THE WHOLE-HEARTED LEADER
PILLAR 2: INTIMACY
Friends of God
Why does the enemy want to destroy our identity? He hates our image because our identity is rooted in God. Did you know that we’re not meant to have shame? In our true identity, we’re to have confidence.
Think about Jesus. He was confident! He wasn’t arrogant, but He was confident. He knew who He was as the Son of God. He knew the goodness of God, and He knew the heart of the Father.
That’s what we’re restoring – our God-given identity. That’s what Jesus restored on the cross and in the resurrection. Jesus already paid for it, but now we’re having to actually become it.
Why do we need to put on the mind of Christ?
We need to put on the mind of Christ – to think the way that He thinks – because we’re rooted in our identity, and we grow from that place into intimacy.
When we’re able to open up our heart to God and allow Him to come in, He will give us that place of identity and intimacy with Him, where we begin to realize we’re not just sons and daughters, we’re friends of God!
What did Jesus say about abiding in the Vine?
He wants to be one with us, and I love this part – this part gets me excited. Go and look in the book of John, especially in chapters 14 through 17. John was one of the intimate three. He was so undone by God’s love, that Jesus loved him so much, that he described himself in his own gospel as “the one whom Jesus loved.” I love that.
Listen, it’s all about intimacy. It’s about us becoming one with God. Jesus goes on and on about this oneness.
- Jesus gave the parable of abiding in the vine – “If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
- And then in John 17, Jesus is praying to the Father on our behalf. And He starts talking about our oneness. He says, “I am in You and You are in Me, Father, and I want them to be in You as I am in You, and there we are one, and I want to be in them and they in us…” He goes on and on in this language.
Jesus’ prayer was constantly one. He wants us to be one with God again. That’s the cry of God’s heart. That’s what He wanted in the Garden of Eden, from the beginning. That was Plan A.
Plan B – if I can put it that way – was when Jesus had to come, and yet that was from the foundations of the world. But my point is that He wants us to be one with Him and He wants that level of intimacy.
Why did Jesus NOT ask for us to be taken out of the world?
When Jesus died and rose again, He created a way for us to be one and to be intimate again. He made a way for us to know His voice – “My sheep know My voice.” (John 10:4)
God wants us to fully become like Jesus. To be a Christian is to be a “Christ one,” an anointed one. He wants that intimacy. Jesus, when He was praying, said, “They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. I’m not asking You to take them out of this world, but to protect them from the evil one, for they are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.” (John 17:14b-16)
So twice Jesus said we are not of this world. That verse in the middle wrecks me, “I pray not that You take them out of this world but protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
We’re not meant to just be waiting for that final day when we’ll be rescued and raptured out of here. You better be able to withstand any trial or tribulation that comes your way now. If you’re sitting around waiting to be rescued, that’s a victim mindset. You need to be protected from the evil one, absolutely, and that’s what Jesus prayed. But we are here on this earth for a reason, and that’s why Jesus didn’t ask for us to be taken out of the world.
Why are we here? Our reason is to display the oneness of God to the world. We are to become Jesus to the world. We are to be one with Him and that requires intimacy.
It requires intimacy with Him:
- to go deeper into the heart of the Father to know who He is, and
- to know who we are in Him, and
- to grow in that place of confidence,
- to break off all shame,
- to break off all the lies, and
- to be able to move into this place where we’re protected from the evil one.
Why is it vital that we know who God is for us?
I can’t promise you that you’re not going to have trials and tribulations. Jesus actually promised that you will. Remember, He said, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” He said that because in this world you will have trials, troubles, persecutions, and suffering. (John 16:33)
That’s why we see so many scriptures about persecution and suffering. That’s why I believe Paul’s life and testimony is in there, and even Job. When we go through difficult things, it is vital that we know who God is for us, and that we are anchored in His goodness.
We need to be anchored intimately in His goodness because that is His identity, that is His character, that is His nature. There is no evil in Him. He is a good Father, and He is always with us, He never leaves us or forsakes us.
We need to start in this place of growing in intimacy with Him – not of information – but of revelation of His goodness. Goodness is His nature.
It is absolutely important to grow in intimacy so that when trials and testing come, we aren’t overcome, but we friends of God and overcomers.
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