will You forget me"? Maybe he's even being a little manipulative, trying to get God's attention by saying, "Are you gonna forget me"?

We do that sometimes, we ask these sarcastic questions of each other, whether it's in our relationship with our husband or wife or somebody else that's close in our life, and we get sarcastic, and we we turn sour and bitter in the way that we ask a question, we're trying to send a message. We're not really asking, we're not really looking for an answer, we're just looking to send a message. I wonder if I'm in the right place here, if somebody's ever been guilty of that. I have been, can anybody say, "Amen," to that? David sure is doing that. What kind of man would claim that God forgets you? What kind of man would claim that God has hidden his face from you? What kind of man would claim that God is allowing you to feel sorrow every day, all day?

I'll tell you what kind of man would say that, an intimate man with God. He's intimate, because guess what we have here, we have emotional intimacy, we have a man who's able to express his emotions, the good, bad, and the ugly ones, to his Heavenly Father. And you know what? Last time I checked, after Psalm 13 came Psalm 14. Looks like God didn't give up on David, did he? Looks like after 14 came 15. You know what? If you keep doing that, you'll get all the way up to chapter 150 or 151, right? There was 100 and a half Psalms, most of which were written by David, most of which were written after his big sins. Not a lot amens on that, we all have some big sins; God doesn't relate to us on the basis of our sins. God hasn't written the final chapter in your life, he hasn't put an exclamation mark in the chapter 13 of your life.

In chapter 13, you think David's like, "I don't know, this Christian life, this walk with God, this intimacy with God, this sucks"? You think David literally says that and is like, "Wow, how can I have to put up with this? Where are you anyway, God"? Wow, for the honest and for the weak that could join me in saying I know what it is to be weak, I know what it is to be down, I you know what it is to be broken, and I know what it is to be empty, and I know what it is to fail, and I know what it is to want to stay down, but I hear God's voice saying, "Get up, champ, get up. I'm not giving up on you. You done insulting me? I didn't take any of it personally anyway". "You done insulting me, David? I'm gonna make you king. You done insulting me yet? I'm gonna give you all the gold this world has ever had before. You're done insulting me yet? I'll give you all the life and all the wife and all the wives, just don't take what's not yours. You know, ask me for anything else and I'll give it to you".

And boy, David, wow, this guy became such a powerful man and where did it all start? in intimacy with God. Intellectual intimacy, wow, this one's very powerful; giving people in your life the freedom to think for themselves and believe for themselves and have opinions that are respected even when they differ from yours. Do you know that God has intellectual intimacy with you? He gives you room to think and believe what you want to think and believe. He thinks differently about many of the things that we think about but he gives us room to develop, he gives us room to evolve and he gives us intellectual intimacy. He says, "I'm gonna share my thoughts with you but I'm not going to demand that you change your thoughts and demand that you change your beliefs or demand that you change your behavior".

That is something that he gives you room to grow in and gives you room to develop in. And intellectual intimacy is something that we have had a really hard time at in Christian churches and in our nation that we call a free nation. We're really not experiencing intellectual intimacy and intellectual respect for each other because when somebody disagrees with us we treat that as hate, and when somebody speaks something that we don't have the same opinion of, we say, "Oh, how dare they," and, "How dare they think that". Wait a minute, nobody was created by God to think the way a group thinks, we're created by God to think individually and to have intellectual intimacy with God so that we can share our thoughts and we can share our opinions and we can share our beliefs though he's still working on us, and we'll receive him working on us.

He's okay with us having different opinions than what he has right now 'cause he knows he's finished, he's finished in his life. He's not developing or evolving any further so he's always going to have the same thoughts and the same opinions but he knows yours are gonna continually change so he gives you grace, he gives you rope, he gives you room. If you want to hang yourself with it, God's going to cut the rope so that you don't. He's gonna give you chance after chance after chance.

But I guarantee you he's not judging you at the state of mind you're in right now because he knows that's only temporary and he knows you're going to evolve and he knows you're going to find the answer and he knows you're gonna get it, he knows you're gonna have a breakthrough, he knows you're gonna figure this out. He knows it might take a year, he knows it might take 10 years, he doesn't care, he's eternal, and his arms are everlasting and his love is everlasting so he's not all caught up in the things that we are caught up in, in the temporary moments of life. That is the kind of relationship God wants to have with you, intellectual intimacy, where you don't cut somebody off in the middle of their sentence, you let them share, and you're not thinking about what you're gonna respond with, you let them express, and then you digest it, and you show some evidence that you understand where they're coming from even if you don't understand why.

