Intimacy …

by Jeremy O'Bryan

(… in which God allows us to choose to receive all that He is.)

Intimacy is like water. Like air. We need it to survive. The problem is that we flawed humans have a hard time discerning what exactly true intimacy is.

Is it sex? Is it cuddling? Is it friendship? Some combination of those? Why do the words we use to communicate relational themes fail to do justice to what intimacy is?

Because without God we can’t have true intimacy – we can only have sex or friendship or some emotional closeness or commitment. Intimacy without God is not intimacy, it’s something else.

In Christ, God: (1) shares with us all that He is, and (2) gives us an example of our emotional and spiritual selves. The picture of God’s intended relationship between Himself and man (1+2) is clear in His Word. God and His creation. Wholeness.

Now, He does not demand that we give ourselves to Him. Rather, He has revealed all to us in His Word and gives us the freedom to choose. This revelation can bring us to the place in which we decide to trust Him.

When we draw near to God, trusting in Him completely — that is, giving ourselves fully to Him emotionally and spiritually and inviting Him in – we experience all that He is to us. We experience true emotional and spiritual intimacy. We experience wholeness.

In our culture today, we speak of intimacy as if it were as simple as being physically or emotionally close to someone. But true intimacy, as God designed it to exist between humans, can only be obtained by combining (1) the nature of God in His example, with (2) choosing to give ourselves fully. (1+2)

Translate that concept into marriage. If God is absent, the equation cannot be proved. If choice is absent, the equation cannot be proved. So if a man hides his true self – that is, he keeps secrets or lives by lies – then he cannot access the nature of God. Thus the equation above cannot be proved.

If a woman gives herself to a man who has something to hide, then her choice to love is based not on knowing, but on a lie – true intimacy cannot be obtained because the equation is false.

In God’s design, true intimacy comes first between God and man, then again between a man and his wife in the marriage relationship. In either case it cannot come without the full disclosure of the full self – heart and mind and body and soul – to another.