From the day I first met my wife, there has always been a constant background awareness of her precious presence in my life. An now, it is just a natural part of our loving companionship. Indeed, I have no awareness of myself, anymore, without her. And, I think it is absolutely true that the beauty, and constancy, and depth of our companionship has shaped the quality of my life more than any other single factor, save my relationship with Jesus.
And, in fact, the beauty of the marriage companionship is a very prominent New Testament analogy for the believer’s relationship with the Living Christ. And, though the larger world is not privy to this facet of our faith – nevertheless, there is this simple truth. Our Savior is risen! He is alive! And, as a living being in Spirit form, He is completely capable of providing a deep and intimate daily companionship to believers.
Truly, the Resurrected Christ is absolutely capable of intellectual and emotional exchanges with us. And, every day, out of that capacity flows conversations and sharing’s which are very fulfilling and often even life changing. Through these cherished daily exchanges come solutions to our problems, invaluable life lessons, emotional undergirding, constructive criticisms, timely encouragements, a truly empowering synergy and much, much more.
But again, it is true. This intimate companionship is the wonderful privilege of our faith which the larger, non-believing, self-sufficient world can never taste because of their arrogance. And, even many in the organized Church, for similar reasons, fail to experience the sheer beauty and vibrancy of a life characterized by shared struggles and mutual celebrations with our loving Creator.
But, to be sure, it is one thing for the larger, self-absorbed world to miss this wonderful reality. And, it is quite another for so many in the modern Church to be missing this very basic privilege of our redemption in Christ. But, in fact, they are.
“How do you know, preacher?” you may be asking. Good question. And the answer is simple, really. It's in their eyes. Their eyes entirely betray them.
I know, because when my sermons touch on the absolute wonder of God’s intimate daily presence, too many, in too many congregations, merely smile and nod - politely. But, their eyes are missing the joy of overflowing excitement which which conveys, “I, know of that richness, preacher! I know that deep ‘joy of two!’
And, the tears are also missing. Those warm, confirming drops of real empathy don’t show up for mere politeness. They come only to confirm the emotions of that deep and intimate connection. But, far too often these days, they are not showing up at all.
"S&N," smile & nod, I think this casual response to the most earth shaking opportunity mankind has ever known breaks my heart more often than any other. And, how it must also hurt the heart of a loving God, who so graciously offeres the richness of who He is to our every day and to our every circumstance of life.
But, here is the bare truth which confronts us at the end of our casual response to that opportunity. If, for whatever reason, we miss this beautiful facet of our redemption, we have missed the point of redemption, itself. All that Christ has done has simply been to restore this daily divine companionship to mankind.
And so, to miss this communion, is also to miss Heaven, itself. And, this is so because of one other immutable truth. And, that truth is this. It is only God’s truly intimate friends who will ever be allowed to enter His Heaven.
Jesus was clear when He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never *knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
[*Knew: In the Greek: “Genosco” = A deep and intimate knowing.]