9/06/2014

Intimacy: Outline, Quotes

"O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you..." (Ps 63:1, NLT). [I is for Intimacy.]

Theme: God created us for intimacy. No one can truly live happily without it. Jesus was the happiest man who ever lived, because of his unbroken intimacy with the One who loved him.

"Some of us know at times what it is to be almost too happy to live! The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions, that we have almost had to ask for a stay of the delight because we could not endure any more. If the glory had not been veiled a little, we should have died of excess of rapture, or happiness." Charles Spurgeon.

How To Have Intimacy
  1. A true knowledge of God and of ourselves (John Calvin, Institutes, Chap. 1, Sec. 1,2). "There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God."
    • "How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self? Grant, Lord, that I may know myself, that I may know thee." Augustine.
    • "There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him." Thomas Merton.
    • Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself." Oswald Chambers."Being most deeply your unique self is something that God desires, because your true self is grounded in Christ. God created you in uniqueness and seeks to restore you to that uniqueness in Christ. Finding and living out your true self is fulfilling your destiny." David G. Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself.
    • "Intimacy begins with oneself. It does no good to try to find intimacy with friends, lovers, and family if you are starting out from alienation and division within yourself." Thomas Moore (author, former Catholic monk), Care of the Soul."
    • Solitude is very different from a 'time-out' from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially open for a deeper intimacy with each other." Henri Nouwen.
  2. The love of the Father (Jn 3:161 Jn 4:816Jer 31:3).
  3. The grace of the Son (Ac 20:242 Tim 2:1Gal 2:20Eph 2:8-9). "The dominant characteristic of an authentic spiritual life is the gratitude that flows from trust - not only for all the gifts that I receive from God, but gratitude for all the suffering. Because in that purifying experience, suffering has often been the shortest path to intimacy with God." Brennan Manning.
  4. The presence of the Holy Spirit: love, joy and peace (Gal 5:22-23) and freedom (2 Cor 3:17). "The glory of God is man fully alive." St. Irenaeus (130-202 AD; early church father, apologist, bishop). This suggests that unless there is an intimacy between God and man, life may not feel like life.
  5. Having family, friends and a safe church who truly love you, care for you, and are invested in your life, future, success and happiness, while respecting you and not violating your boundaries.
* What John Calvin wrote in Institutes about the two most important things to know (bold italics headings are mine):

True wisdom consists of two connecting parts. OUR wisdom, ...true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.

No person can know themselves without turning to God. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without ... turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that (what) we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; (no), that our very being is nothing (but sustenance from God). ...those blessings which unceasingly (come) to us from heaven, are like streams (leading) us to the fountain.

Until we know how bad we are, we cannot know how good God is. ...(infinite) good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. ...our feeling of ignorance, ...weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell...true...exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil...to consider the good things of God; ...indeed, we can't aspire to Him in earnest until we begin to be displeased with ourselves.

Until you truly know yourself, you won't seek God. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? ...so long as he is unknown to himself; ...contented with his own (life), and unconscious...of his misery?

No true self-knowledge is ever possible without contemplating God, because in our pride we always think we're basically OK, not that bad... since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, to flattering ourselves.

Until we see God for who He truly is...we'll never enjoy intimacy with him.