To understand where somebody's coming from without having to understand why is intellectual intimacy, and God is like that with us; he understands why, too. With us, towards him, we're able to feel understood, we're able to believe that God understands us. We don't know why sometimes, that he understands us, we don't know how he understands us, but if we will put our faith in the fact that he understands us truly and he has empathy and he feels what we feel and he gives us room to grow, then we will see a whole lot more peace in our lives and more peace in the world. Experiential intimacy, it comes from time-spent, experiential intimacy is spending time with somebody.

Now, you can apply these intimacy definitions; you can apply them to your walk with God, you can apply them to your relationship with your family, you can apply them to any relationship really. But experiential intimacy is spending time with God. And you know, "What a waste of time," said no one who spent a minute with God. No one thinks that a moment with God is ever waste of time, if they have ever spent a moment with God. And you know, sometimes my moments with God are just like this: "Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, thank you, Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you".

Remember Big Bear from Armageddon? "Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus". Some of you, some of you, some of you remember that. Thank you, Father. I trust you, Father. I love you, Father. You know what that is? Time spent with God. "Thank you, Father, you're with me now. Going through a hard time here, Lord, but you're with me, just want to thank you, thank you you'll never leave me or forsake me". What are you doing when you say words like that? You're spending time with God. "God, I'm going through this job interview. Lord, open the doors no man can close. I just thank you, Father, thank you that you have my best in mind". What are you doing? Having experiential intimacy with God by just talking to him, thanking him.

What if you just stopped for a moment and if we all just said, "Father, I thank you"? Let's just say that, "Father, I thank you; Father, I trust you; Father, I love you because you first loved me". You know what you just did today? spent time with God. Might be you might say, "Well, that's not quality time". Sure seemed like it to me, sure felt like it when I was saying it, felt like quality to me, might not be quantity but its quality. Whatever you give to God he will always give back. You give him time, he'll give you more time back; you give him money, he'll give you more money back; you plant a seed, he'll give you a harvest back. That's what God's like, that's who he is.

And the fourth kind of intimacy is spiritual intimacy, this is where we're truly living by God's promises that he makes towards us rather than by our promises that we make to him. My relationship with God is an emotional relationship, it's an intellectual relationship, it's an experiential relationship, and it's a spiritual relationship in that I am relating to him based on what he promised that he would do in my life. I'm relating to him based on the promises he made to me, I'm not relating to him on the basis of the promises I make to him.

Faithful is, "He who began a good work in you," and he, "Will finish it until the day of Christ Jesus". That's a promise of what he's doing for you. "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory". That's a promise that he makes to you. "All the promises of God are Yes, and Amen," 2 Corinthians 1:20, that's a promise that he made to you. You see, we're living by the promises, spiritual intimacy is living by the truth of the Spirit. Jesus said there will be a time when, "Those who worship Me... worship Me in spirit and in truth".

What does it mean to worship him in spirit and in truth? It means to worship him not by the flesh, worshiping him in spirit is worshiping him based on the promises he made, worshiping him in truth is worshiping him based on what he said about you, "I love you, I'll never let you go". What does he say? He says, in Malachi chapter 1, verse 2, in the New Living Translation, I think he says, "I have never stopped loving you and I never will," or, "I have always loved you," Malachi chapter 1, verse 2. Jeremiah 31, verse 2 and 3 and 4, "I've never stopped loving you and I never will". He said, "I've never stopped loving you and I never will," so, "Expect love, love, and more love!" the Bible says. This is intimacy with God.

And you know, well, there's just so much I could share and say to you today, but we're out of time. I just want to say one more thing about how good God is. In Jeremiah 31, verse 3, it says in the English Standard Version, "The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you". Notice the reason God is faithful to us is not because of something we do, he says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you". God continues his faithfulness to us because of his everlasting love for us; he doesn't continue his faithfulness to us because of something we do, he continues his faithfulness to us because of what he is and what he feels for you.
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