Intimacy with God

Intimacy with God

By: Michael Fuchs

My focus is on relationships. Today I am going to give one aspect of how, we as men can have a better relationship with god.

The key to having a great relationship is intimacy.

Most men think of sex when they think of intimacy.  Most women think of talking when they think of intimacy.

What is intimacy?

Intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. This can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable. Intimacy is a universal human need; without intimacy we have the experience of loneliness.  A lack of intimacy is one of the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns.

You can have great sex with your mate and be worlds apart when come to having an intimate relationship.

How to have Intimacy with God? 

Before we go there, let’s take a moment and think about this.

Can you be intimate with the President of the United States?

Intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires.

Have you ever wanted to call the president and tell him what you thought about him, or about his choices, or how you felt about his representation of your values?  Remember, it takes two for intimacy.  Will he talk to you, be emotionally open with you?  Will he trust you?  Can you trust Him?

Can you be intimate with God?

Can God be intimate with you?

Intimacy can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.

We know that God trusts each and every one of us.  He gave a free will.  God is willing to be vulnerable with us, because He gave a free will to accept Him or Deny Him.

How can we as men be intimate with God?

Let us look at what an example of intimacy, in real life is.  I am going to use my wife and her twin sister in this example.  They are identical twins, (Sherry says that are mirror twins).

  • They look alike
  • They talk alike
  • They think and reason the same way
  • They dress alike
  • They shop and buy things that are the same
  • They both work for Francis at Advanced Church Ministries

I have known these two girls for 20 years, and this is how it has been for the past 20 years.  I remember a time when a person was looking for my wife.  It was at a conference here at River of Life Church.  They ask if my wife was here and I told them that she is on her way and will be here shortly.  They ask me, “what does she look like”.  I look over and pointed to Terri who was standing by the book table, and said just like that.  Then I explained that Terri is her twin sister.  How can two people be so much alike?

They live 8 hours apart, (Sherry’s twin sister, ‘Terri’, lives in Louisville, KY), but that does not matter.  When Terri came for the In Christ Image Conference, she stayed at our house.  At night when the two of them got home I would ask, “How was the conference?”.  They stood next to each other and when Terri was talking about something, Sherry would finish her sentence. Then Sherry would continue on and Terri would finish her sentence.  This went for 20 minutes.  It was amazing.

I thought, how can this well rehearsed routine, be performed so perfectly without days of practice?  Then I realized, these two girls have had a life time of practice.

I realized, this is what they have done their entire life.

  • They lived together
  • Talked with each other, daily
  • Shared ideas and thoughts
  • Learned from each other
  • They were guided by each other
  • They were corrected by each other
  • They experienced things with each other
  • They love each other
  • They trust each other
  • They have taken the risk of being vulnerable with each other

Intimacy is a universal human need; without it we have the experience of loneliness. A lack of intimacy is one of the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns.

Men we need to learn how to be intimate.  Most of all; we need to learn how to be intimate with God.

Intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires.

The two people in this case are; you and God.  How in this world are we supposed to know the feelings, thoughts and desires of God?

We can do this through the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said:

  • I only do the Father’s will,
  • (John 14:9) he who has seen Me has seen the Father;
  • (Colossians 1:15) We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen.”
  • (John 8:58) “Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”

 

Jesus has modeled intimacy with God.  We need to model this type of intimacy; with God, Jesus and with each other.

Jesus has done His part to achieve Emotional Closeness with us. He knows our true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires.  Here is where we need to learn to do our part and get to know as much about His feelings, thoughts, and desires, as humanly possible.

We do this by:

  • reading the Bible
  • listening to sermons
  • fellowship with other believers
  • through prayer, humility and unity

Listening to Bible Messages is important, but you need to make sure they line-up with the Word of God.  You need to understand what the Word of God says in order to do this. This is done by reading the Word of God, sharing it with other and learning from each other according to their understanding.

Fellowship with other believers is very important.  In our life we need to be a Timothy and be mentored by a mature man of God (story about Paul Johnstone)

We also need to take on the role of a Paul and invest in mentoring a fellow believer. We need to have an understanding God’s feelings, thoughts and desires.  We need to learn to trust Him when His Spirit urges us to step out and say something, or do something. (Josh)

This provides better communication with God.

John 21:15-17 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

This principle is so important Jesus said it to Peter three times.

What Jesus is saying to me is:

“do you love Me? … meet with Josh, Bryce, Phil, JD and Tim”.

“do you love me? … be emotionally open with one another, and reveal your true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires”.

“do you love me? … genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable”.

We as men need to be a Barnabas and encourage one another to continue to grow in Christ.  We need to do this in our words, and with our actions, but also in our re-actions.

The song says, “Be still and know that I Am God”.

