My “Imaginary Friend”

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Wouldn’t it be amazing if Jesus, in the flesh Jesus, could be with us here on earth, like He was with others over 2000 years ago? Oh to see Him perform miracles, or to be able to sit at his feet and just soak in his presence and learn from God himself!
What if I could just press through the crowds, like the woman who’d been bleeding for years, and touch his garment and receive the healing that I need?

Especially as I’ve passed through times of loneliness or seasons of great need, I’ve struggled with Jesus’ words to us in John 16:

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

I guess you could say I’d never really believed this verse. How could it be better for Jesus to go away so we can have the Holy Spirit instead? As a friend of mine put it, it’s not as if Jesus himself was standing right there beside us … But wait a minute, yes it is!

Too often I think we treat the Holy Spirit more like an “it” than a legitimate person of the Trinity. We say the same rote prayers over and over, usually at mealtimes or right before going to bed. We then get upset when we don’t “hear” anything from God. It’s not as if we aren’t trying, or even that we don’t expect him to speak. But He longs to be an intimate friend and lover, just as much or more as we long for that type of relationship. Instead we seek for those longings to be filled by flawed human beings, and relegate our conversation with him to the type of prayers we’ve all been raised to say: Thank you for this food, bless it to our bodies, please protect us on our trip, etc.

Because the Holy Spirit lives inside us, he has the ability to know us intimately, if we will let him. We have access to him at all times, but my question is, how can we expect him to speak to us or for us to know when he is speaking, if we don’t treat him like a real person and take the time to get to know him? If we treated our best friends the way we treat the Holy Spirit, could we really be best friends and know everything about each other?

┬áMy REAL “Imaginary” Friend

When I’m trying to understand a concept, visuals help me a lot. Have you ever seen a child interacting with her imaginary friend? A child will talk to her imaginary friend just as if her friend was real. You can’t convince her that her friend doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t matter that no one else can see her friend. Maybe it’s time we start treating our relationship with the Holy Spirit that way. I have found it helps me to visualize this friend next to me, and then to start speaking out loud what is on my heart. I stop “feeling lonely” when I start focusing on the Truth. You see, if Jesus were right here in front of us (I mean, where we could see him with our physical eyes), I believe we’d treat him a lot differently than we do the Holy Spirit. And when we begin to treat him as we should, exercising our faith, He becomes more real to us. Then we will experience the intimate relationship that we desire and were made to enjoy.

Let me tell you, getting to know the Holy Spirit is the most fulfilling pursuit I’ve ever had. The closer I get to Him, the more I experience glimpses of the “more abundant life” that Jesus spoke of. I’m finding that I truly have everything I need in Him, no matter what life looks like around me. I pray that you too, will be able to say, “the longer I serve him, the sweeter he grows”!

(Reading for this post: John 14-17)

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