Our hearts belong to you Father,
For you created us for yourself,
Lord, convict and forgive us
When we give it to something else
What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘intimacy’?
Love? Relationship? Safety? Belonging?
I recall a time when I encountered the tender-heart of God; a heart that longs for intimacy with His people.
I was sitting on a bench overlooking the canal in Canary Wharf. I had just moved to London, and had never felt so surrounded by humans, yet utterly alone.
I was far from home, far from the familiar, far from my family, far from my church, and truthfully, I felt far from my Heavenly father.
I wanted to hold it all together – to by-pass the empty feeling growing in my chest, to distract myself with the responsibilities I had in front of me and face the music later.
But all the while my heart was aching.
The lyrics washed over my soul like a soothing balm. One line, more so than others: “He is jealous for me”.
In all the years I had listened to that song, I had never stopped to wonder what that actually meant.
God – the owner and creator of all things – jealous? Isn’t everything his? Isn’t that a sin?
I opened the Bible app, and looked up Exodus 34. “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (v 14).
The Holy Spirit filled my empty bench, and the Lord spoke loud and clear.
“I want your heart back where it belongs”
I had never been so overcome with the beauty of God’s jealousy. I was so preoccupied with this new season, that I had started to idolise the stuff, and left God on the sidelines. Underneath all the anxiety, was a heart craving intimacy with Him. Intimacy that my heart was made for, and intimacy that his heart was longing for.
Jealousy in God is that passionate energy by which he is provoked and stirred and moved to take action against whatever or whoever stands in the way of his enjoyment of what He loves and desires. God’s jealousy in the Old Testament is met with His rightful wrath. The intensity of God’s anger at threats to this relationship, is directly proportionate to the depths of his love.
Our God is not a scary God. Underlining His wrath, is a heart that is bursting with love. A love that yearns to see wandering hearts return to Him, to a relationship of intimacy with Him, and a home we belong to.
The conviction I experienced wasn’t one of unrighteous anger that causes us to fear and strive to pull up our socks, it was a tender call home, to stop running from him, and wake up to the jaw-dropping reality of His love.
St Augustine said, “Our hearts were made for you, O God, and they will not find rest until they rest in you”.
The word that now comes to mind when I think of ‘intimacy’ is belonging. God has created our hearts to be in close relationship with Him – that’s where we belong. When we ignore that, and put other ill-fitting things on the throne of our hearts, we become restless, and God is rightfully jealous.
His heart’s desire is to have you for Himself. It’s the reason He creat
Once we grasp that, it changes everything – from the fear of man, to the earthly anxieties we so often become consumed in.
But it isn’t just Himself that God wants us to cultivate intimacy with.
It is in Jesus that the beauty of God is revealed, and as a community we commit to a journey of getting to know him to the depths of his heart as we ourselves are letting Him know and unveil our own hearts.
Aware of the brokenness of all human relations, we recognise the true need of a relational redemption with one another too.
We want to imitate how Jesus modelled living in intimacy with others.
From the quality time He spends with His people dining, reclining, and listening at the table, to the washing of His disciples feet, Jesus consistently puts the needs of others before His own.
This will involve radical vulnerability, courage, and whole-hearted accountability in our relationships with one another.
Jesus was not afraid to let others in. He wept with the mourning (John 11:13), went out of his way for the marginalised (John 4:4), called out the waywardness that was causing harm (Mark 7:1-23), encouraged others’ faith despite the cost of unpopularity (Luke 7:9). Jesus never put up walls, barriers, or attempted to protect His ‘good’ reputation in the eyes of society. His heart was, and is, always seeking the best for others, even at cost to Himself.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13.
It is from His life’s invitation to renewed relationships that we desire to shape our lives. As we seek Him, we are allowing his desires for intimacy with the Father and with others to shape our desires. We believe that this call to intimacy is developed in prayer and realised in community. As we choose to abide in and experience His love on a daily basis, we believe this love will ultimately overflow into those around us.
It is not God’s design for us to feel far from Him, or from others. He yearns for our hearts to draw close to Him, and grow in intimacy with one another. This is where we belong.