When I was in elementary school I loved paint pens. You might remember them or have some lying around your house, today. They were so handy for people like me who were not confident with a brush. The pens could be used like a marker and allowed you to decorate anything that would lie still long enough. I fondly remember the sound of the metal ball crashing against the cylinder as you shook it to mix the paint inside.
At some point, I became proficient enough with my pens to begin personalizing things for other people. I loved adding someone’s name to glasses, jars, and mugs. Adding a flower or a few balloons as an accent and the person receiving the item would know it was made especially for them.
Somewhere in the midst of my painting frenzy, the older brother of one of my friends called and asked if I could paint something for their grandmother. I said sure and he drove over with the cookie jar. The key part of the previous sentence, I hope you noticed, was that he drove to my house. I was so intimidated by this older boy. He was probably the cutest one of all my friends’ siblings and I had a huge crush that I had been nurturing from a distance.
When he got to my house, I held it together, but could not stammer much beyond asking what he wanted on the jar and then decide a time for him to pick it up when I was finished. Nervous did not begin to describe how I felt. it was as if a movie star had appeared on my doorstep looking for directions. When he came to pick up his grandmother’s jar (which he loved, thank goodness) he thanked me and offered to drive me anywhere I wanted to go. He said, “call anytime”, he would love to help me. I about fell over.
Was there anyone in your childhood that you noticed from a distance, but were too intimidated to get to know?
Maybe someone’s brother that you spied on, but only knew daily details about from your friend?
This is how I thought about Jesus for so many years. Someone who I could only relate to from a distance while He was on the altar and I was in the back pew. Someone who was so much more popular, more powerful and well, holier, than I would ever be. Someone who would not notice me because of the gulf of coolness between us.
My mindset affected more than I realized. Prayer was difficult and sporadic. I went to church out of obligation and not to worship the God I love. The other 6 days of the week were spent with my eyes fixed firmly on the next goal for school, work, or my social life with no regard for paying attention to God’s nudges.
Thankfully, this changed when I started participating in a bible study which made sense to me. As I spent more time reading Scripture and coming to know Jesus, I realized that I had misjudged Him and myself. I was just the sort of person Jesus wants to relate to, and you are too.
We can enter into a more personal relationship with Jesus in much the same way we would with a friend. Getting personal involves spending time getting to know Him and allowing Him to know me. It is a friendship that deepens with each day. One that you will never regret nurturing.
Are you like me? Have you kept Jesus at arm’s length for too long?
In order to Abide with Jesus, we have to take the first step toward Him which requires carving out some time in our day to come to know Him more intimately. Are you ready?