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Experiencing Intimacy with God

Experiencing the Intimacy of God

Only Adam and Eve experienced intimacy with God to the extent that God intended, walking and talking with Him in the beautiful garden He created for their enjoyment. But because of their disobedience and the resulting Fall of humankind, no one since the Garden of Eden has enjoyed such fellowship. We are incomplete, imperfect, and impatiently craving that which our souls simply cannot find apart from an intimate relationship with our loving God.

As the bride of Christ, we eagerly await His return so that our relationship may be perfected once again. We clamor to experience the fullness of God — to hold His hand… sit in His lap… gaze into His loving eyes… feel His warm embrace envelop us… hear His laughter and sense His good pleasure in us. While we will only experience such intimacies and ecstasies with God on the other side of heaven, we can still experience great joy in our relationship with Him on this side of heaven.

Relating to God so intimately is not a new phenomenon or strictly a charismatic movement. Actually, Judaism is full of wedding and consummation imagery. Each Friday night, Shabbat [the Sabbath] is welcomed in as a beautiful bride. The relationship between God and the Jewish people has long been described as that of lovers consummating their pledge to each other.[i] They pursue what was intended from the beginning. They attempt to perfect their love relationship with the Lord. They express their commitment to the utmost degree. They are His people, and He is their God, and they bask wholeheartedly in one another’s attentions and affections.

If you are like me, you crave this kind of relationship with your heavenly Bridegroom as well. But we must remember the principle mentioned earlier–all love affairs are carried on in private.To experience such depth, we must get alone with God, tune out all distractions, and focus on hearing His voice. This can be a challenge in our fast-paced, hurry-up, gotta-run world. Most of us feel we don’t have time to look up, let alone sit still. However, it is true that: “Power flows out of stillness, strength out of solitude. Decisions that change the course of lives come out of these quiet times.”[ii]


[i] Rabbi Ted Falcon. Ph.D. and David Blatner,
Judaism for Dummies (New York, NY: Hungry Minds, Inc, 2001), 103.
[ii] Bill Hybels, Honest To God? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 25.

 

CH - COVERExcerpted from Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2007.  All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.

Finding the Love You Want

Finding the Love You WantWhile avoiding unhealthy emotional connections and relationships is important, it’s not enough to guarantee success in keeping our hearts guarded against compromise. The secret to ultimate emotional satisfaction is to pursue a mad, passionate love relationship with the One who made our hearts, the One who purifies our hearts, and the One who strengthens our hearts against worldly temptations. The secret is to focus your heart on your First Love.

Do you remember the first time you felt you were in love? How he dominated your thoughts morning, noon, and night? How you could be available at a moment’s notice if you knew he was coming by? Remember how you would drop anything and everything when the phone rang, desperately hoping to hear his voice on the line? The potential of this relationship’s going somewhere consumed your world. No matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t get him off your mind, right? (Not that any of us tried all that hard!)

God longs for you to be that consumed with Him. Not that you can stay on a mountaintop like the one just described every day of your life (all love relationships go through peaks and valleys), but He desires to be your first love. He wants your thoughts to turn to Him throughout the good and the bad days. He wants you to watch for Him expectantly, so that you sense Him beckoning you into His presence. He aches for you to call out to Him and listen for His loving reply. Although He wants you to invest in healthy relationships with others, He wants you to be most concerned about your relationship with Him.

Maybe you are thinking, Oh, I’ve been hearing that all my life! The answer to all my problems is “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” I know Jesus but I’ve never felt complete satisfaction with Him, either! If that’s the case, I can understand why you might challenge what I’m saying.

But I know from experience that what I say is true, and so do many women I know. And I can’t help but wonder if you have really invested yourself wholeheartedly and passionately pursuing a satisfying relationship with God at all times. I encourage you to honestly answer the following questions:

  • Have I really invested much time getting to know God personally and intimately?
  • Do I read the Bible searching for clues as to God’s character and plan for my life?
  • Have I given God as many chances as I have given other men? Fantasy? Internet chat rooms?
  • Have I ever made the choice to pray or to dance to worship music or to go for a walk with God instead of picking up the phone to call a guy when I’m lonely?
  • Are there moments spent alone (masturbating, fantasizing, reading or looking at inappropriate materials, and so on) that I ignore God’s presence in an attempt to satisfy myself?
  • Do I believe that God can satisfy every single need I have?
  • Am I willing to test this belief by letting go of all the things, people, and thoughts that I use to medicate my pain, fear, or loneliness, and becoming totally dependent upon God?

God longs for you to test Him and try Him on this. He wants to dwell in every part of your heart, not just rent a room there. He wants to fill your heart to overflowing.

Don’t let guilt from past mistakes keep you from seeking this truly satisfying first-love relationship with Him. God does not despise you for the way you’ve tried to fill the void in your heart.

He says, “Come now, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). God is eager to cleanse your heart and teach you how to guard it from future pain and loneliness.

EMB Series 2:Layout 1Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.