Friday, November 18, 2011

Forced Intimacy is not Intimacy

I had a disturbing dream last night; it was so disturbing I didn’t even write it down in my dream journal (and I record every dream I have). The more I tried not to think about it, the more I thought about it so I asked the Lord to give me an interpretation of the dream and he told me that intimacy, when it is forced, is not intimacy.

Often I am very task-focussed; I’m highly organized and dislike tasks that are left undone but like most people, there are a lot of tasks to do and generally the task I do first is the one that is most pressing or has the earliest deadline; occasionally I skip to a task that appeals most to me but I have a great deal of self-control in that area (where chocolate is concerned, not so much).

I wonder how many pastors and church leaders, if they are honest, spend time with Jesus, reading and the studying the Word for their own pleasure and to know him more deeply rather than simply for sermon preparation. I wonder how many Christians, if they were honest, spend time with Jesus because they love his company, rather than perform a cursory task they think they should do as a Christian.

We all know the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Martha is task-oriented, preparing and making food that Jesus didn’t ask for, while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to soak in his presence and listen to his teaching. Jesus said Mary chose the better part. I used to become just the ever bit offended by that. I mean, if Martha didn’t do something then nothing would get done. Martha didn’t have the luxury of a supermarket close-by where she could get ready-made meals and snacks and Jesus would get hungry, eventually.

I was a Martha, but I’m learning to be like Mary. It’s not that I want to make my relationship with Jesus second priority (or 3rd or 4th) but often I do until I have a reason to study, such as putting together a lesson for children I’m teaching about the gifts of the Spirit. But last night, the Lord reminded me how repulsive forced intimacy is to him.

Jesus died, not for our sins but so he could be in a relationship with us. Sin had to be dealt with but he didn’t die just so we could be sin-free. We are required to be sin-free to be in a relationship with God, the maker of all creation.

And the old adage, without Martha, nothing would get done – it’s not true.

“Working from his presence is better than working for his presence. Pastor Mike Bickle put it best when he said that there are lovers and there are workers. And lovers get more work done than do workers! A passionate lover will always outperform a good servant in pleasing him.” ~Bill Johnson, Dreaming with God

Our purpose is to be in relationship with Jesus, the rest will follow because love will compel us to care for things that are on his heart (2 Corinthians 5:14) and unless you can hear his heart, you won’t know whether he likes ham & cheese sandwiches or egg sandwiches, or whether he simply wants your attention. Not only does Jesus love you, but he likes you too and wants to be intimate with you without forcing himself on you.

What does “Mary chose the better part” mean to you?

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