INCREASED INTIMACY WITH GOD
One of our prayers for this year is that each one of us increases our intimacy with God. Interestingly, I have discovered over the years that there are some who really do not know if they really desire to increase their intimacy with God. Many times this is because they honestly do not know what it means to increase their intimacy with God.
I have often seen this same scenario occur in engagement and in marriage relationships. One person is ready to increase the intimacy and move the relationship to the next level and the other person is reluctant to do so. Usually, the reluctance is because the person who is not ready to increase the intimacy of the relationship is considering what they will lose if they do so. They typically imagine that they will lose freedom, individuality, enjoyment and other similar things. The other person, however, is imagining what they will gain as intimacy increases. They imagine a deeper friendship, stronger commitment, shared joys, added laughter and other similar things. The point is, they anticipate what they will gain over what they will lose.
I believe that we sometimes process increased intimacy of our relationship with God as we do our relationships with others – that is, while some are anticipating what they will gain, others are anticipating what they will lose.
Here are two points to consider as we pray and expect to increase our intimacy with God: First, when we increase our intimacy with God, there is always and only gain. Think about it, when our intimacy with God is increased, our access to God is also increased. That means we have greater access to His love, His grace, His mercy, His presence, His peace, His power, and I could go on and on. All of the blessings and benefits of our relationship with God increases. Again, there is always and only gain.
Second, when we increase our intimacy with God, the things that we lose, we ultimately desire to lose anyway. The closer we get to God, the more that we realize we do not want the things that we had before that were defined by and satisfied the flesh. The things that were good to us, but were not good for us. The things that made us feel good for the moment, but caused conviction, guilt and remorse after we did them.
Even more, we realize that whatever we lost when we increased our intimacy with God, God replaced with something better. We realize that we did not know love until we experienced the love of God that was not conditional to what we did or said. We realize that we did not know joy until we experienced God’s joy when there was nothing happy happening. We realize that we did not know peace until God’s peace overwhelmed us in the midst of a chaotic situation. Again, the things that we lose, we ultimately desire to lose anyway.