The language of distance …
One of the most repeated statements from Christians today is that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.
Then why the pervasive use of the language of distance?
It’s very common to hear preachers, teachers, and others talk about “encountering God” or “experiencing God,” almost as if you have to hunt for, search down, and nearly sneak up on God in some remote place to interact with Him!
When describing some of the most intimate human relationships you have, you probably don’t speak that way. You probably don’t talk about “encountering” your spouse or your children, “experiencing” your friend or your neighbor; but we use these terms routinely when describing interacting with God …
… the very One who is with us ALWAYS …
… the very One we are directed in scripture to love foremost …
… the very One who sustains our very existence …
… yet, we talk about “encountering” or “experiencing” Him?
Isn’t our relationship with God supposed to be even more intimate than our relationship with our spouses, our children, our family members, our friends, or anyone else?
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment,” Matthew 22:37-38.
An “encounter” or “experience” is something that isn’t common, that isn’t ordinary, something that is unusual. Yet, God desires a communion with us that is so intimate it is “common” to talk with Him, walk with Him, to interact with Him.
When we talk about “encountering” or “experiencing” God, we conjure up pictures of Moses stumbling upon a burning bush and having a unique “encounter” with God. That was then, but this is now. And now is a period of New Covenant, where the Holy Spirit lives in disciples and those who truly know Christ have Christ in them.
To continually speak of God in a distant voice often has a root reason: the person is distant from God, not experiencing the intimate, ongoing communion God wants to have with us.
What is your relationship with God like: an unusual, occasional encounter, or an intimate relationship?