Devotional

“Falling in love in a Christian way is to say, ‘I am excited about your future and I want to be part of getting you there. I’m signing up for the journey with you. Would you sign up for the journey to my true self with me? It’s going to be hard but I want to get there.” – Tim Keller

God cares about how we relate with one another which is why we talk about relationships all the time at Northstar. Talking about relationships makes sense to us because all of our life is about relationships. From beginning to end, we spend our lives relating to others. We want to know and be known, to understand and be understood, to care and be cared for. And we want to love and be loved. But our relationships are often marked by tension, misunderstanding and distance rather than by the security, acceptance and the closeness we desire. Even our most intimate relationships are at times anything but what we want them to be. While it can sometimes seem like a stretch goal, intimacy in our relationships is the goal. 

In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus seeks to impress upon His disciples the importance of relationships. Jesus is referring to the importance of His relationship with them and with their relationship with one another.  1 John 1:3,7 says, “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ….We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” John gave God’s definition for intimacy. We cannot have one type of relationship with God and another type with people. Intimacy with God is the foundation. Intimacy with God creates intimacy with others.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals that our relationship with God affects our other relationships. As Christians, we want to experience intimacy with God. Psalm 73:28 tells us, “for me it is good to be near God.” And we want to hear and act on what James tells us in Chapter 4 verse 8: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you….” (James 4:8). We serve a living God, the original Father who’s heart aches for His children to have intimacy with Him. God wants to draw near to us. Sometimes we have a hard time drawing near to God which is why we should be thankful He works in ways that draws us, even when we don’t draw near on our own. In the same vein we can have intimacy in our relationships when we make it a point to draw near the other person even if they are not drawing near to us.

Intimacy with God is foundational for marriage, parenting and all relationships. A person cannot have an intimate relationship with God and not love his or her spouse and children the same way they are being loved by God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What causes a relationship to be classified as intimate?
  2. Intimacy is a risk. But it’s a risk worth taking. You can only experience the fullness and meaning of love when you take the risk of moving closer. Agree or disagree and why?
  3. What can we do this week to improve our relationships?