Michael Youssef - Growing In Your Love For Jesus - Part 4
Intimacy in its profound meaning, is when one person connecting with another person, on an emotional level, on an intellectual level, on mutual interest. Intimacy is the connection of spirit to spirit. It's the connection of soul to soul, it's a connection of heart to heart. It's a connection between two individuals, who love Jesus and love one another. That is why, the lack of pure intimacy, is the cause of all kind of trouble in our culture today. It's a cause of breakup of marriage, it's a cause of Christian burnout. It is often the cause of feeling of alienation. It's the reason for lack of commitment, that we see all around us today. I always get to the bottom line so let me get to the bottom line.
In our fallen, hard, harsh, selfish culture, intimacy has become a lost art. It's very sad, but it's true. But there's more, because intimacy is a process, it's not something you cook in a microwave. It's a process. It takes time to develop intimacy. Intimacy cannot happen overnight, intimacy requires investment of time and because of that, very few people comprehend, let alone develop, intimacy. Why is true intimacy so rare in our time? Because in the final analysis, while intimacy requires time, investment of time, it also require trust, trust. There has to be mutual trust. When trust is broken, intimacy is shattered. When trust is betrayed, intimacy become difficult. Intimacy between husband and wife at its highest level, at its highest level, is when they both absolutely, unequivocally, fully trust each other. Can I get an amen?
And when trust rules supreme, in a marriage between husband and wife, their hearts are open to each other, their minds are open to each other, the depths of their feelings are open to each other. When trust dominates a relationship, there is freedom from fear and anxiety. Trust is the foundation stone of intimacy. What does that mean? It means that intimacy with another person, is when you dare to be yourself with that person. An intimate friend, is that friend who when you make a fool of yourself, he doesn't remind you of it, he makes you forget it. And so intimacy that is built on trust, takes time to develop, and trust has to be there. I read not so long ago about the super-rich, so many of them are saying, that they cannot have intimate friends because they really don't know if these friends are befriending them for who they are, or because of their money. What a way to live, huh? What a way to live.
But today I want to tell you, about the ultimate super rich, who wants to befriend you. The ultimate super rich who knows all about you, he knows all about your motives, whether they're pure or not, whether they're mixed or not, he knows all about your motives, but nonetheless, he loves you, and he wants you to have fully enter into an intimacy with him. I wanna tell, you about the super-rich, super-duper rich, who will never reject you. He will never reject you. He will always forgive you when you confess. He will always accept you when you return to him. He will always, always welcomes you with open arms when you come back to him. And because of that, you know that he has your best interest at heart.
There's another huge problem about intimacy before I get to the message, there are some people, thank God they're not too many, but there are some, who deep down cannot be themselves with others. They just cannot be themselves. They have always have a mask on, most of their life is they're living on a stage, they're acting. Why? Because they feel, that if they are honest about who they are, people will reject 'em. They say that, if people really knew, what I'm like, they will snub them. Or if people knew them really intimately, they will have nothing to do with them. Now, I have heard people say through the years, "I cannot reveal to people the real me. If they know the real me, they would have nothing to do with me". But the tragedy of all tragedies, the tragedy of all tragedies, that there are some people who feel the same way about their intimacy with God. Because they erroneously think, that if they come clean with God, he's gonna reject them.
Think about this. And so they go through their Christian life, I'm talking about Christians, they go through their Christian life, in their head, they believe that Jesus died for them. In their head, they believe that they're saved by grace. In their head, they know a great deal about Jesus. In their head, they believe that God is good especially when he answers their prayers. In their head, they're able to discern some biblical truth. In their head, they know correct biblical doctrine, they may even teach it. Listen to me, they can have all of that, but they do not have true intimacy with Jesus. And therefore, they never grow in their love for Jesus, they never grow in their love for Jesus. I wanna share with you how to love Jesus with all your heart. With all your heart. What is the heart? Yeah people get used to do this, you know what I mean? You seen this? They do this for cats and dogs, for sports teams, all kinds of stuff.
