The Lifeline of Intimacy

  1. Message: In Romans 5 Paul had just established that we have righteousness through faith. Yesterday we talked about how easy it is to get this backwards and try to prove our righteousness through works. But when we understand that we were made righteous while we were still a hot mess, we can stop fighting the “good enough” battle and instead pursue intimacy with God knowing we don’t have to earn the right to see him face to face without being ashamed. When we spend time with God we are changed as a result. At the beginning of chapter 5 Paul talks about the peace that comes when we understand that we are justified, and this grace gives us hope. So much so that we are able to rejoice in our affliction knowing that the affliction produces endurance, the endurance produces proven character and the proven character produces hope. Once again this all seems backwards. I have always read and understood that we should rejoice in our affliction, but as I read this in context with chapter 4, I began to see how important it is that we have a firm understanding that we are justified by faith. Because if we think we are responsible for earning our right standing we will be in big trouble when afflictions come. We will think God is punishing us for missing the mark and if we think God is punishing us we lose our intimacy with him because we are now feeling isolated and offended. What a messy circle of death! On the other hand, if we have a real grasp that we were made right before God in spite of ourselves, we will feel the peace and confidence to come face to face with him. When afflictions come we will run to him for strength and encouragement instead of running from him. We will develop the endurance to handle hard things and when we come through to the other side of hard things, we develop a new confidence that not only is God for us, but he is with us. This gives us hope, not just for the resolution of our situations, but hope that we can make it through anything because we know we are not alone. We have such a strong capacity for suffering when we know are accepted and not alone.
  2. Command: Don’t allow anything to interrupt my intimacy with God.
  3. Promise: God made us righteous in spite of our mess so we can stand before him without guilt or shame and allow him to navigate us through our issues.
  4. Warning: Guilt & shame disrupts intimacy. As soon as we stop being intimate with God we fall into a cycle of sin and destruction that keeps us further and further from him.
  5. Application: As I read this I saw myself on both ends of this. There have been times that I walked through some really tough things knowing God was with me. I could talk to God all day long about everything feeling absolutely no veil of shame or guilt. Like a little girl content and loved in her daddy’s arms.  But there have been some times that I have allowed things to disrupt my intimacy with God. The lack of intimacy caused guilt and the guilt produced a bigger divide. I would try to talk to God and something just didn’t feel right. I realized that I had developed an offense with God because I was experiencing something really hard and it didn’t feel like my circumstances were changing. I felt punished and stuck and it caused a rift in my own heart and it affected my ability and my desire to talk to God. There were days I tried to pray and felt too broken to compose any words. I literally sat silent before God. I’m so thankful because in my mess God remained faithful. He never left me even when I felt isolated. My take away from this is to keep mindful of the importance of intimacy with God. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. Intimacy is the life of any relationship, and our especially in our relationship with God. When I’m feeling quiet and distant, that is the time I need to pursue God the hardest.

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