Life with Jesus is simple. Jesus said that eternal, abundant, joy-filled life has everything to do with knowing God (John 17:3) That’s it. His entire definition of life eternal is a relationship with Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
I think we get baffled and ashamed at our need for community and intimacy because we forget how relational God really is. God’s never been alone. He’s always been with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Every piece of God is about intimate, loving relationship. If that’s the case, then it makes sense that Jesus would tell us that abundant life is to be invited into that relationship. He’s not a go-it-alone kind of God. God never intended for us to walk alone, guessing at who He is. He wants to be known, and He wants you to feel known too.
Peer back into The Garden at the very beginning. On the day that Adam fell, God came to find him in the cool of the day. When God calls out “Adam, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) I think He’s letting us in on a little secret: God and Adam had a cool-of-the-day meeting spot. I’m serious! It was the place they met to begin their daily walk together. God isn’t asking where Adam is because He doesn’t already know, He’s asking why Adam isn’t in their spot, awaiting their quality time together. I love that the Holy Spirit snuck this in. It shows us God’s original intention for Man, and it looks a lot like evening strolls in the cool of the day.
God is about relationship. God is not too big-minded, nor is He too small-minded for you. You’re not just a blip on His radar; you’re not just a tool in His salvation plan who is only here to complete a couple tasks for the greater good. And on the other hand, you’re not some out-of-control, bad-behaving child that God feels like He has to micromanage, either. His mind isn’t so big that He can’t see you, and His mind isn’t so small that He has to control you. He cares about more than that. He cares about watching you become a whole entire person with a life story, who has favorite foods and favorite songs! He likes that you are you, and He likes being lovingly involved.
Though we are indeed Papa’s children, we’ve sorely confused our God-given sonship relationship with stifling slavery. Some of us are still trying to work for our wages, striving to be just perfect enough to earn a half-glance from God; we’re trying to preform, to work, and to behave our way into God’s affection. But if that’s how God worked, Jesus would have called Him Boss, not Abba.
Jesus makes it strikingly clear that our relationship with God is that of a child and papa. He taught His disciples to see God as a deeply good Father, to take their relationships with Him from law to bloodline. He made a huge deal about His Father’s real-life character, and He did so by welcoming every ragamuffin with enough chutzpah to come near Him, by re-identifying the prostitutes, and by taking little children up into His arms one at a time to bless them.
Think about it. Jesus, the King of heaven and earth, wanted and considered it vitally important to pick up every child, pull them into His chest, and kiss them (Mark 10:13-16). And because Jesus is “the very nature of God” revealed, then we can bet our last dollar that God is the kind of Papa who sees us running after Him and explodes with joy. He’s not the kind of God who turns His back when He hears our voices. He leans in. He engages.
If that doesn’t convince you, check this out. God knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). If you’re struggling to believe that God even knows your name, I have good news for you. His attention is so focused on you that He’s joyfully numbered your hairs. He knows you. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, He knows you. What’s the only thing that could compel a Father to know every hair on His kiddos’ heads? Outrageous, determined, overjoyed Love.
Don’t let fear plague the process of getting to know God. Trust Him. The second you stop trusting is the second you stop enjoying.
We have to be brave enough to let God be tender. Our relationship with Him hinges on allowing all of His characteristics to speak to us. He is sovereign, He is strong, He is righteous. But He is also deeply tender, delighted, and joyful. You have permission to experience Him in His fullness. That’s what a relationship is. It’s knowing someone else and letting them know you, and that is God’s desire for us. We are invited into relationship with the Trinity. We are invited to enjoy Him. Run wild.