God, Our Beloved

The scripture for Sunday’s message came from Matthew 11:28-30. It reads:

“Come to me, all you who are weary ad burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The message this week was about the passage in Matthew being an invitation from Jesus to be intimate with Him. I believe the passage can mean Jesus wants to take all our cares (both from the daily toils of life and from the restriction of religiosity); trusting someone to take all your cares is something only someone who you are intimate with can do. I used the example of Lindsay and me.

In Matthew, we see Jesus inviting us to drop off our worries on Him and to rest in Him as “He is gentle.” One day, years back, as I was in my quiet time with God, I began praying for Lindsay. I felt God direct me to this beautiful passage in Isaiah 35 that talks about a striking flower blooming in the wilderness for the Israelites and how this stunning and rare “rose of Sharon” would cause the “whole wilderness to rejoice.” In that moment, I knew God was not only talking to me about the incredible beauty of this woman He had placed in my life, but I knew He was telling me she would be the bright flower with beautiful aroma that would light up any wilderness we may be in, so long as we were together.

No matter where we go or what we do, because Lindsay and I have an intimate relationship, we can share our yolks with each other. There have been countless times over the past 3 years of marriage where I have been able to share my burden with Lindsay and because of our intimacy, she has been able to carry part of my load. If we were not close with each other, this would not be possible.

When we look at the passage in Matthew through that lens, we see the power of Jesus’ invitation to us. He, the creator of all things, the beginning and end, the Great I Am, is calling us to an individual and intimate relationship with Him every day. What a powerful invitation, to be intimate with the one who knows the number of hairs on our head and at the same time holds the galaxies in his palm.

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The call to intimacy with God has always been there; I found myself wondering why I hadn’t really felt the power of this sooner and more often. As I thought about this, I remembered “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In this book, Dr. Chapman provides practical advice for how to take action steps toward having a long-lasting relationship with your spouse. One of the points Dr. Chapman makes is that we have to spend “Quality Time” with your significant other, your beloved.

As I looked into the idea of what “Quality Time” really meant, I found three main ingredients:

  1. Giving them “focused attention”
  2. Having “quality conversation” with them
  3. Doing “quality activities” with them

If we apply these practical and basic ingredients with God (acknowledging there is no miracle formula for intimacy, only practices that may help you better see where He is at work), I believe we can set ourselves up for much richer quality time with Him.

That is my challenge for Bethany and you this week. Take those simple 3 steps and apply them to your quiet-time with God this week and see how you grow closer to Him.

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I don’t believe there is any magic way to become immediately intimate with God; I believe that like any relationship, intimacy comes with time spent together.

The beauty of this relationship is that we don’t have to guess if the other person wants an intimate relationship or not, we have Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11 that tells us He wants to be intimate with Him. “Come to me…and I will give you rest.”

 

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