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This devotional is part two in our series “What Does it Mean to Experience Intimacy With God?”
God is the starting place for the kind of intimacy we all long for.
If we cannot be intimate with a perfect God, then we will certainly struggle to be intimate with imperfect people. Yet if we can be intimate with God, He can and will show us how to be free to experience the kind of intimacy in relationships that we all desire.
“What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.”Proverbs 19:22 NIV
As we saw in Part 1 of ”what does it mean to experience intimacy with God,” Jesus showed and guided his disciple on how to find intimacy with God. In my pursuit of intimacy with God, I have found 4 beliefs that are key to learning and experiencing intimacy with God.
- God is interested in me
- I can be completely truthful with God
- I can be vulnerable with God
- God empowers me
The first two of these we discussed in Part 1. We will continue with the last two here in Part 2, focusing on the comforting and empowering experience of intimacy with God.
3. I can be vulnerable with God
Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.
He was a perfect example, even in his death-a criminal’s death by crucifixion! Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!Philippians 2:7-9 TPT
God is vulnerable with us. Vulnerable is defined as being “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm”. The Cross is a great example of God’s willingness to be vulnerable with us (Philippians 2:8TPT).
God amazingly is willing to be wounded by us in His effort to have a relationship with us. With God setting the example in vulnerability, it is important to reflect, how vulnerable are we with God?
Am I vulnerable with God?
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. ”Genesis 4:6-7 NIV
Though God was patient and willing to be interested in Cain and reveal truth to him, Cain refused to reveal or let go of his own hurt over God’s perceived rejection of his efforts and sacrifice. His unwillingness to be vulnerable with God prevented him learning and changing.
Anger for me is a clear sign I have something I am not being vulnerable about. My anger comes in 2 forms:
- Aggression and overwhelming expression of emotion
- Passive and in a withdrawn discouragement.
Anger hides other emotions and feelings. It could be guilt, disappointment, bitterness or sadness. When we aren’t vulnerable with God we do damage to our relationships.
Our insecurity and anger drive us to try and make people feel or experience our pain verses inviting them in to understand it. We tear others down, especially those we feel jealous or envious of. We also do it with those we want intimacy from the most.
For me, the resistance to vulnerability has two factors. My pride is the first one. I don’t like feeling weak or looking needy. It embarrasses me. The second factor is past abuse in relationships.
These were times people took advantage of me or abused me when I was vulnerable. These were times I felt unprotected and powerless.
My home growing up was awesome but it also was very emotionally and physically violent. Weakness was at times exploited, manipulated and used to hurt you or gain control over you. God is not like this.
For he has not despised my cries of deep despair. He’s my first responder to my sufferings, and he didn’t look the other way when I was in pain. He was there all the time, listening to the song of the afflicted.Psalm 22:24 TPT
It is comforting to know that when we are vulnerable God responds with infinite love and empathy. He doesn’t seek control over us or manipulate us. He isn’t emotionally or physically punitive or abusive. It’s not His character.
This should compel us to be vulnerable with him and open up our hearts to him. He is a safe place and a refuge.
- Am I vulnerable with God? Do I invite him in to know my pain, weaknesses and fears?
- Do I open myself up to be corrected, trained and instructed by God’s word?
4. God empowers me
I trust in the Lord. And I praise him! I trust in the Word of God. And I praise him! What harm could man do to me? With God on my side I will not be afraid of what comes. My heart overflows with praise to God and for his promises. I will always trust in him. So I’m thanking you with all my heart, with gratitude for all you’ve done. I will do everything I’ve promised you, Lord.Psalm 56:10-12 TPT
God empowers us through faith in his word. He inspires us with his protection and promises. It motivates us to do everything we told God we would do. Many times I have gone out to pray with no intention of obeying God’s word.
In those times my prayers were merely self talk or cathartic. God was there to relieve me, but I was not there to obey. In living this way I limited God and His ability to influence me. Sometimes after this experience I would grow frustrated toward God and wonder why prayer hadn’t worked.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I was asking the wrong question! Instead of wondering why God hadn’t responded to me, I should have been asking how I can respond to Him.
Am I responding to God’s word?
But if someone responds to and obeys His word, then God’s love has truly taken root and filled him. This is how we know we are in an intimate relationship with Him:I John 2:5 Voice
Proof that we are experiencing intimacy with God is our obedience to His word. Which leads to change not only in our lives, but in the lives of those around us as we change and grow more loving to those He has put in our lives.
We can read our Bibles which is good but the more importantly we can obey it. When we do it empowers us to experience intimacy with God but also in our relationships. This is tremendously satisfying.
How are we responding to God’s word? And secondly, are we changing?
Am I changing?
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.2 Corinthians 7:11 NIV
More proof that we are experiencing intimacy with God is that we are changing in response to how our sins or others sins are impacting God. When we are intimate with God we feel convicted by our sins not condemned. Conviction leads us to take action not sit around maudlin and self piteous.
When we first trust God’s ability to connect with and comfort us in our vulnerabilities, and choose to be vulnerable with Him, we are then able to experience the empowering effect of intimacy with Him.
This power enables us to be transformed and changed into people more capable of showing love. Our lives have the tremendous impact God created them to have.
- Do I allow myself to be taught through God’s word how to overcome pain, weakness and challenges?
- Do I make choices to obey God’s word?
- Am I willing to acknowledge my heart’s impact on God and change?
Devotionals in this series
- What Does it Mean to Experience Intimacy with God? Part 1
- What Does it Mean to Experience Intimacy with God? Part 2