How many people do you have in your life, with whom you are comfortable, to allow close enough to touch you face to face? You know, forehead to forehead and nose to nose, while looking each other in the eyes.
For most people that place is reserved for their husband or wife. Only the people with whom we share the deepest intimacy are allowed into that space. Even then, for some, being face to face like this is still too uncomfortable to allow.
They say that everyone has a personal space surrounding them, and that this is a space of about eighteen inches or so. When that space is breached by another person, we feel anxious and uncomfortable and usually move until our comfort zone is restored.
Most of us have people in our lives who we allow into our comfort zone enough to touch, hug, and make eye contact with, but still, with most of them, we would not feel comfortable enough to allow them to be face to face with us.
How would you feel if I said that God desires a relationship with you with this depth of intimacy?
Most people have a hard time seeing God in this way. Our sin and guilt make us feel that God barely tolerates us, much less want to be that close to us. But God not only wants, He LONGS, for this kind of relationship with YOU!
God tips His hat to this desire with two key figures in the Bible. Moses and Jesus. First is Moses. In this first verse God says this about Moses.
"I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?"" Numbers 12:8 NLT
Moses, as the deliverer of the Children of Israel, is a type, an image of Christ. He is Like Christ the savior and deliverer of all mankind.
“This Life-Giver was made visible and we have seen him. We testify to this truth: the eternal Life-Giver lived face-to-face with the Father and has now dawned upon us.” 1 John 1:2 TPT
The subject, in 1 John chapter one, is Jesus. He is the "Life-Giver" referred to in this passage in the Passion Translation.
There is something central to God's plan for us. It's that we become like His Son, Jesus. But how?
"For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." Romans 8:29 NLT
God wants a Big Family with Jesus as the first born big brother and all we who believe, as His sons and daughters along with Christ.
God, the Father, wants us to become like Jesus, His only begotten Son, in every way.
But the first and foremost way the Father wants us to be Like Jesus is in our relationship to Him. Face to face, deep intimacy.
Again, in the Gospel of John chapter 10, we see just how intimate, how close, the Son and the Father are.
"I and my Father are one." John 10:30 KJV
The Father and the Son are two individual beings with separate and distinct personalities, but the Son's relationship to the Father is so close that they are as one.
When addressing His own disciples wavering faith Jesus said that to see Him is to see the Father.
"Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?" John 14:9 NLT -
This is the Father's goal for us. That we grow in such intimacy with His Son that when the world sees us they are in fact seeing Jesus, His Son.
It's only three verses later when Jesus says that all who believe in Him will do the same powerful works that He did.
This verse has plagued most Theologians and Christians. They don't know what to do with because we so seldom see believers living it out in this world, so we form doctrines that explain away this simple command of the Lord.
The reason we do not see more believers really looking like Jesus is because the "Face to Face Place" is not developed in their lives. It is only in this Face to Face Place that this kind of intimacy is developed.
The "Face to Face Place" requires a level of commitment that few of us are willing to give.
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 KJV
God says that complete sacrificial seeking, not half-hearted, Sunday only seeking, is what it will take to come into the Face to Face Place.
God's highest priority for us is that we are being transformed into the image of His Son, the evidence of which is the signs Jesus spoke of following our lives.
But these Works don't produce Intimacy, Intimacy produces these Works.
"But these Works don't produce Intimacy, Intimacy produces these Works."
I think Jesus words in Matthew 7:21-23 solidify this as the desire of God's heart. There Jesus says that there will be many in the day of judgment who will stand before Him and declare that they are His disciples. They testify of the works that they performed in His name.
They claimed to lay hands on sick people and they were healed, and to cast out demons, and to preach in Jesus name, things that Jesus did not refute. They did the works, but the works did not come from a place of intimacy with God.
They had gone through the motions of ministry doing what they have read in the Bible and had seen others in ministry do. They did NOT do the things that the Father had whispered in their ears in that place of intimacy, because they did not develop the Face to Face Place.
Remember Jesus said that they were not His disciples because the Father Never Knew them, not because they didn't have a powerful ministry.
"21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:21-23 KJV -
This is really paradigm shattering, and of the utmost importance for all believers to understand.
Let's not get the cart before the horse. Let the works we do come out of a place of Deep Intimacy with the Father, not from a list of ministries offered at the church we attend.
There is only one mediator between man and God, and it is Jesus, not our pastor or ministry team at church. God was grieved when Israel rejected Him and wanted a human king. It still grieves His heart today when we follow men and not Him.
According to Jesus in Matthew 7:21,23, we will be accepted based on whether the Father Knows us from the Face to Face Place, not because we were involved in powerful, even, thriving ministries.
Do we know God? I mean like we know our spouse or best friend?
Do we know His voice like we do theirs? Do we spend time with Him like we do with them? Is He really our first love?
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Revelation 2:4 KJV -
In both Matthew 7 and Revelation 2 we see that knowing, relationship and love are God's goals for us. It's why He created us. It's all that will ever satisfy us.
We can be deeply offended by thoughtless gifts, empty tokens of love that really did not come from the heart or that cost us nothing in terms of time, talent, or treasure. It is actually better to do nothing than a trite, empty token act of love.
Why is this? I believe it is because we are created in God's image and likeness.
Feigned acts of love do not satisfy God, any more than they will ever satisfy us.
Develop the Face to Face Place.