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Intimacy with the Spirit

In true Olivia fashion, I am staying up late to finish an article I’ve BEEN KNOWN was due. It’s been in the back of my mind..familiarity and intimacy rolling around in my mind here and there. I’ve read the wisdom of my sisters here thus far this month and gleaned great insight from them on this topic. I just didn’t really seem to have a direction in mind yet..


I didn’t know what I would be lead to write on as it pertains to familiarity/intimacy and I maybe could’ve guessed it would come as I swept the floor of my kitchen (literally sweep my floors all day long and mostly love it because I hear the Lord so clearly during this monotonous chore) but I’ve gotta say that the Scripture that popped into my mind while sweeping the other afternoon seemed a bit out there. 


I mean, imagine just going about your business, cleaning up your kitchen for about the 73rd time that day, and all of a sudden you think to yourself: “..holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5)


Okay...?? 


Well, the good news is: that certainly didn’t come from me. The bad news? I’m procrastinating, praying: Lord, how can I possibly tackle this scripture well?! 


More good news, though: I think the ‘How’ here is the key. 


So this somewhat stunning description in 2 Timothy 3 sums up a rather long line of characteristics of people that will be plentiful in the hard times to come: 


Lovers of self 


Lovers of money


Boastful


Proud


Demeaning 


Disobedient to parents


Ungrateful


Unholy


Unloving 


Irreconcilable 


Slanderers 


Without self-control 


Brutal 


Without love for what is good


Traitors 


Reckless 


Conceited


Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God


These traits all seem to be quite antithetical to those of the fruit of the Spirit and in fact seem to resemble the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21. 


And look at this parallel between the two passages here: 


“The works of the flesh are obvious..” Gal 5:19a


“..their foolishness will be clear to all..” 2 Tim 3:9


And all of these descriptors in 2 Timothy 3 are wrapped up with that kind of haunting characteristic: “holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.” 

So- in order to avoid this and to avoid “resisting the truth”, being “corrupt in mind and worthless in regard to the faith” 2 Tim 3:8b (btw-ouch!) is it that we must remain in intimacy with the Holy Spirit? 


There’s this book written by Michael Reeves that I cannot recommend enough, titled Delighting in the Trinity. I kind of wish I could copy/paste the whole chapter on the Holy Spirit and call it a day here because this man’s writing is so intellectual and yet dripping with an awe-inspiring beauty- but I will restrain myself and instead begin with this excerpt: 


“What we love and enjoy is foundationally important. It is far more significant than our outward behavior, for it is our desires that drive our behavior. We do what we want. The Father, Son and Spirit love and enjoy each other and, created in their image, we were made to love and enjoy them. Blindly and foolishly, though, we have all turned to love and enjoy other things- things that in reality are completely unable to satisfy. But the Spirit’s first work is to set our desires in order, to open our eyes and give us the Father’s own relish for the Son, and the Son’s own enjoyment of the Father.” 


Okay, okay, one more:


“The Spirit of the Father and the Son would never be interested in merely empowering us to “do good”. His desire (which is the desire of the Father and the Son) is to bring us to such a hearty enjoyment of God through Christ that we delight to know him, that we delight in all his ways, and that therefore we want to do as he wants and we hate the thought of ever grieving him.” 


Okay, so just now I realized I missed a word in that last quotation and assumed I meant to type that the Spirit’s desire is to bring us to a hearty knowledge of God through Christ. But nope, it was enjoyment. Enjoyment! 


The Spirit enables us to enjoy God through Jesus and He enables us to delight in the Lord! To delight in the Lord, to truly desire Him above all and to delight in following Him, obeying Him, in order that we may please Him and not grieve Him. 

And so if we are enjoying intimacy with the Holy Spirit, who is actually enabling us to share the enjoyment the Father has in the Son and the delight the Son has in the Father, wouldn’t it remain that we will end up looking nothing like that long list above from 2 Timothy 3


Wouldn’t it mean that we walk less and less in the flesh and we bear more and more fruit of the Spirit? 


And wouldn’t all of that mean that, remaining in that gift of intimacy with the Holy Spirit, there is no way we would end up having a mere appearance of godliness?! Because we wouldn’t actually be denying the power of the Spirit that produces true godliness but instead walking in it?! 


A couple of weeks ago, I was wiping down the kitchen table (I’m telling you, I am very exciting!) and, okay, honestly, I was doing my best to make the paper towels in my hand go the distance. And so I’m wiping, scrubbing and folding those towels and I suddenly thought, “Do I actually care if this table is clean or am I just aiming to make it look that way?” 


In other words, what is my desire here? 


Completely unlikely- but if this table were to be examined closely, swabbed maybe, would it be found clean or would there be a bunch of junk beyond what the eye can see?  


And so- what about us?! I mean, “Who perceives his unintentional sins?” 


But by the Spirit, we can pray the next part of that psalm, “Cleanse me from my hidden faults.” Psalm 19:12 


And Psalm 19:13: “Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me. Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion.” (Emphasis added) 


The Spirit transforms. He cleanses. He beautifies. He gives us new life and new hearts. 


Today...right here, right now, we can ask Him for a deeper intimacy with Him, with eyes to see Him and ears to hear Him. 


We can invite Him in to search our hearts and to create in us clean hearts. 


We can ask Him to transform our desires and to soften our hearts. 


We can ask Him for the ability to walk in obedience, to delight in obedience, even. To please the Lord and to yield to His Holy Spirit immediately and always. 


And we can rejoice because He is the only One who can truly transform us, with a work that goes deeper than any outward ‘cleanness’ ever could. 


“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 


Thank You, Holy Spirit. May we walk intimately with You all the days of our lives. 




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