Pillar 1: Intimacy with the Father
What do God's love, water flow, and electricity have in common? They are greater and more powerful the closer you are to the source of them.
The greatest desire our Father in Heaven has for us, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is for us to experience the Father's love and live out of that love.
In John 17, during Jesus' last days before He was arrested and crucified, He prays for Himself, His disciples, and future believers (that’s us). The prayer is known as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” In that prayer for us He prays:
"Just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us… so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they, also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am… I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." - John 17: 21,23,24,26
It is clear from this prayer how much Jesus loves us, wants to be with us, wants us to know His Father’s love and to experience the same intimacy they have with each other. It is out of this love relationship that everything else flows!
So, how do we miss it?
I think the longer we are with Him (as Christians), the less we think we need Him. Familiarity breeds complacency, and the warm fuzzies wear off, and if not intentional, we move further and further away from our experience of our Father's love and affirmation for us. The result is a Christian walk that is driven by obedience, duty and powerlessness…
Water flow decreases with friction, turns, and distance. The flow at the main is always the same. It only weakens when the pipe gets smaller and further away from the source.
When we first become Christians, we are excited and in love, so we stay tight with Jesus, close to the source of our power and love, because we know we need Him.
But, then, over time, we get busy, we take different turns in our life, have kids, get married, have boyfriends and girlfriends, go to college. With these turns, busyness, and distance from our initial experience of His love for us, the pressure drops. We are still connected to Jesus, but the flow of Jesus in us and through us is much weaker, not because He has changed, but because we have stopped pursuing intimacy or relationship with Him.
The same is true with electricity and power cords. Ever try to run a power saw with a bunch of house extension cords tied together? I have… It does not work. Why? Because the further you get away from the source of power, the more resistance the electricity faces, and the voltage drops… to the point where your tools or whatever won’t work. We don't work the way we have been created to work when we move away from regularly spending time with our Heavenly Father.
Our Heavenly Father's desire is that all of life flow from Him and His love for us. It is why He called Jesus "His beloved Son" before His public ministry started. He wanted Jesus' identity to be grounded in His Father's love for Him, not be based on what Jesus did. The same is true for us as His children. If we do not spend time cultivating a loving and intimate friendship with our Father, we will live powerless lives driven by the needs and expectations of others.
"I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." - Jesus