I don't know people on RadioLand saying, "What is he doing"? I'm doing the sign of the heart. The heart is more than that. The heart is more than what you have in Valentine cards, you know. In the scripture, the heart is the center of your personality. In the scripture, when they use term "Heart," it is the core of your being. And that is why we say to people, "Receive Jesus into your heart". And sometimes when our kids were little and they say, "Where Jesus is," point to their heart, he's in my heart. But it's more than that muscle that pumps blood into your body. When we say you receive Jesus into your heart, we're saying, "Let him dwell at the very center of your life, let him dwell at the very center of your being, let him dwell to be the focus of your life".
And so, how do I love anyone, leave alone God with all my heart? I'm glad you asked. So don't miss this, don't miss this, because there's no going around this. There are no shortcuts. Anybody tells you there're shortcuts to what I'm gonna tell you, they're not telling you the truth. You can't go around it. You cannot love anyone, let alone God, with all your heart, without spending time in his presence. It takes time. Listen to me, you cannot love someone by having second hand information about that person. It is not only difficult, it is impossible. Someone will say to me, "Michael, Michael, you don't understand, I pray all day long, Jesus is in my mind all day long. I'm constantly in the car and I'm praying, when I'm in the office I'm praying, I'm praying all the time".
Wonderful, don't stop, but listen to me, sending cables to someone all day long, is gonna make you know this person, let alone love that person. Incessantly, emailing someone, or sending texts to someone, does not build intimacy with that person. Why? Because intimacy cannot develop when you are consistently doing all the talking. Intimacy cannot develop when you constantly, you have to give him time to talk back to you with the Word of God open in front of you. You have to give him the chance to talk back to you. For intimacy with Jesus to take place, you must develop your listening skills. You must create a time with the Word of God open in front of you. You must create the time, when you are just focusing on listening. You cannot listen, when your focus is on what you're gonna say next. You know, you've been with people like that. I mean, they're not listening to a blessed thing you're saying, all they can think about is what they're gonna say next.
I think most of you know what I'm talking about. There's no going around this beloved, there's no going around it. We can do all kinds of tricks, and games, and with our heads, but it's not going around it. You must have time to be quiet and listen. Hear me right please. I wanna tell you this, and I already got his permission, when Jonathan was about eight, nine, ten, that kind of age, my study in the house we lived in, was in the basement and really gumpf, not many people would come down, unless they need something or want something 'cause that's much where my study is. And he would come in and he would just sit in my study. I'm reading and I'm writing and I'm studying, I'm praying and stopping every now and again but he just sit, he quietly just sits there. Typical father, not in any suspicion, but just kind of natural thing.
What do you need, right? I mean, that's the first question. What do you need? "Nothing". Anything I can do for you? "Nope". Jonathan has always been a man of few words, but when he speaks, he speaks volumes. And he just sits there quiet, not saying a word. Finally, it dawned in my thick head, really is... it finally dawned on my thick head, this child is just contented to quietly sit in his father's presence, he doesn't need anything, he doesn't want anything. And that my beloved friend taught me, a huge lesson in my intimacy with my heavenly Father. It taught me to be contented to sit quietly in his presence. Not always, but sometimes God waits and he waits. You've heard me say this many times, he takes his sweet time until I'm still in his presence. And when he totally got my attention, then he speaks. That cannot happen, when the phone is ringing off the hook, and the television bellowing, and when your thoughts are racing 100 and 20 miles an hour, you know what I'm talking about?
