Summary: Part 5 in series, Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth. This message looks at Intimacy – what it is, things that develop it, things that kill it, and why we fear it.
Part 5 in series
Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth
Wildwind Community Church
March 7, 2009
Time to get intimate tonight. For the past few weeks we’ve been looking at what we know about important aspects of human relationships (trust, commitment, communication, etc.) and seeing if we could use that information to help us understand God better. Why? Because whatever else a relationship with God is, it is a relationship. Relationships have rules, if you will. There are certain things we should do to have good relationships, and certain things we should avoid if we do not want to have bad ones. Most of us have some understanding of this in our relationships with human beings – but how does this translate into a relationship with God? Are the rules totally different? If trust is necessary in human relationships, is it important in our relationship with God? How so? If the basis of human relationships is faithfulness, can we expect to relate to God if we are not faithful? If relationship is an essential context for effective communication with fellow human beings, can we expect to communicate effectively with God if we do not have a relationship with him? These are the kinds of questions we have been dealing with. And now it’s time to get intimate. Sometimes people make fun of Wikipedia, but I think it really nailed this description of intimacy.
Intimacy refers to a familiar and very close connection with another as a result of entering deeply or closely into relationship through knowledge and experience of the other. Genuine intimacy in human relationships requires dialogue, transparency, vulnerability and reciprocity.
Isn’t that rich? Intimacy is a familiar and very close connection with another as a result of entering deeply or closely into relationship through knowledge and experience of the other. Genuine intimacy requires dialogue, transparency, vulnerability, and reciprocity. Those four points right there – those’ll preach. I’m not gonna preach them, but they’ll preach alright.
Strangely, the first thing I want to focus on tonight in our look at intimacy are those words, “as a result.” A familiar and very close connection with another as a result of entering deeply or closely into relationship.” This is the first point I want to make about intimacy. Intimacy is a result. You might say it is a consequence. Intimacy comes about as a result, or consequence, of other things I am doing in a relationship. When you think about it that way, that means there’s no way I can directly pursue intimacy. I can’t say, “Okay, there’s intimacy, I’m going to have that.” Since it is a result, or a consequence (technically you could even call it a by-product!) of other things, if we want intimacy we must find out what those other things are and then pursue those things!
This is exactly where we must begin. Many would say they want their relationship with their spouse or fiancée to be an intimate relationship, but perhaps are not that committed to the things that create intimacy – the things of which intimacy is a consequence, result, or by-product. I know guys that their approach to intimacy is “There. I bought you flowers. Was that intimate? Was that it right there? Did you like the way I kissed you when you got home? Was that intimacy – was that it?” But intimacy isn’t buying flowers. It isn’t a kiss after work. Intimacy is a logical result of the buildup of tons of acts like this. It is what is created when intimacy-creating acts and words come to define our habitual ways of relating to each other, and intimacy-destroying acts and words are consistently avoided and rejected. Intimacy is not an act, or even an attitude. It is an atmosphere. Let’s talk for a moment about intimacy creating and intimacy destroying actions. This is extremely important to understand. I’m convinced that if more people understood this rock solid truth, there would be a lot less divorce in the world.
Since intimacy is a consequence, a result, or a by-product, think about what that means. That means there are words and actions and attitudes that logically and necessarily lead toward it, and words and actions and attitudes that logically and necessarily lead away from it. Stay with me. Since intimacy is a consequence, a result, or a by-product, (something that comes from something else), that means there are words and actions and attitudes that logically and necessarily lead toward it, and words and actions and attitudes that logically and necessarily lead away from it. When we say “logically,” what we mean is that we can look at certain words and actions and attitudes and say, “It makes sense that those lead toward or away from intimacy.” Now when we say “necessarily” what we mean is that certain words, actions, and attitudes HAVE TO and MUST lead toward intimacy and certain words, actions, and attitudes HAVE TO and MUST lead away from it. This is an incredibly powerful thing to realize. There are certain words you can use, certain attitudes you can adopt, and certain actions you can do, that absolutely positively will lead to the development of intimacy in your closest relationship. Why? Because intimacy is a result – it comes about logically and necessarily from other things.