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"'If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.'" John 14:15-17 NIV.
Talk about intimacy! Jesus described the potential of a relationship with the Trinity that could not possible get more intimate.
What is intimacy? Our minds immediately link intimacy with some kind of physical relationship, don't they? Cuddling, kissing, even intercourse! But that is not necessarily being intimate. Intimacy simply means fully knowing and being fully known. This is the relationship that exists in the Trinity -- no secrets, nothing hidden, no dishonesty, being absolutely open and transparent.
Intimacy in the human sense involves both risk and trust; risk because it means opening up to the other person and risking betrayal; and trust because it believes that, no matter what it reveals, the other person will treasure and hold sacred whatever you reveal of yourself.
Jesus offered His disciples and He offers us a relationship like that with us, but it has a condition attached -- fulfilling our side of what cements unity -- obedience.
"You are my friends if you do what I command you." John 15:14 NIV.
However, this is not the subservient kind of obedience that does what it is told because, if not, there are consequences. This kind of obedience is built on the love that wants to protect the oneness between us and the Master by not doing anything that would go against what He values.
He offers us, mere humans, the highest form of friendship with Him -- friendship with God, mind you, the God who created and rules the universe through the power of His Word; this God said that He would call us friends, just like Abraham was His friend, and like David was a man after His heart -- on one condition
"The Lord is friend to those who fear Him. He teaches them His covenant." Psalm 25:14 NLT.
"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:11-14 NIV.
Jesus promised the priceless gift of the Holy Spirit to those whose love for Him is strong enough to do whatever He requires so that we will not break His heart, not to those who "receive Him so that they can go to heaven when they die!" Like the intimacy He had with His Father, He offers us an intimacy that understands His heart and co-operates with Him to carry out His will on earth through prayer.
"I will ask the Father..." Was this something that Jesus decided on the spur of the moment? I don't think so. This was part of the plan from the beginning. The first pair lost the intimacy of the Holy Spirit when they disobeyed. Jesus bought back that honour for us by paying the price for our sin, but He still had to co-operate with the Father by asking Him to do what He had already planned to do.
This is the essence of true prayer; not bringing our "grocery lists" of requests to God and wanting "delivery" of the items by next Tuesday, but by getting to know the heart of the Father through intimacy with Him, and expressing our oneness with Him through prayer as we learn what He has already planned to do and then asking Him to do it.
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." John 13:13 NIV. This is not a blank cheque that will get you anything your heart may desire. This is an invitation to share in the glorious work of rebuilding God's kingdom on earth by hearing the heart of the Father and asking according to the name (the nature and will) of the Son.
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