Summary: Looking at the process of ENJOYING INTIMACY WITH GOD.
SEVEN HINDERANCES TO INTIMACY WITH GOD
Brad Bailey - February 13, 1994
This morning we’re going to continue looking at the process of ENJOYING INTIMACY WITH GOD.
We’ve looked at how Jesus taught us to find and structure those “special places” of prayer.
I’ve had some wonderful times of solitude with God… but I also asked God, why is it hard sometimes… what in me can hinder the great privilege of experiencing intimacy with you?
- I want to share some of the things He’s shown me, that many authors point out as well, & that I have known are in some of your hearts as well.
- My purpose is not to address these in depth, but to describe them as a means to help you identify them as you search your own heart
- This morning offers something to place in your prayer journal for the future, but even now to consider in terms of your relationship with God.
- How appropriate that we will conclude with Communion… the very invitation to intimacy.
- (1 Cor. 11:28) “A person ought to examine themselves before they eat of the Bread and drink of the cup
- God’s inviting us to an opportunity to confess and clear the way for receiving his life… and walking in intimacy through prayer.
1. POOR SELF-IMAGE (related to feelings of shame & unworthiness)
- Some of you are not sure you should hear from God
- All of us from time to time can feel this way
- Though I’ve generally been a “go-for-it risk-taker” for most of my life…
o God showed me this week how the feelings of unworthiness had come into play at that point when literally overnight I was placed in the position of senior pastor of this church. Besides having been married & assuming new expectations as a husband that same week, now 100’s of eyes… and expectations upon me.
- It accentuated the choice we all face in our doubts… GET REAL GOOD… OR GET REAL WITH GOD.
- The Question we often ask is “Am I good enough?” and it gets us into trouble every time…
o Overwork, timid with God & in our spiritual authority
o As foolish as the young man who had just received his plumbers license… taken on trip to Niagara Falls… and said…‘I can’t fix it’
- Jesus came to say that the question of ‘Good enough’ is a fine 1st question, easily answered, but the question he answers is ARE YOU WANTED AND GOOD FOR GOD?
- It’s the painfully wonderful transition of honesty that authentic prayer will bring us to
Sometimes I find coming and being STILL before God is killing me, …And that’s the whole point; then I can join in God’s goodness in me… and join the Psalmist:
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Such knowledge is too wonderful from me, too lofty for me to attain. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:1-2, 6, 13-14
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the MOST HOLY PLACE by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
2. UNEXERCISED BELIEF… an apathy that can creep into our faith; marked by PRAYERLESSNESS
- We can treat faith more as a noun than as a verb.
- We become more comfortable believing in God than believing God
- our lives are bound by a domination of the visible
o We end up with a posture that doesn’t need to depend on God.
o Like dating several people so there’s a back-up.
- NO ONE CAN HURT YOU… NO ONE CAN HELP YOU
- As a result, our hearts grow unresponsive to what God has to say.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25