Summary: "Recently I received a phone call from a friendly-sounding person who told me she wanted to make my life easier. She called me by my first name and warmly asked how my day was going."

Let the Holy Spirit Enhance Intimacy in Your Relationship

Illustration: I am a companion of all who fear You. —Psalm 119:63

Two men were neighbors—one had opened his heart to Christ and the other had not. The believer witnessed often; the other ignored him.

One day the Christian answered a knock at his door and his neighbor stood before him with a big smile. "I finally did what you said. This morning I opened my heart to Jesus!" The two embraced and cried. Over the years, they supported and prayed for each other, and they became the best of friends. They served together in an effective jail ministry for 25 years.

Fellowship is an essential part of what it means to be a Christian. The psalmist made this strong statement of identification with those who reverence God and keep His commands: "I am a companion of all who fear You" (Psalm 119:63). The Bible has numerous examples of companionship: David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas. Mark had Barnabas. Jesus had His disciples. The churches in Acts were made up of people who stood together in sometimes hostile and difficult circumstances.

The church is a fellowship, a community. Our circle of Christian friends helps us in many ways as we walk together along the path God has laid out for us. They offer just the kind of companionship we need. —Dave Egner

Lord, help us see how much we need each other

As we walk along the Christian way;

In fellowship with sister and with brother,

You will keep us growing day by day. —Hess

Christian fellowship promotes spiritual growth. (Our Daily Bread)

Challenge: We live in an age when men and women struggle to maintain emotional intimacy. The following are several ways that the Holy Spirit helps engender greater emotional affinity between couples.

1. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy with an infusion of a SUPERNATURAL LOVE for one another. In order for couples to experience the oneness that God planned for marriage, emotional intimacy is essential. John wrote, "Dear friends, since God so love us, we also ought to love one another. If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (I John 4:11,12) Ask the Lord to help you love your spouse in a way that demonstrates the complete love of Christ in you.

2. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy by encouraging greater TRANSPARENCY in their relationships. Moses wrote of Adam and Eve before the fall, "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." (Gen. 2:25) Ask the Lord to help you develop greater emotional, mental and spiritual transparency with your spouse so you will not be ashamed of anything.

3. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy when they COMMUNICATE honestly with one another. Paul wrote, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ." (Eph. 4:15) Ask the Lord to help you communicate truth in love at all times to your spouse for your mutual growth in Christ.

4. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy when feelings, needs and desires are DISCUSSED AND UNDERSTOOD. It is sad that a husband and wife can live with one another for many years and yet fail to discuss or understand each other’s feelings, needs and desires. Moses wrote, "But for Adam no suitable helper was found...Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man...For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Gen. 2:20,22,24) Ask the Lord to help you fully leave your dependencies to your Father and Mother, cleave (be of like-mind in unity of spirit) to your spouse and strive to become one flesh with him or her in God’s will.

5. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy when FORGIVENESS is consistently given. Jesus said, "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt. 6:14) Ask the Lord to help you to avoid holding grudges against one another in any way or for any reason.

6. The Holy Spirit helps spouses develop emotional intimacy when they relinquish their RIGHTS TO BE EMOTIONALLY LOCKED UP. Many couples lock up their emotions because they refuse to be hurt by someone’s rejection, anger or abuse. As a result many spouses are prevented from opening their hearts to one another.

Application: Trust the Lord to help you remove your masks of cultural conditioning, traditions, power, pride, position, education, selfishness, fear, insecurity, children, activities, relatives, education, etc. Only the Spirit of God can help us break down these walls of defenses as we feel the security of God’s everlasting love. Paul wrote, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7)

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