In a recent bible study I attend, the teacher talked about how God is like a woman in that He wants us focusing on and making Him the center of our hearts and lives. The bible tells us God is jealous and does not want our attention or affection shared with anyone or anything else. Exodus 34:14; II Corinthians 11:2
The speaker went on to say when a man really loves a woman, the only thing he sees in a crowded room is her… His attention is drawn fully to her, and the woman wants to feel like he only has eyes for her. He said he imagines God is like this and he keeps this in mind in his relationship with God.
I mention this analogy because I have been in a deep exploration and study of what true intimacy with God is and how it is expressed in our lives and our walk with God.
I know we are the bride of Christ, and as a woman, I relate to being a bride in my personal relationship with God. I have spoken with some men who are puzzled by the intimacy I speak of in my relationship with God. This has made me wonder and want to ask how a man relates to being the Bride of Christ and how he experiences intimacy with God.
After discussing this with several men friends, I found men shy away from considering themselves personally as the Bride of Christ or Jesus as their groom, stating the references in the bible are metaphorical and the bride is the church as a whole, not individuals. I can certainly understand this perspective, and I understand the church is the bride of Christ, however, Christ died for His people, which encompass all the individual believers who are the Bride. From this I see Jesus not just viewing us as a collective, but seeing, knowing, and loving each of us as individuals. The individuals He gave His life for so we could be with Him for eternity (Savior, but also groom/husband). Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
I am drilling down because I believe as we see ourselves as Christ’s bride in an individual sense, it can guide our behavior and walk with Him. Please understand as I speak of intimacy with Jesus, I am not speaking of physical intimacy as we experience in the earthly human marriage, but of the deeply close relationship intellectually, emotionally, spirituality which exists in a healthy marriage and provides satisfaction, security, and comfort.
As an individual who relates personally to being the bride of Christ, I think about my desire for Him, always wanting more, and seeking after His presence daily. Is this not also how a new bride longs for and desires her groom? The marriage relationship is two becoming one, and where we invest the greatest amount of time, love, and resources. I also easily see a godly man longing and desiring to spend time with God, be in His presence. I see this longing and desire in David and his Psalms. Isn’t David known as ‘a man after God’s own heart’? (Acts 13:22)
This verse also mentions David in the position of submission and obedience, which is called for from a wife in Ephesians 5:24. David’s position of obedience pleases the Lord, and He says ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
This is one of the many Psalms of David that expresses a longing and yearning to connect with God. Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
God desires an intimate relationship with us individually and longs to have us in communion with Him, so much so He gave His only son as a sacrifice to ensure we can return to Him. I started to look through scriptures to support how much God desires us and longs to have an intimate relationship with us, with me; then I realized the whole bible is a love story. The love story is about God, who created man, male and female, to be in relationship with us. We broke His heart with disobedience, not trusting Him to guide our lives, telling Him we could do this on our own, now equipped with the knowledge of good and evil. From that point on, the bible is a story of God relentlessly pursuing us to bring us back into sacred relationship with Himself.
I continue to seek deeper levels of intimacy with God and understand how to walk this out in my daily life. The question I am asking is part of my yearning to know and understand intimacy with God, and also learn how others experience or seek to grow their relationship with Him. I hear people expressing how they fall short and are disobedient and feel distant from God. They long for a more intimate relationship, but their insecurities keep them from experiencing deeper levels of intimacy with God.
I agree our hangups and disobedience do distance us from God, but not because He moves away and shuns us. I believe we distance ourselves from God out of our own shame for not living up to the endless love He has for us. Just as Adam and Eve hid from the Lord God out of shame, we hide from God out of our shame. The thing is, we no longer need to hide in shame when we fall short, are disobedient, and sin against God. We need to run toward Him, taking all our fear, angst, shame, telling Him everything. It’s not like we are hiding anything from Him by running away or distancing ourselves from Him. He knows everything, sees everything. Above all else, He sees us covered in the blood of His precious Son Jesus. Everything separating us from having a deep, intimate relationship with God was destroyed when Jesus gave up His life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. Matthew 27:50-51.
Over the past 22 years since accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been disobedient, continue to fall short, and struggle with my own insecurities. This never seems to end, although I see how I have been broken down and allowed God to do His work in my life. Through it all, I continue to run to Him, confess when I have sinned, and plead with Him for help when I get stuck in repeating behaviors I know are not a part of His plan for my life. There is nothing I do that will keep Him from loving me. He has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me. He has promised He will follow me in the the depths of hell, so I know there is no need to hide my sin and shame from Him. I rest in Him and find peace for my soul. I cast my cares on Him, and He cares for me. All of this, and I long for more because what I find in Him is good and abundantly above all I could ever expect. Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 139:8; Matt 11:29; Psalm 34:8; I Peter 4:3; Ephesians 3:20
This article about intimacy with God, echos much of what God has been teaching me this year. I encourage you to read it and see all the benefits of seeking an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.~ ♡