We as men need to: listen more, speak less, and lead by example.  We have two ears and only one mouth, maybe we need to listen twice as much as we talk.  Leading by example: Who hear has children?  Your children will hear your actions loud and clear, more than they will your words.  My words will mean nothing, if I say one thing and my actions do not line-up with my words.  I would be a fake, or a phony.  I will have an impact when my actions echo my words.

How do I learn to do my part and know His, (Jesus Christ) feelings, thoughts, and desires.

I need to become a twin of Jesus Christ. (In Christ Image – Christlikeness)

  • I need to talk like Jesus
  • I need to think like Jesus
  • I need to look like Jesus

The bible tells me that is what I was created to do.

Gen 5:1 “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God”

I should look like Jesus, because God’s Word tells me that I am to look like Him.  I need to listen to Him and do His will in everything.  It may take me a life time to get it right, but “today is a good day to start”.

I need to do this through prayer.

  • Prayer is no more than communicating with God.
  • To communicate it takes at least two people; one to talk and one to listen.

During my prayers I have learned to listen to what God is telling me, which is far more important than what I want to tell God.  I have to practice “being still and knowing God” rather than asking, asking, asking and then complaining that God is not listening, or that He hasn’t answered my prayer.  I need to listen to what God is saying. The times I have truly heard from God, he gave the answer to the situation, instead of the answering to my perspective, or the question of my limited understanding.

When I first started digging into God’s Word to find what I had to do to be a better husband to Sherry, God revealed to me that, it is what I needed to become, not what I needed to do.

Here is where I can learn from Jesus: by Practicing the Presence of God

Practicing the Presence of God is book.  The book includes letters, as well as records of conversations by Brother Lawrence’s. The basic theme of the book is the development of an awareness of the presence of God.

By studying this book, and meeting with other believers, I have learned how to have better intimacy with God.  This is what I strive to do:

  • To talk and listen to Jesus
  • To receive ideas and thoughts from Him
  • To be guided and directed by Him
  • To be corrected by Him, (sometimes he uses other people to correct me)
  • To love Jesus by doing His will, and by living a God honoring life for Him
  • To trust Him, even when it is uncomfortable
  • To have taken the risk of being vulnerable with Him and for Him when I meet with others.

Here the caution!  It is not how we learn to act.  It is not acting like a Christian.

  • Stand tall keeping your back straight as a child of God
  • Shoulders back and chest out full of the authority of God
  • Head slightly bowed being filled with the humility of God
  • Hand raised in praise and worship for God
  • Walking boldly down the path of righteousness of God

It is not how we learn to act.  It is what we become … Christ like images of Jesus.  How long does this take?  A life time, but it is worth it.

  • I will strive to do my heavenly father’s will.
  • I will strive to become a reflection of Jesus.
  • I will strive to communicate, (talk and listen), to Him throughout the day.

I realize that this will take a life time to cultivate, but today is good day to be like Jesus.  Today is a good day to have better communication with God.

When I was growing up my parents taught me to be polite.  They taught me that what I did and what I said was a reflection on our family and a reflection on them as parents.  So when I would answer adults I would say, “Yes sir” or “No sir’.  I would say “Please”.  I wanted to be a good reflection to others, for my parent’s sake.  This was communicated back to my parents.  It was not an act, this is what I purposed myself to be.

What I have become is a reflection on our my heavenly Father,  And I will strive to honor Him.  But I need the help of my brothers in Christ to achieve this.

We can communicate with Jesus by doing His will through our relationship and interactions with others.  The more I follow the footsteps of Jesus the better understanding, and the better I am able to here His ‘still small voice’.  We can also learn from His written word.

Ephesians 4:5 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children … walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

How do we walk in Love?

Look at 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails

Replace the word ‘love’ with the name of Jesus.  Jesus is love, so if I can have more love based God word, in our words, actions and re-actions: I will be more Christ like.

4 Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind and is not jealous; Jesus does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 Jesus does not act unbecomingly; Jesus does not seek His own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 Jesus does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 Jesus bears all things, Jesus believes all things, Jesus hopes all things, Jesus endures all things. 8 Jesus never fails

Here we see 15 things to do and not to do in to emulate the love of Jesus Christ.  It has become much easier for me to just do what Jesus has done.  Jesus has come to save the world not to condemn.

Jesus is Love:  Love is Jesus:  Jesus is Grace and Mercy:  Grace and Mercy is Love

4 grace and mercy is patient, grace and mercy is kind and is not jealous; grace and mercy does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 grace and mercy does not act unbecomingly; grace and mercy does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 grace and mercy does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 grace and mercy bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, grace and mercy endures all things. 8 grace and mercy never fails

Jesus – Love – Grace and Mercy

I am learning to do what Jesus did for us on the cross. He poured out His Unconditional Love of grace and mercy.

By having grace and mercy in everything I do, and say, in my actions and re-action with others: I will become more Christ like.

By having more grace and mercy in my interactions with others, they will have the freedom to genuinely trust, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.

