A Lover of Jesus
Yes, I am in love with Jesus! Hanging out with Jesus as we laugh and talk and tell jokes, leaning my head on his shoulder and just enjoying him, dancing with him, and walking with him throughout my day have become the norm for me. I’ve learned to use my spiritual senses to experience him and have seen what fun he is, how he makes me laugh, and how he can relate to anything in my life.
Yet my journey with you began when I wanted to know what others were experiencing as they fell in love with Jesus. I was desperate to share stories and learn from people who were enjoying the kind of fun with Jesus that I was.
What I found, though, was that there didn’t seem to be any. There are a few books that tell of the bridegroom/bride relationship between us and Jesus but their focus is on examples between a husband and wife. Being married, I know those examples, I don’t need to read a book of what a relationship looks like between spouses as a picture of our relationship with Jesus. I want to know what it looks like between us and Jesus!
Eventually I sat down and wrote the book myself that I couldn’t find, (“The Wild Romancer”), sharing in it what I’ve learned and my experiences with being in love with Jesus.
But let’s back up some, it’s easy to tell you what it looks like to be a Jesus lover, but how do you become one? How do you go deeper in a relationship with Jesus? Here are some “relationship inhibitors” we struggle with:
- We have a hard time believing it
- We don’t make time for him
- We’re so used to being in the throne room that we don’t know how to get to the bedchamber
- We won’t give Jesus a chance to speak to us
- Our head is everywhere and we don’t focus on him
- We’re not expecting to experience him
- We’re not emotionally prepared to relax with him
- We haven’t practiced using our spiritual senses so they’re rusty
Out of my experience of being wooed by Jesus I’ve learned some things that I’d like to share. The first and most important one is that relationship doesn’t come without spending intimate time alone with someone. It’s that simple. You will never get to know someone by reading about them and talking about them and listening to someone tell you about them. You will only get to know someone intimately by personally spending time with them. We’re all busy, whether it’s with things over which we have no control or things we perceive we have no control over. “Real life” is like that. But it’s a choice. As an adult almost everything you do is a choice.
The impact of setting aside a block of specified time is that you relax. You stop running. Because you know you have that block of time you’re able to corral your thoughts and settle down to enjoy being with Jesus. Have your Bible reading/study, worship, and devotionals at a different time, but be sure to make time to just be alone with Jesus and get to know him. While I’ve had wonderful times in meetings and learned a lot about the things he wants all of us to experience, I have found that the majority of the times God has interacted with me on a personal level has been when I’ve been alone with him. Sure I’ve had the voila! moments in the car and shower and washing dishes and at a meeting, but the most fun times are when I’m giving him my undivided time and attention. In my book “Jesus Space” I share how to create a space to hang out with Jesus, both physically and spiritually.
A huge key to going deeper with Jesus is to listen. You can’t get to know someone if you never stop talking. It sounds easy, but in today’s world it is hard to find people who truly listen, either physically or spiritually, and who will take the time and foster the habit of consistently listening.
Everyone has “spiritual senses” like our physical senses, but unless we develop them they are fairly useless. A relationship with God is about learning to use our spiritual senses and hear him, see him, feel him, etc. We have a tendency to stay busy, life presses in, we are tired, and who has the time to pursue getting to know God? But that doesn’t change the fact that hearing God is a by-product of knowing him intimately and personally, closer than a friend. God wants to know us as a Husband, but he allows us to choose what level of relationship we have with him. We can choose him as our Master, Friend, Bridegroom, Distant Uncle, Man-on-the-cross, Shepherd, Baby-in-the-Manger, whatever. But the relationship we choose determines how joyful and fulfilling our walk is, and how easily we can communicate with God and walk it out.
We want to learn to listen and interact, to give him a chance to say or do something. To do so we have to create a place for him to come hang out with us, not a physical place as much as being physically being still and spiritually meeting him, because it doesn’t matter how much time you give him if your mind is running around feeling pressured or rushed. That’s not easy, especially for people like me who have a hard time being still. It’s hard to drop the world and get into that quiet place where he can come hang out with you. But then experiences with him will begin to happen, and build on each other, and only then can you begin to trust that you’re not making it up. Trust goes a long way. Satan will try to tell you that you’re making it up, that you’re in heresy, that you’re just stupid—anything to steal the relationship away from you. But the more you spend time with Jesus the stronger the relationship gets, and the more you trust him. Trust is a big issue here. It has surprised me to discover that in my relationship with Jesus I still have trust issues.
