Dan Britton came to my church. He is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Executive Vice President of International Ministry and Training at the National Support Center in Kansas City. He shared how his life and many others had been changed by a concept God had impressed him with. It’s a “one word” concept. Instead of focusing on a list of resolutions to change and attend to in a new year – ask God for one word to focus on. It invites God to show you many different facets of that one word and impacts your life in ways you could not imagine. It is outlined in a book titled One Word That Will Change Your Life - co-authored by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon. A while before this encounter, God had dealt with me about the word “INTIMACY” as it pertained to worship and relationship with Him. But, at that women’s meeting with Dan Britton – God confirmed to my heart that “INTIMACY” was not just “a” word – it was “my” word! Also, I suddenly knew He didn’t just mean it in light of relationship with Him. He meant my people relationships as well.
I have always been one that knew a lot of people – but as far as an intimate friendship – I have only experienced a few. As a point of clarification please allow me to explain my definition of the word "intimacy" for this context. A favorite movie of mine is Shall We Dance? with Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon – a 2004 American remake of the award-winning 1996 Japanese film of the same title, written and directed by Masayuki Suo. These actors are a couple that loves each other, but over the years they have been married – he feels something is missing - from his life. He decides he wants to learn to dance and for whatever reason – he keeps that from her. She notices something has changed and hires a private investigator to see if he is having an affair. After she gets the report from the PI – she says something to him that I think is one of the greatest phrases in movie-dom. In my mind, it is right up there with, “There’s no place like home”.
She asked the PI if he knew what marriage is really about. Then she says, “Marriage is someone saying – I will be a witness to your life. Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will be there to see it.” That so touched my heart - because in my mind – that is intimacy. It transcends anything that is physical – although the world speaks to us that it is the physical. A deeply intimate relationship witnesses and experiences the ups, the downs and in-betweens of someone else’s life and journey. It is a spiritual communion that allows one to know, accept and love the very essence of another person. Many things need no explanation between them, because they lived it together.
I have friends that are very close and I am so thankful. Many times the Holy Spirit has whispered my name to them and they are there for me - just in time. But, of this very special kind of intimacy – I have only experienced glimpses of it on this earth. This last Sunday – in a time of saturated worship – God gave me a deeper insight into the concept of INTIMACY.
Some people think they have intimacy because they have filled the holes and losses of life with people relationships – with a spouse, children or friends. But, at some point that fix will no longer work. People relationships are not strong enough to do that. They were not created to. The only relationship that can carry true intimacy is ours with Father God.
Demanding that kind of intimacy out of a people relationship places expectations on it that cannot be fulfilled. It’s like the old saying I heard at a Singles Conference years ago. The speaker was warning the Singles to be very careful as they choose a mate. He said many times Singles are like a flea looking for a big, juicy dog! Then they are disappointed when they realize the person they have latched onto is not a dog at all – but another flea – that is looking for the same thing! In these relationships they wind up sucking the life out of each other in short order.
God created us for intimacy! With Him above all! After He created the animals, the plants – all of creation – he realized there was no one He could commune with. So, he created MAN! That intimate relationship with Him was established with Adam before God created Eve. He created every person with a place built-in where only intimacy with Him fits. If we search for it somewhere else – we find another flea looking for the same thing. No one will be satisfied for long!
This truth is universal. Whether you are married or single, with children or not, got tons of friends or none – NOTHING can take the place of a deep intimacy with Father God. This intimacy is the curtain rod that all other relationships hang from. If the rod is not securely in place - what hangs on it is not secure either.
It made me begin to search my heart with a few questions. Where am I looking for intimacy? What am I expecting out of my relationships with people?
David – King of Israel – was a man after God’s own heart. He cultivated intimacy with God while alone in the fields – watching the sheep. He faced many enemies in his life that his family knew nothing about. There was no one to witness his life. He was the “different” one of his family – and the runt of all the boys. He had no opportunity to attach his need for intimacy to a person. He loved Jonathan – the son of Saul – like a brother, but Jonathan was killed in a battle along with his father. Father God is the only One that is the same – yesterday, today and forever.
People change and so do their lives. Sometimes they go to be with the Lord. Seasons of relationships come and go. When our lives are yielded to Him –He is not surprised by them, but uses them to point us to the true source of life intimacy - Himself. That is why – even though we seek close relationships with people - and we do need them – intimacy with Him is what we cannot live without.
When God illuminated this to me we were worshipping with a song titled Holy Spirit by Bryan and Katie Torwalt. Consider these lyrics, then listen to the song itself and feel the relationship. It depicts a relationship that issues from the type of intimacy of which I speak.
There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You're our Living Hope
I've tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence Lord
Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord
Your presence Lord
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Some of you already have intimacy of relationship with God. You are like me - it is personal and real – the sustaining force for your life. But, what I am encouraging you with is the truth that there is another level of intimacy with Father - and He is saying you can have it! Let us become more aware of His presence with us every moment of every day. Draw on, focus on and build deeper intimacy with Him. It takes time sitting with Him, but time well spent. Not only will our vertical relationship with Him flourish and become stronger, but our people relationships will become sweeter as well. Not to mention our own personal life will become aligned and fine tuned. We’ll be effective in every place He puts us. We’ll be whole - nothing missing, nothing broken.
So, now you know my true confession concerning intimacy. What is yours?