There are many spiritual battles we engage in throughout our Christian life, but I believe the greatest one is the battle for intimacy with the Lord. A fruitful life in the Kingdom flows out of intimacy. The character and nature of Jesus is formed in us through intimacy with Him. It is no wonder that this is the area so often assaulted with distractions, insecurities and disappointments.
Have You Been Disillusioned and Disappointed?
How often have you, the reader, cried out for deeper engagement in the Lord only to find emptiness and silence? How many times have you attempted to seek His face with all of your heart and were pulled on by distraction from every direction? How often have you left your devotional time disappointed and with hope deferred? This, my friend describes the battle for intimacy. The enemy will attempt to pull us from the posture that is the most critical to our life in God – the posture of abiding; the posture of intimacy.
Recently, I had a talk with a good friend who just returned from Mozambique where she spent some time with Heidi Baker. Heidi told her, “You have no idea the battle I have fought to maintain intimacy and to fight distraction.” Intimacy – this is the battlefield. This is what the enemy desires to steal more than anything! If he can steal our intimacy with the Lord, he gets everything. Intimacy is the most important factor in our Christian experience, and when you understand the importance of something, you are willing to fight for it.
What does intimacy look like? What does it feel like? A number of years ago, I felt so desperate to connect to the Lord in intimacy. I set a month apart to seek His face…and I did! The first 10 days were gruelling. I cried out to God with deep longings for intimacy. I so wanted to connect with Him. Hour by hour, I would cry out to Him. I had felt so distanced and distracted, and now was my time to really connect. Although I cried out by the hour, confessed any sin that might be in the way, engaged in warfare, fasted, stayed up many nights, I still could not sense the Lord’s presence, and I definitely didn’t feel intimate. I was so disappointed. I had never been so desperate and yet so empty and unfulfilled in my longings. I was on my knees, and in tears, pounding the floor as I cried out in desperation, “Lord, where are You?!” On the 10th day of faithfully seeking Him, I finally heard Him speak to my heart. His still, small voice said, “I am right here. I have been here all the time. Why did you doubt?”
I realized at that point that I had been in an “anxious hoping mode” rather than a “believing mode”. I was hoping to be intimate, but I was not believing I could be. I was longing for His presence and so wanting Him close to me that I had not determined that He was right there. Hebrews 11:6 was highlighted in my heart at that time: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must first believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
I had to BELIEVE that He was right there, and that He was meeting my heart’s desire. Faith is different from hope. Hope is an expectation, but faith is the substance of what we hope for. It is the evidence of what we do not see. (see Hebrews 11:1)
You Cannot Be Any More Intimate Than You Are Right Now
Over the next number of months He taught me more about the faith required to walk in intimacy. I remember once when I cried out in worship. “Oh Lord, I want to be intimate with You.” I was worshipping but felt empty and emotionless. In this state, I felt condemned. I have always known the importance of intimacy but seldom felt it. I found myself striving in that worship session. In the midst of my desperation, the Lord whispered, “You can not be any more intimate with Me than you are right now.” That took me by surprise. I didn’t feel intimacy, only emptiness. What did this mean? He further revealed that His finished work on the cross was the deepest embrace that God could ever express to mankind. He said, “You are in Me, and I am in you. We are one for eternity. You can’t get any more intimate than that.”
Immediately I began to worship from a different perspective. Instead of hoping to be intimate, I believed I was. This was not based on what I felt. It was based on what was true. The enemy tried to throw all his usual lies at me, “You are not loved by God, and you are failing in your love for Him. He is disappointed with you because you are falling short of intimacy. Look at your friends. Now, they know how to be intimate, but not you. You fall short.” This time, the accusations didn’t stick. My intimacy with the Lord was not based on what I felt–it was based on what was true. I pressed in and won the battle.
The battle for intimacy is not a one-time fight. It is constant, and we need to know how to stand. The enemy will use many measures to distract us. Condemnation, busyness, lack of focus, distractions with time priorities, and insecurities are a few. We need to learn to fight through all of these things. This is the battle for intimacy.
The Following Are Some Practical Things that Can Assist You in the Battle:
Believe that you are loved and cherished by God, and that He deeply longs for intimacy with you.
Believe that you have been drawn into intimacy through the finished work of the cross. Let all striving go, and believe that you are already intimate. Rest in the truth.
Set time aside each day to worship Him…to love Him…and to pursue Him in faith. Write this time on your daily calendar as a priority. Do not let anything distract you.
If distractions come as you are worshipping Him and engaging in intimacy, fight them off and do not get discouraged. The enemy loves to discourage. Press through while resting in faith. The Lord will honor your fight. Even if you spend a whole hour battling off mental distractions, it is better than not spending time with the Lord. He will reward you. Continue to battle. You will get a breakthrough. Keep your focus on Jesus.
Journaling helps you to keep focused. You might like to write down what He reveals to you and also write love letters to Him. You can meditate on these precious things weeks, months and even years later.
Abide in the Word. Spend time in the scriptures each day, and allow the Lord to speak His heart to you.
War in the heavenlies. We can battle against the enemy’s strategies through prayer and declaration of the Word. This wins the battle in the heavenlies before it hits the earth. Contend for intimacy for yourself and the rest of the Body. What you sow into others you will also reap.
Throughout the day look for opportunities to express love to the Lord. Keep this as your priority in life. He loves your love. It is a gift to Him. Express you love both verbally and through silent prayer throughout your day.
- Make intimacy a lifestyle. This is not something that you engage in for an hour a day; this is something that you live.
The scripture says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” You are guaranteed a win! The battle for intimacy has been won for you in Christ. Take the victory by faith and don’t let go. Declare war against every distraction that has been thrown at you. The devil will be sorry he ever tried. Put the pursuit of intimacy high on your list of priorities. It is your inheritance in Christ.
- Pray for the Body of Christ to be protected from the enemy’s assault in the area of intimacy with the Lord.
- Pray for grace (God’s divine influence upon the heart) to be poured out on His people in the area of intimacy.
- Pray for your own personal breakthrough.
- Believe that increased faith will be released in the area of intimacy.
- Pray for a spirit of worship to fill the people of God.
- Pray against distractions.
- Ask the Lord for breakthroughs for His Body in the area of intimacy and worship.
- Pray for children to be drawn into intimacy with the Lord at an early age (even from infancy).
- Pray for ministries and leaders in the Body of Christ to establish intimacy as a priority.
- Pray for powerful, tangible visitations of the Lord’s presence for those who are seeking Him.
I am praying for breakthroughs for all who read this. The Battle for Intimacy is won, and the victory is yours to enjoy!
Bless each and every one of you.