Intimacy with the
Staying with Our First Love
A beautiful paradox
– Almighty, omnipotent God
– Who wants us to enjoy intimacy with Him
The world is working against us in this...
– Jam packed schedules, financial pressures,
competing values try to distract
– Even sincere Christians in successful
churches struggle to see its importance
The Ephesian Church
Revelation 2: 1-4
John R. Stott:
“Their first flush of ecstasy had passed.
Their early devotion to Christ had
cooled. They had been in love with
Him, but they had fallen out of love.”
It doesn’t have to be that way.
– Being intimate: belonging to or
characterizing one’s deepest nature...
marked by very close association,
contact, or familiarity... marked by a
warm friendship developing through
How Intimacy Develops
– take time to develop
– require work and dedication to
– require commitment
– don’t happen naturally, automatically,
quickly or easily
Quick-fixformulas make for
shallow, superficial faith
“Superficiality is the curse of our age.
The doctrine of instant satisfaction is
a primary spiritual problem. The
desperate need today is not for a
greater number of intelligent people,
or for gifted people, but for deep
Deepening our Walk with the Lord
Many elements we can’t plan or
– God may allow suffering to deepen us.
– He might bring unexpected blessing to
show us His character.
We often have a definite responsibility
in the process. James 4:8a
Our part involves discipline
Discipline: the Greek concept simply
means “to train.” 1Timothy 4:7b-8
“Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness,
please! Workouts in the gymnasium are
useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more
so, making you fit both today and forever.”
Make it a priority, don’t approach it
Disciplines for Cultivating Intimacy
Simplicity - requires re-ordering our lives.
Silence - asks us to be still.
Solitude - involves cultivating serenity.
Surrender - beckons us to let go.
Where are We Headed?
You may discover you need to make
some changes in your life.
God will not always speed up to walk
with us. He expects us to slow our pace
to walk with Him.
He expects us to provide some
quietness where His still and small
voice can be heard.
Reordering Our Lives
The Lord’s great invitation to Intimacy
– Revelation 3:20
– Can we hear His knocking?
– Can we hear His voice over the clamor?
Definition - Simplicity
“the arrangement of life around a few
consistent purposes, explicitly excluding
what is not necessary to human well-being”
Seeking His Kingdom
- Matthew 6:33
By loving God with all
our heart, soul, and Priorities
mind, and by loving
our neighbor as Core Values
What’s the Problem?
Symptoms of a Simplicity-Deficient Life
Most of us say yes to too many things.
Most of us do not plan well enough ahead or think
through our schedules to leave time for leisure
Most of us have too many things on our plate to
get done in the allotted time.
Most in America have too much debt.
Most of us fool ourselves into thinking that
because we live in a modern world of high-tech
equipment, we are simplifying our lives.
What’s the Problem?
Diagnosis of the Core Problem
Deceit - 2 Corinthians 11:3
“My fear is that, as he did with Eve, Satan should
seduce you away from a simplicity of devotion to the
Do you have too much clutter within to leave
sufficient room for devotion to Christ?
Have you begun to get self-impressed or
sophisticated about your faith?
Prescriptions for a Simpler Life
In Your Own Personal World
Is there something you must do
about your time with God?
Do you need to say no more often?
Have you become cluttered in your
Prescriptions for a Simpler
In Your World of Relationships
Are the good things keeping you from the
Are too many things draining your energy,
leaving you exhausted–even resentful?
Are the activities outside your home
stealing time from those
within the home?
Intimacy with the
Silence and Solitude
Essentials for Intimacy
The List Gets Tougher!
Is this possible in our noisy, busy world?
Is this a
“Let be andtheand
Swindoll: “Be moreand knowthan
I am still convinced
“Cease striving cries, still,
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ever that there is out of heKnow can
“Stand Silent! and I
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that 46:10 NIV politics,
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includes one God, above
Psalm 46:10 TLBall
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Psalm 46:10 AMP
Psalm 46:10 TEV
Psalm 46:10 The Message
“As the deer
pants for the
So my soul
pants for Thee,
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
What does Silence Create?
Makes room for listening
Gives us freedom to observe
The Lord is in His holy
Allows us time to think
temple. Let all the earth
Provides space to feel
Keep silence before Him.
Lets us broaden our awareness
Opens us to the entry of peace
Invites us to know our limitedness…
And God’s vastness
Silence has a partner…
Silence means protracted periods of
Solitude… grow deeper in an
quite where we
– increasing awareness of the real
Discover our own thoughts
– Filter out the non-essentials
presence of God.
– Find our own peace
– Rest and re-group
Solitude is being alone… away from the
– Recall the meaning of our unique call
– Honeconstant pull of other’s demands,
and craft what we value
– interruptions, schedules, and expectations.
Time Alone with God….
– Reinforce our focus
– Re-acquaint ourselves with our dreams
– Become more attentive to God
Even Jesus needed solitude…
Very He cannot
We need to find God, andearly in the be
found in noise and restlessness. God is
morning, while it
See how nature –
the friend of silence.was still dark,
– grows up, left
trees, flowers, grass Jesus got in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun,
the house and
went off We
how they move in silence… to a need
silence to be able to touch souls.
where he prayed.
Silence and Solitude
Twin means of God-directed rest
Since SILENCE is the gateway to depth, it’s
worth every effort to make it happen.
– Carve out an hour or two, perhaps an afternoon or
even a whole day. Refrain from speaking, escape
from noise, and quiet your soul.
Since SOLITUDE is the gateway to discovery,
it is too important to ignore.
– Use a journal to preserve what you learn in
Intimacy Requires Letting Go
Getting Close Sometimes
Means Letting Go…
God made our hands and our hearts able to
hold only so much.
If we hang on to too many things, or the
wrong things, we can distance ourselves from
what’s really important.
Philippians 3:8a AMPLIFIED
SURRENDER: Letting go of interests that
keep us at arm’s length from Him.
Let us lay aside every
encumbrance and the sin
which so easily entangles
us, and let us run with
patience the race that is
set before us.
Running the Race
Lightening the Load – Heb. 12:1
– Lighten our load before running the race.
– Throw off anything that hinders us in the
Shedding “The Sin”
– Possibly refers to one specific sin, rather
than generalities – could it be the sin of
See: Hebrews 11 & 12
Focusing on Christ
Christ Our Example
– Hebrews 12:2
– Christ: Ultimate Model of Surrender
Only truly humble people can surrender.
Don’t Despair… Compare
– Hebrews 12:3
Four Areas of Surrender
Intimacy with the
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition
or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than
yourselves. 4Each of you should
look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a
man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the
highest place and gave him the
name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
Philippians 2: 3-11
I count everything loss compared to the
possession of the priceless privilege (the
overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing
worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively
becoming more deeply and intimately
acquainted with Him [of perceiving and
recognizing and understanding Him more
fully and clearly].
1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the
seven stars in his right hand and walks among
the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your
deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I
know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that
you have tested those who claim to be apostles
but are not, and have found them false. 3You
have persevered and have endured hardships
for my name, and have not grown weary.
4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken
your first love.
8Come near to God and he
will come near to you.
2Letus fix our eyes on Jesus, the
author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured such
opposition from sinful men, so
that you will not grow weary and