Intimacy with God is a strange concept. How could I be “intimate” with a God who is Spirit, who is holy, and who is so much greater than I?
I have walked through seasons of deep intimacy with the Lord and walked through many others in which God’s presence has been absent. Everything on the outside of my life looked the same throughout these seasons. I was still reading the Bible, serving, and living a “good Christian life,” but I know when I am walking with the Lord and when I distant from him.
There is a story in Luke 7:36–50 that I believe is all about intimacy with God and what keeps us from it. I encourage you to read it for yourself, but here is a summary.
A religious leader named Simon invited Jesus to a dinner party. During the dinner a woman who was known as a “sinner” came in, fell at Jesus’ feet weeping, and poured expensive perfume on him.
While Jesus ministered to the woman at his feet, He was also aware of Simon’s private thoughts. Simon was watching the scene judging both Jesus and the woman, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Jesus turned to Simon and corrected him with a story about love and forgiveness.
I love this episode in Jesus’ life because it reveals what can keep us from intimacy with God and what can draw us back into it.
What Keeps Us from Intimacy with God?
The women in the story showed great courage in her faith that Jesus would receive her. After all, she wasn’t invited to the party and had no right to be there. How many women who see themselves as “sinners” would never come to Jesus because of their shame? They believe they must stay on the “outside” of the party, perhaps admiring him from a distance. Yet this woman had the faith to seek intimacy with him!1