Throughout the last few months, the Lord has been leading me through a process of surrender. I asked the Lord what He had for me in the approaching season, and when I leaned in, I heard Him speak the word, “intimacy.” Specifically, He said, “I want you to gain a better understanding of what it is like to walk in greater intimacy with Me.”
I thought it would be helpful to start with a good working definition of the word intimacy.
INTIMACY IS DEFINED AS, “CLOSE FAMILIARITY OR FRIENDSHIP; CLOSENESS.”
Other words used to describe intimacy are togetherness, affection and warmth.
I spent weeks meditating on these words and prayed for God to draw close and continue to make them a reality in my relationship with Him. He began revealing more of Himself and affirming me in who I am to Him. He prompted me to write down and daily declare who He says I am.
I began to declare, “I am God’s gift, bold, prophetic, joyous, excited, fun, humble, a leader and compassionate,” and every day, the Lord revealed more of His love and heart for me.
As I continued to declare these truths over myself, the word bold started to stand out. I knew the Lord had made me a bold man; however, my actions were not always in alignment with that truth. I began to wrestle with the idea of boldness.
One day, after feeling beaten down, I cried out, “God I know this who you say I am, but why am I not seeing boldness in myself”?
Right then, I sensed the Lord saying, “If you want to be bold, then you have to be free. In order to experience My freedom, you have to let Me into every place of your heart. It’s time to surrender.”
In that moment, I felt sick to my stomach. Looking back, I feel like I should have felt great joy or relief after hearing my Father speak to me, however, I felt distant. I realized that although God had been pursuing me, I hadn’t been willing to let Him in to every place in my heart.
In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus says to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (NASV)
Jesus offers us an invitation for eternal life in exchange for full surrender. We must set aside our own agendas and let Him lead. The Message puts it quite simply by stating, “He is in the driver’s seat. Not us.” We must submit it all– every aspect of our lives. He wants our whole heart.
THE QUESTION THEN BECAME, “WHAT WAS STOPPING ME FROM LETTING HIM INTO EVERY PLACE IN MY HEART?”
God revealed to me the “walls” I set up in my heart were built because I did not fully trust in His character. When we are not living from a place of trusting in the Lord, we often try to force or control our desired outcomes. For example, the Lord specifically told my wife and me it was time to buy a house and to trust Him for the financial provision. Initially my heart response was an excited “yes,” but the excitement soon wore off once I started focusing on the dollar signs. In a panic, I began racking my brain and surfing the web for my own solution for the financial provision.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says to, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NASV).
TRUSTING IS HAVING FULL CONFIDENCE IN THE CHARACTER OF GOD AND BELIEVING IN HIS GOODNESS, MERCY, LOVING-KINDNESS AND PURPOSES FOR OUR LIVES.
By prompting me to surrender, God was calling me into greater intimacy with Him. In His mercy and grace, He allowed me to see the places where I had not surrendered to Him. I began to intentionally surrender my heart to the Lord. I declared that He is Lord over my finances, my family and my job. I began relinquishing my rights of control over other areas as well.
THE ROOT OF CONTROL AND LACK OF TRUST IN MY OWN LIFE STEMMED FROM FEAR.
Fear that the Lord wouldn’t follow through on His end of the deal. Fear that He didn’t see me and that my needs would not be met. I had chosen to believe these lies, and they produced a heart full of fear.
God’s love is greater than all fear! Because He loves us with a GREAT LOVE, He is drawing us near to Him. He’s inviting us to fully put our trust in Him and walk in the deeper places of intimacy in which He always intended us to dwell.
I challenge you to take some time to look inside your own heart and ask God to show you the places that need to be surrendered to Him. Let Him meet you there. Accept His invitation to walk in full intimacy with Him.
By Nathan Smothers – Antioch Wheaton College and Worship Pastor