What holds us back from drawing closer to his chest and abiding with him, like the beloved disciple?
I came from a strain of evangelicalism which has a healthy emphasis on friendship with Jesus – some would even say too much at times. It probably all depends on how that emphasis is balanced out. I now find myself in a brand of theology, which – despite all its positives - does not emphasize the personal and warm and intimate aspect as much – and I sometimes miss that.
However, this is something I really do think about. I think about things like, would Jesus mind, when I ate next to him, if I was really close to him. Would it be ok when I saw him to give him a deep hug and even long embrace? A kiss? When I am extremely sad and don’t want anyone to see me, would it be fine to cry in front of Jesus; to cry on Jesus? I have really wondered this often. I guess the answer is yes. It seems as if there are examples of people doing these kinds of things in Scripture. Yes, some were women, but not all. And Jesus seemed to appreciate this kind of closeness with those he loved.
It is just such a great thought to think about being in the presence of a manly man – a real man – who you could truly be open with … one who would not deem you as less masculine or anything. Yes, he would see you as weak (in a sense) but that is because he knows our frame – we all are weak, every one of us! Jesus doesn’t seem bothered when we admit this.
The thing is, I know I can do these things now in front of Jesus – but I often don’t. Why? Well, I don’t think of him as real or present enough often times. It’s like loving a ghost – but I know that’s a lie. But I know my sin and I know my doubt (well, some of it). Also, I am prideful. I don’t want to act like I love Jesus that much, not in front of others. Even other Christians. Why? Because I like to maintain appearances. Why? Because I’m a sinner who cares more about what people think than what God thinks. O Lord, help me!
I believe I can cultivate this type of closeness with Jesus. I have experienced it at times. But not enough. And not lately. And not consistently enough. O Lord. Help me!
I know one way I can even do this is to love others as if they were Jesus; especially other brothers and sisters in Christ. But that is the hardest job of all … O Lord, help me.