I’ll never forget one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. It happened when I was visiting Bangladesh and was introduced to a small group of Muslim elders in a particular village. I fit in well at first (they all had white beards much like mine). But one of the things that was deeply uncomfortable—as well as embarrassing—for me was in how they greeted one another.
Here’s what happened: One of the elders walked up to me and stood very close. In fact, the end of his nose was about three inches from mine. Being British, that’s a challenge from the very start for me! But it was just the beginning.
Next, the elder put his hands on my shoulders, and I was instructed by our guide to do the same. Then he stood there, staring deeply into my eyes for what seemed like forever (although it was probably just 30 seconds or so). After that, we both leaned forward and kissed each other on the cheek before leaning back, making eye contact again, and then kissing cheeks another time!
What made that situation terribly awkward for me was my discomfort with that level of intimacy. You see, because of my culture, I’m conditioned to accept a certain level of intimacy with people I’m just meeting. So when that “acceptable” level of intimacy was breached, I became uncomfortable.
Some people do that with God, don’t they? They draw an imaginary circle around themselves and say, “God, I’m comfortable with You operating outside of these parameters. But this is my space and You’re not invited in!” Many people are afraid that if they grow deeper with God, He’ll discover something He doesn’t like. But the truth is, He already knows our faults! As King David put it in Psalm 139:
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
When we’re intimate with God, we’re simply giving Him territory that’s already His. And He searches us, sees our faults and shortcomings, and loves us anyway because of who we are in Christ.
Don’t be afraid to let God into any and all areas of your life. Let His light shine in the dark corners you’re tempted to keep hidden. Let Him search you and show you where He wants to bring about change in your life. Invite God in … and you’ll experience real Life as you grow deeper with Him.