God has given us pictures in the Bible of what He is like. He is a Father, a Shepherd, a Husband, a King, and more. It is natural to think that the way to understand God is through our experiences with these earthly pictures. We attempt to understand Him as a Father based on how we have seen and experienced what it means to be a father. However, if we attempt to understand God through our experiences, we will fall short of the reality of who He really is.
Instead of looking through our lens in hopes of understanding Him, we should look through His lens in hopes of understanding our relationships.
If I attempt to understand Him through my experience with being a father, I will come short of understanding all that He is. He is a Father who is very different than me. He is forever patient, eternally wise, consistently loving, passionately sacrificial, and so much more. I am not like that.
He desires for me to know Him as the Father He is so that I might know how to be a father to my kids. It has to work in this order and not the other way around.
When it comes to intimacy, the same principle applies.
We cannot assume that our experience of intimacy help define how we are to experience intimacy with God. To understand intimacy, we must first begin with knowing Him and how He intimately loves us. As we understand His intimacy, then we arrive at a completely new understanding of how husbands and wives can experience unbelievable intimacy.
So we begin with God.
He is the source of all things. Life flows from Him. Love flows from Him. These and more flow from Him with no need for anything in return. He does not need our love in return in order to be God. He does not need our service, obedience, or worship in order for Him to be who He is and do what He does. His love is continual, one-way, and independent of our actions. In fact, the Scripture says that He loved us while we were still sinners and enemies.
This is very different than how we relate.
We think of intimacy as something that requires two people to give of themselves to each other. We think of it as a 50-50 proposition. We think that there must be give and take. This is not the way to intimacy with God. He needs nothing from us.
How do we experience intimacy with a God that is so radically different than us?
There is only way to respond to God – the One who has lavished His love upon us and given us more than what the mind of man could ever comprehend. The only appropriate response to the One who has lavished us with such grace is to humbly and gratefully receive it.
The Bible calls this belief and receiving, faith.
Faith is the humble and joyful opening of all we are to receive the greatness of all that He is. It is the response of the heart that says, “I need your forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, hope, righteousness and more to fill me!” It is the heart that says, “I could never experience these on my own apart from You!” It says, “I could never measure up, deserve, or earn all that you have!”
The New Testament says that we experience intimacy with God by receiving His grace through faith.
The ultimate in intimacy with God is the very personal experience of His greatness touching the reality of need. It is His forgiveness repeatedly being received into the areas of our failures. It is His favor excitedly being received into our times of rejection. It is the awareness of His love tenderly touching the areas of our life where we feel unloved, not enough, and hurt.
This is intimacy with God.
The heart that unclothes itself in His presence, exposes itself unashamedly, and receives His fullness will experience unbridled intimacy, joy, and release.
The gift of righteousness.
Made without fault.
Given an inheritance.
Seated with favor at the right hand of God.
Infused with the Spirit of God.
Having my sins remembered no more.
Lavished with every spiritual blessing.
Him in me.
I in Him.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32