One of the Monrovian leaders, Count Zinzendorf, this is actually the group that actually led John Wesley to Christ. Godly man gave it all for Jesus. Count Zinzendorf, he said the following about intimacy with Jesus. Listen carefully, please. He said, "An understanding that comes from concepts," and you can learn concepts all day long. "Any understanding that comes from concepts, changes with time, with education or with circumstances, but an understanding that arrive to through experience, does not change, does not change. Such understanding becomes better with time and with circumstances". Now apply this to your intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. At the very, very, very first part of this series, I talked about boredom, getting bored in your Christian walk. Some people get bored and they constantly moving around from one place to another, they get bored. A lot of people get bored in their Christian walk, and the new ideas, and exciting ideas, and they jump all over it and all of a sudden, these ideas become old and stale, and they should move on.
What was once exciting, becomes old and stale and boring, but not so in your intimacy with Jesus, not so with your intimacy with your heavenly Father. The more you spend in intimacy with Jesus, the more you know him, and the more you get to know him, the more you get to love him, and the more you love him, the more you want to love him. And the more you want to love him, the more you want to love him with all of your heart. Amen, amen, amen. Now, look, I know this is not just my experience, it's the experience of many people here in this room, I know that, but please listen carefully. If you do not spend time in intimacy with Jesus, within a very short period of time, your love will get weaker, and weaker, and weaker, and you're going through the motions of serving, and doing, and doing all kinds of stuff. But your love will go... that's the very thing that started this whole series when I was studying that letter of Jesus to the church in Ephesus. They're doing all the right things, "Yet I have this one thing against you, you have forsaken your first love".
And that is why, love must grow stronger, stronger and stronger rather than, weaker and weaker. If you just take time and focus on the depths, and the widths, and the breaths, and the height, of his love for you, it will light a fire, it will ignite a fire inside of you, regardless of the circumstances that you're going through. Martin Luther, the great reformer, was meditating on these words in the scripture that he died for us. He died for us. He died for us. And then he said, there are these two words, for us, for us. There's two words, he said, ought to be written in golden letters on our hearts, on the hearts of every Christian believer. And I say, amen belongs here. Because that tells us something very important about our Savior. It tells me that he wants us. It tells us that he longs to befriend us. It tells me, that he pursues intimacy with us. It tells me, that he longs for us to have intimacy with him.
Beloved, the reason we can love God with all of our hearts, is because we can trust him. We can trust him, we can trust him. You can trust him because he has proved his love for you by paying your eternal debt and my eternal debt. And President Eisenhower, when he was the commander of the Allies forces, made a statement that nobody could ever really forget. He said, "There are no victories at bargain prices". No victory at bargain prices. I can modify this and say, there can be no intimacy with Jesus, without absolute trust and investment of time. And all the so-called experts in human behaviors, have been telling us for years, that children acquire many of the habits, and the characteristics, and the traits of their parents. And you often hear people say, "Well, she's just like her mother," or, "He's just like his father".
Deep down they tell us that, every boy wants to be like his dad. And the more he's acquainted with his dad, the more he spends time with his dad, the more he talks to his dad, the more he becomes like his dad. I can tell you, most assuredly, it works the same way with your heavenly daddy, with your heavenly daddy. My beloved friends, it works the same way. The more you're acquainted with your heavenly Father, the more time you spend with your heavenly Father, the more you'll be like your heavenly Father. My beloved, listen to me please, I'm coming close to the end now. I know without a shadow of doubt, as I know I'm standing before you today, that my heavenly Father feels in a far, far, far, far, far, greater way, about his children, who wanna spend time with him, in his presence.
He delights to tell the angels, "Look at her, she's my daughter and she's spending time with me. Look at him, he's my son is delighted to spend time with me. She wanna spend time in my presence, in my Word. He's pursuing intimacy with me. She is pursuing and responding intimacy and responding to my invitation. She or he loves me with all his and her heart". If God's children would do that, would do that, we don't have to pray for a revival, we become a revival. We become a revival. If you haven't been doing this, start, start today, start tomorrow, start, start somewhere, and then keep it up for a week and see what amazing things God will do in you, and through you. I think none of us are too busy, that we could not spare the time with Jesus, so that your love for him and my love for him will grow exponentially.