What does it mean to have intimacy with God 2nd how do return to your 1st love practically or in every day terms Thanks
Hey John @Ian777, great question.So intimacy, even though in this day and age or in the secular world it tends to be tied to sexual encounter, the true definition of intimacy is much more than that. Intimacy is the deepest type of fulfillment that we, our heart, seeks. We seek to be free without any shame or judgement. We seek to be fully known without any secrets. We seek to be accepted in all our imperfections. We seek to be forgiven and not be scared of being faulted. We seek to be safe at all times. We seek to be trusted. We seek to know our future and that it will be good. We seek to be loved. No human being can fully give that to us with its maximum quality. The way you know someone loves you to the maximum is when they die for you. Jesus died for ALLLLL of us when he didnt even do anything. We killed him. But he did that because he loved us and he wants us to know that he can give us all of that. All he wants is his trust. To accept him as our savior and Lord. When we do that, he will be in us and we in him. That is intimate. We walk and talk with him.
To answer your second question, in the beginning in Eden, God made humanity. We are his first love. Then due to sin, we got separated. The church, which is us, the body of Christ, we are his first love, his bride. So he paid the big price to restore that love and intimacy.
I hope this helps.
Intimacy comes from having shared experiences that bring people closer together. The more intense the experiences, the greater the intimacy. Like a band of brothers who have survived a battle - or a husband and wife who’ve raised children together and weathered many storms - or first responders who’ve learned to depend on each other to overcome various perils.
Perhaps the greatest description of intimacy would be the words of Paul in Philippians 3:10-11, That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead - by which I take him to mean that he wants to live a resurrected lifestyle even now in his mortal body!
If you are risking everything on what God says about life, if you are seeking His guidance and wisdom for your decisions, if you are making Him known to a watching world - these kinds of things imply that you are sharing the experiences of your life with God - you are developing intimacy.
By the way, I should note that in the very next verses, Paul himself admitted that he still had a long way to go - he had not attained that degree of perfect intimacy yet. So growing in intimacy with God is a lifelong process.
As for returning to your first love, what did Jesus say in Revelation 2:4 and following where He brought this issue up? He said, Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.
I believe another key to growing in love for Christ in found in the story at the end of Luke 7. Simon the Pharisee was a stark contrast to the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them with ointment. Simon despised her as a sinner, and he had a low opinion of Jesus for letting her touch Him.
But Jesus knew his thoughts and asked him a question - if a creditor forgave one man a large debt and another man a smaller debt, which one would love him more. Simon correctly said that it would be the one who was forgiven more.
Jesus then called attention to how little Simon had honored Christ when He entered compared to how much this woman had honored Him. And then He gave the key - the one who is forgiven more loves more.
Now, some might think this means you must be saved from a wild life of sin to love God more. And it’s true that those who’ve been saved from a wild life can often see very clearly what God has done for them.
But those raised in a Christian home and taken to Sunday school since before they can remember, they too are saved from the very same hell that drunkards and prostitutes are. So the one who loves Him more is the one who recognizes what God has saved him from.
I hope these thoughts will encourage you.
John @ Ian777.
The late Francis Schaffer preached a very moving and helpful sermon entitled ‘Have You Lost Your First Love?’ The teaching is very helpful and practical enabling the listener to apply the teaching into everday life. The teaching was recorded and sadly I no longer have a copy!
@Ian777, I was really drawn to the hunger for the Lord that your question expresses . I felt I must respond with something though I have not fully grasped it myself. Perhaps there may be something from my experience that could speak to you.
I struggled to understand what intimacy with God looks like for many years. As I started attending churches, I found myself drawn to people who were in ministry and seemed to have everything in control. I too wanted to be a good Christian but didn’t know how to get there. I would go to church two times a week, I read the Bible, met Christians, but felt my spiritual walk dry. What I needed was a deep understanding of my need for Christ and His grace, which I didn’t quite understand until I had some bitter experiences. These experiences made me realize there is no firm foundation other than the grace of Christ and let me see where I was missing the mark. That deeper understanding of grace grew out of a bible study over several months on grace. I finally grasped the love of God for me, and he just filled me with a hunger to know Him more. My walk changed from having to keep a scheduled time with God to wanting to do it any moment I found. I couldn’t stop reading about Him in His word. In the initial days after the realization of grace, I remember feeling led of the Holy Spirit to pray three times a day to make sure I was in tune with God’s grace. When I did not plant myself in grace, I was easily swayed in many unhelpful directions but when I understood grace, the discipline of prayer and reading the bible became extremely meaningful. Though I understood grace of God for salvation when I first turned to Christ from Hinduism, it took me many more years to live from grace - to show myself grace when my spiritual walk felt dry and grace for others even when it hurt. 2 Peter 3:17-18. 17 suddenly made more sense! Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I dont think everyone needs hard experiences to enter into a deep walk of living in His grace. I do however think we need the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us that hunger which God promises to give generously to whoever asks. Our part is humility and obedience out of love and trust. Belonging to a loving body of believers who can guide us is also very significant. Some things I admire in other matured believers with an intimate relationship with Christ are their humility, an obedience to God whatever the cost, a deep love and compassion for others whether they know them for a minute or for years, walking by faith than sight, perseverance in prayer, spiritual discernment and leading by example. May God bless you with rich time of prayer growing in His grace and knowledge.
Thx for the reply I will say I’m learning as I go most definitely need to rely more on as of moment I want to know more about entering his presence in prayer.
In my experience I think we can enter into a tangible sense of the presence of God, where we feel a deep conviction and we may even experience something of the supernatural such as the the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as we spend more time in prayer, seeking God and meditating on God’s word. It is indeed wonderful to be touched by the presence of God and difficult to convey those precious moments to another. However, these special moments end up being of value in growing our character only through our continual submission to His will. So one way to gauge the presence of God is by what desires are ruling our heart. I was reading Psalm 24 just a few days ago and I think it captures how we may enter the presence of God. A classic book on this topic is by Brother Lawrence - Practice of the Presence of God. God bless!