By having more grace and mercy in my interactions with others I will be able to be emotionally open with another’s, and reveal my true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires, because through grace and mercy I will be able to develop an un-offered able spirit.

By having more grace and mercy in my interactions with others I can fulfill the universal human need of intimacy; without it I will only have loneliness.

Imagine if two people gave each other this type of grace and mercy.  What freedom they would have to be themselves, to correct in love, to cultivate an unoffending spirit.

Imagine if three or four would gather together with this type of grace and mercy.

Imagine being on the receiving side of this grace and mercy coming from your friend, your family, your neighbors and your community.

We need to break old habits and stop doing what we want to do, but ask Jesus, “what do you want me to do?” (I only do the Father’s will).

According to the bible, we as men need to submit one to another.

Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”

What does this mean to submit?  Submission is placing a priority on the needs, desires, and dreams of someone else. Their deal is more important than your deal.

It does not say out of reverence for someone else, but rather out of reverence for Christ. Give each other grace and mercy. Not because that person deserves it, but because of your relationship with Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 5:5-7 

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.  All of you clothe yourself with humility towards one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s might hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 

“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.“  this is the Timothy learning from the Paul.  Mentoring one another, helping each other grow in Christ.

“All of you clothe yourself with humility towards one another,” here He is talking to all us. Clothe yourself in humility: put on the armor of God, direct and support one another with grace and mercy.  Their deal is more important than your deal.

Why clothe ourselves in humility!  “because God opposes the proud”.  He does not just sit back and watch you succeed on your own.  He comes against your prideful ways.  He becomes an opposition That you will need to deal with.

“but gives grace to the humble.” This is not saving Grace, this is the type of grace where He gives you what you need, at the time you need it.  You see when you humble yourself and ‘Do the Father’s will’, God is right there leading the way.  He does push into the situation, He lead you into the situation.  He says, “come and follow Me”.

”Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s might hand, that He may lift you up”.  Humble yourself because of your relationship with God, and he will bless you.  What does this look like? I don’t know.  It may be different for each of you.

”in due time.”  Sometimes due time is a long time.  It could be days, or it could be years.  Here is where we need to call on those Godly men that we meeting with.  The ones you have been able to emotionally be open with, one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires.  The ones of you have been able to genuinely be trusting with, one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.  Here is where we draw strength to do the fathers will. In due time, but mean while, we need to endure and pursue His will in our life.

I cannot do this alone.  I need Godly men to come along side me and help me stay intimate with God.  Because, A lack of intimacy is one of the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns.  I desire my relationship with God to continually grow, not break down.

By applying this to our daily lives, we will learn to listen to God, do His will in our life.  We need to come along side one another and grow in Christ.  Then we will be able to develop better communication with Him, we will develop intimacy with God.

“They will know you are my disciples by your love for one, another”

‘Whatever you do to the least of these that you do unto me.’  That is what the parable about the ‘Good Samaritan’ is all about.

John 15:12  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Ephesians 3:19  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

1 John 4:12  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. This can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable. Intimacy is a universal human need; without it we have the experience of loneliness. A lack of intimacy is one of the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns.

We need to continue to practice intimacy with other men of God.  We need to practice the presence of God, throughout the day. By developing intimacy with others we will become intimate with God.  In becoming intimate with God we will be in better communication with God.

We as men need to:

To Listen More, speak less and lead by example

We need other Godly men to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires.

We need able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.

We need to humble ourselves under the hand of God and learn to be intimate, learn to be like Christ.  Today is a good day to start.

Tips for developing intimacy

  1. Practice Intimacy: Recognize that intimacy is a skill that takes practice. It is not always easy. It’s OK to be apprehensive about it, but don’t let that stop you trying.
  2. Lead by Example: Recognize that achieving intimacy involves an emotional risk. If you open up to one another, there is always the risk of being hurt if the other person does not react in an accepting way. Trusting other’s with your feelings, however, will often lead to them opening up to you as well. If you always wait for the other to open up first, you may never achieve intimacy.
  3. God Honoring Actions and Re-Actions: The other person does not have to accept your thoughts and emotions.  Don’t worry, the relationship will often be better off because of your honesty. Learning to manage the uncomfortable feelings you have when someone does not agree with you, without resorting to attacking or withdrawing, is an important skill.
  4. Take the Risk: You can ‘work’ on your intimacy whether you have a partner who wishes to or not. It is never too late to begin. When emotional distance has become a habit, relationship breakdown is increasingly likely. The risk to the relationship of not opening up is far greater than the risk of being honest.
  5. Breaking Old Traditions: Challenge your limiting beliefs about masculinity such as ‘Men are always in control’ or ‘Boys don’t cry’ or ‘Men don’t show emotions’.
  6. Look for Help: Seek out an individual or a group of 4 men to help with develop intimacy.  It is not always what you can get from the group, but also what you are able to give to the group.  Remember; ‘Today is a good day to start’.

 

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