One thing I realized that surprised me was that God was no longer in the sky, he was with me as a spiritual person, as if we were walking and talking or sitting together. I didn’t decide to change my perspective, I just realized that being with Jesus changed that perspective. We all know God is inside of us and that his presence is everywhere, and even if you feel like he’s not “in the sky” I’ll daresay that when you worship alone you raise your hands or arms reaching out to him, or at the least, look up if you want to interact with him. But after spending time with him I realized one day that it wasn’t like that anymore, I was aware of him as a person with me. In a meeting recently there were empty chairs to my left and at one point in the meeting I suddenly realized that I’d been laughing and talking to Jesus in the chair beside me and that the people behind me were probably thinking I’d lost my mind! After that I felt terribly self-conscious and worked to control my grins and nods and lips moving.
Start working to change your perception of God from up-there to here as a person interacting with you. It doesn’t take away from his holiness and worship-inspiring awe, but he is begging you for more than that, he wants to know you as a Friend and Husband.
In general, when I’m hanging out with Jesus (or Holy Spirit or Daddy-God), making my mind blank doesn’t work. There are times when I’m really tired where I just kind of sit there absorbing his presence but in general, even then, I do better imagining that Jesus and I are doing something. For example, someone told me once that he wanted to experience Jesus closer but it was hard to just sit there blankly waiting. I suggested that the next time, instead of just trying to go blank, imagine taking Jesus to a favorite place and showing it to him, telling him all about it and why it’s his favorite place. The next time I saw him he told me excitedly how he’d taken Jesus to the creek with the dam where he grew up and had shown him around, and he’d had a wonderful time with Jesus. The point of using your imagination is that it’s a springboard into his presence where you interact and relate. If it IS your imagination the whole time it doesn’t matter because Jesus comes with you into your imagination and enjoys time with you. But what you’ll find many times is that Holy Spirit changes it from your imagination to the spiritual realm and you’ll find things happening and things said that you wouldn’t have imagined. Often you don’t’ realize this though until you write the experience down, even if you’re sure you make it all up. (I talk in depth about using your imagination with Jesus and the Biblical foundation for it in my book “The Door With A Handle.”)
Writing down the things you experience with God is so priceless I can’t say enough about doing it. It becomes a wonderful tool, whether it’s looking up dates or remembering the details of a dream or what exactly God said to you that day. By having it written down and dated you can put the puzzle pieces together and see all the ways God has been working in your life and speaking to you and you’ll be amazed at how much God has been directing you. Even if you don’t write in detail at least jot down the date and the important details.
Take a minimum of ten minutes a day and get alone with Jesus, even walking (not driving, you can’t relax and focus). Just go for a walk, or sit on the deck. Then imagine that he’s with you as if he were physically there, where he’d be sitting or standing or walking by you and in your head carry on a conversation. One-sided is fine. Point out the birds, the flowers, tell him something funny. Think of something you’d like to be able to tell a friend and tell him. Tell him where you like to eat and why. What your favorite food is. Treat him as if he were a best friend and just ramble, he loves that. Just get used to him being with you and doing things with you. If you sit down to do bills say, “I hate bills. Did you ever have to fool with bills, or did Judas the treasurer do all the money stuff? Who decided when to spend money, just you? Or did they make suggestions. I suspect from what we know of their personalities they weren’t that intimidated by you. They probably had all kinds of suggestions of where to eat and what to spend money on. Hey, I never thought about it, but did you give money away? Like to needy people, or did you just touch them and their finances change. Hey!! When the ark was at Obed-Edom’s house he was blessed (The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household. 2 Sam 6:11) so now that the ark dwells in us, the temple, we should be blessed! Anyway, …”
So carry on conversations, start getting used to him being involved in the daily talk-to-a-friend kind of things. Stop looking up to the sky and start responding to him beside you. Talk to him while you fold clothes or mow the lawn, not about needs or spiritual stuff but just about friend stuff. That’s the beginning. Get used to him being close and involved and physically there.
Being in love with Jesus isn’t always about swooning in his presence (though that’s wonderful!) or talking about deep spiritual things, it’s being friends. It’s learning about each other and building memories together. And don’t forget to keep asking him to give you a passion for him, he loves answering that request!
I’d love to hear from you, not only what your experiences are but what your journey deeper into Jesus has been. I love hearing what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
This website is my way of connecting us and our experiences with our wonderful Bridegroom, Jesus, and to share what I’ve learned on my journey to intimacy with Him as I fall deeper and deeper in love. I hope it gives you some food for thought and that you’ll feel free to share with me what your journey has been. Tell me what your Jesus-times are like so I can expand my ideas of what is possible in him, through Holy Spirit.