Restoring Intimacy with God (Hinson)
Restoring Intimacy with God
by Michael Hinson
I meet many people who once had a close intimate relationship with God and who are now doing everything they can to regain it. They have the belief that if they just read the Word more, or prayed more, attend church more, give more or attend one more worship or teaching conference, they can regain the intimacy that is missing in their lives. Although every one of these things is important and they will enhance your relationship with the Father, they are not the path to intimacy.
The intimacy you once felt in your heart for God began when you freely gave the Father your heart. That act alone will once again bring you back to intimacy with Him. It is hard to believe anyone can lose intimacy with the Father when He is perfect. The Father’s love never changes, but yours can. He never ignores or leaves you, but you can ignore or leave Him. Unfortunately, things happen that can draw you away from your first love. It does not mean that you do not “love” the Lord or are not in service to Him; however, it can mean the intimacy, the cornerstone of that love, is now gone and the relationship is not the same as it once was.
Jesus addressed this subject with the church in Ephesus. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Revelations 2:4-5).
Just like a spouse can lose intimacy with their mate, even though they still love them, you can love God but lose intimacy with Him. Not because God did things that hurt you or wounded you, but usually because you have expectations that God has not met. You may feel disappointed and let down, sometimes even abandoned by God when life does not turn out how you hoped it would. Some blame God for the actions of others, get angry, and choose to hold back a part of their heart from the very One Who can heal them.
Just as you do with your earthly relationships, you make a mental list of things that you want God to do for you. If God will meet your demands, then you will trust Him again. Doesn’t it sound silly when you read it in plain simple English? For some reason, you believe you cannot trust God with your heart. He did not do anything to hurt you, He did not abandon you and He is not responsible for the actions of those who hurt you. Unfortunately, your “perception” of Him would be altered because of a false belief.
It is possible for you to take back your heart from God piece by piece (hardening) over a period of time because of your misperceptions of God through your life experiences. God does not change, but our perception of Him can.
For example, you might have prayed for something to happen in your life. You prayed, believed and stood in faith, but the outcome was not what you expected. Maybe you experienced the death of a loved one even after you asked God to intervene. Or, while you endured a trial over an extended period of time, you called on God to help you in a particular way; but He did not come through in your timing or in the way you planned. You could have prayed and believed for your spouse, your child or a friend for a long time without any apparent change. The list of possible circumstances could go on and on.
Even though it can be tough to admit, you can feel hurt by events in your life that your loving Father allowed to happen or by prayers, He apparently did not choose to answer as you expected. Has this happened to you? Remember the importance of being open and honest with yourself in order to bring about change in your life. Be honest now.
You may have experienced a painful incident and you took your heart back. You may have reacted with a vow such as, “I will never trust God again!” “I will never love like that again!” “I’ll never serve anyone like that again!” or “I will never go to church until…” Possible vows could go on and on with infinite combinations of things you will never do again or never allow someone else to do to you. These are declarations of a hardened heart. You may have unknowingly taken back part of your heart from God. You may have been striving for intimacy with Him not understanding why it was gone in the first place.
You may have never given 100% of your heart to God when you first called on His name. By holding back part of your heart, you have never experienced true intimacy with your Father. Without surrendering all of your heart, your Christian walk has been hard because you are trying to live your life by your own strength, not His. This is identified by a constant struggle within your heart between the purposes of God and your own desires.
The Bible tells us in Luke 9:24: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. If you are hanging on by your own strength, you are tired and weary. You may avoid the church and Christian scene entirely, just showing up for special meetings occasionally. You may have taken your heart back because someone who professed Christ hurt you. Whether it was a pastor, church leader, teacher or just another Christian, this hurt was real to you.
You may be able to forgive what happened to you personally only to pick up a similar offense that happened to someone else. This injustice to someone else could become your new battle cry. You then carry their offense to justify the hardening of your heart. You unknowingly blame God for allowing an offense to happen and then are upset with God when He does not bring justice to the one who hurt you or your friend. Most believe they can get God’s attention by taking back part of their heart from Him. This is simply a form of “blackmail.” Those who practice this believe it will motivate God to correct the injustice.
When you are in the midst of pain and suffering, you do not always think about what you are doing in clear terms. When I explain to individuals what they have done in plain black and white terminology, they are often repelled by the truth they see in it. Usually, they are remorseful and repent immediately.
There is something that many people have in common. Many people have an unwritten list of things that God needs “to do” to gain their heart back. Some may not have a “list” but are instead eagerly waiting for God to pursue them with signs that would confirm His pursuit.
Let me make something very clear. God never changes even if our perception of Him does. If you have truly asked Him into your heart, He is living there no matter what you feel. He is patiently waiting for you to resume the intimacy you once had. He desires that you give Him all of your heart and lay down any conditions you have picked up since you originally asked Him into your heart. He waits for you to return to your first love and to live again in tune with His character and nature. If you recognize that intimacy is missing in your relationship with God, repeat this prayer from your heart.
“Father, I confess that there is a lack of intimacy in our relationship and I want that close intimacy with You. I am willing to lay all the conditions that I was expecting You to meet at Your altar. I ask You to forgive me for allowing my heart to be hardened towards You. I (your full Christian name) choose to give 100% of my heart to You, Father, from this day forth, in Jesus’ name. Father, I thank You for Your love that endures forever. Amen.”
I am not claiming this or any prayer will protect you from being hurt or disappointed again. Your heart in its non-hardened state is vulnerable. Indeed, there will be times when your faith and love will be tested. It will happen and it will not always be an easy test. If you want to maintain intimacy, you must not allow anything to harden your heart.
Michael Hinson has distinctive and revolutionary teachings that simplify every aspect of the Word of God. His instruction lays the foundation for a change of thinking (repentance) and ultimately healing in spirit, soul and body. His revelations on the nature and character of God lead people into a new reality of the life that Jesus bought for them.
Michael is known for his powerful gifts of healing and a strong gift of discernment. However, he is best known for his ability to bring healing to, and ignite flames in the hearts of people in need. His love for God’s Word and His people are united together in a ministry that truly reflects the Heart of God.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.