The Longing for Intimacy without Shame
All of us have insatiable longings that can only be satisfied in communion with our heavenly Father. The longing to be enjoyed, fascinated, to gaze upon beauty, and to be someone great are driving forces within each of us. The longing to experience intimacy without shame, to be wholehearted, and to make a deep and lasting impact resound within each of us at the foundation of who we are. God created these longings knowing that they can only be fully satisfied in him—that they would be avenues to deeper relationship with him. As we look at each of these longings individually, I pray your heart would find its fulfillment in the loving nearness of your heavenly Father.
The titles and main concept for this week are all derived from The Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle and Deborah Hiebert.
Scripture:“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” Ephesians 2:4-5
All of humanity is in a constant search for intimacy. We devote ourselves to earning the affections of others, whether it be a close friend or a stranger. We long to be loved for who we truly are, but we've also been burned by others in attempt to find acceptance. We give our hearts to the world and hope others will satisfy our craving for acceptance—for love. And we've been rejected by the very people and systems in which we sought satisfaction. Still we press on. We mold and reshape ourselves; we change our image or personality. We project who we think we should be instead of who we are. We project who we feel others want us to be—believing the lie that who we really are isn’t enough. And all the while, we long to be fully known and accepted. We long for intimacy without shame.
This depiction holds true for all of us, because all of us have been affected by Adam and Eve’s original sin. It was in perfection that they chose sin over unfettered, boundless relationship with the Father. And Scripture says in Genesis 3:8 that Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” After God calls out to Adam and Eve, Adam responds by saying, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). Sin immediately and tragically brought shame, separation and destruction to perfect intimacy.
And so often we live our lives as if Scripture stopped with Genesis 3:10. We live our lives apart from the revelation of God’s unconditional love and affection for us. Genesis 3:21 tells us, “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” God created a covering for their shame. He met them in their weakness and provided for them. And just as God covered Adam and Eve with garments to cover their shame, he’s made a way for us today. In our weakness and shame God meets us and calls us lovely. He’s clothed us with the perfect, righteous nature of Christ. Our lives are perfectly hidden in his. In his grace he wraps his arms around us and tells us of his great love. He speaks truth where lies have resounded. He speaks life where there seemed to only be death. He brings light to the darkest, most desolate places of our hearts. Only his grace abounding could lead us back into the fold of his loving-kindness. Redemption and love fill the weak frame of man with the glory of God. We are dust transformed into the very likeness of the living God. Our destiny will always be intimacy without shame—to be fully loved and fully known by our perfect Father.
Take time in guided prayer to assess your own heart. In what ways are you still hiding from God as Adam and Eve did? In what ways have you veiled your heart as if God didn’t already rip the veil separating him from us in two? May your time in guided prayer be filled with new levels of intimacy as you allow God to fully know you and bring light to darkness.
1. Take time to acknowledge any shameful places in your life you've hidden from God and others. In what ways are you veiling your heart? What do you long to keep in darkness?
2. Now meditate on God's love for you. God loves you completely, no matter what you've done. He longs to be with you no matter how ashamed you might feel.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” Ephesians 2:4-5
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
3. Open your heart to God. Talk to him about any shameful places in your life. Receive a revelation of his unconditional love. Allow him to bring his healing light to your heart as you rest in his love.
Allowing ourselves to be fully known is always scary. We fear that if we are fully known and then rejected we’ll have nothing left to hold on to. But until we allow ourselves to be fully known it will be impossible to satisfy our longing to be fully loved. Opening your heart, your past, your weaknesses, and your failures to God is the only path to healing and freedom. Allowing God to reveal his unconditional love for you when you’ve opened up about your worst pain, thoughts, and sins will fill you with a love and security you never knew was possible. Open your heart to your loving heavenly Father today and experience the love that can only come with being fully known.
Extended Reading: Ephesians 2
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