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Dr. Richard Barnor is an author, preacher, speaker, and among the company of an emerging group of apostolic teachers that God is raising up around the world.   He serves as President of River of Life Missions, Inc., International, which he co-founded for the purpose of raising and training Christian leaders in developing nations.

Richard attended Fountain Gate College in Texas and holds a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Christian Life School of Theology in Columbus, Georgia.   During his early walk, he was mentored by Dr. Fuchsia Pickett and currently is associated with the Federation of Ministers and Churches under the leadership of Jim Hodges, an apostle.

Recently Richard and his wife, Rev. Rocinda Barnor started a new apostolic church in Plano, Texas.   In addition to pastoring Fountain of Life International Church with Rocinda, he also serves on the advisory board of the Plano/Richardson Women’s Aglow Chapter.   His ministry has taken him across Africa, Europe and North America.

Richard recently completed his first book, Divine Intimacy—An Invitation to Passionate Love, where he shares his experience of a passionate encounter with God that has radically transformed his relationship with the Lord.   He currently resides in the Dallas Metroplex with his wife, two lovely daughters and a wonderful son.  

Richard Barnor, Divine Intimacy, An Invitation to Passionate Love; Essence Publishing.  

Order from: Richard Barnor; 1522 Coral Reef Lane; Wylie, Texas 75098 ($13.95 + $3.00 p & h; TX residents add 8.25% sales tax) Rbarnor@mindspring.com

Chapter 5 from Divine Intimacy

by Richard Barnor

"The Challenges of Intimacy"

In our last chapter we discovered more implications of the planting of the Lord and what lessons God desired to teach us through the analogy of husbandry.   We saw the importance of the seed as the Word of God and how a proper understanding of scripture is vital to pursuing intimacy with God.   We also saw seed as faith that is not good until it is released.   Seed also requires the right environment to flourish.   That speaks of the importance of the spiritual atmosphere in the local church where the believer can mature spiritually.   Finally we learned how receiving the Father’s love impacts our quest for intimacy with God.   The question we need to ask ourselves at this juncture is, if God had done everything to insure our success in our quest for intimacy with Him, why are so many believers lagging far behind when it comes to experiencing God in an intimate way?     Why does divine intimacy sound like something for the Bible greats or a select few?     You see, intimacy requires our full cooperation.   If we are not experiencing it, the problem is not from God’s end, rather than blaming God or circumstances, we need to take a close look at ourselves.   As I said earlier, nothing worthwhile in the kingdom of God comes without a price tag.   Intimacy with God is no exception.   We have to count the cost otherwise we will keep looking back.

In this chapter I want us to consider some challenges that each of us will face, and how to overcome them.   There are two types of challenges.   The first is what I call hurdles or roadblocks that we will have to deal with individually.   These hurdles are unique to us because of factors such as our past environment, level of spiritual maturity and our own personality.   These are the roadblocks that are designed by the enemy to discourage us even before we begin.   However, when we get around these roadblocks and begin to make progress, the enemy doesn’t give up on us, he gets more aggressive with different tactics.   This second aspect is what I call potential pitfalls of intimacy.   One important truth we need to grasp is, if the enemy does not succeed at stopping us in our tracks, he will seek to influence us in other ways once we accomplish a measure of success.   You see, what the devil cannot totally destroy he will seek to thwart in order to serve his own purposes.   Let me illustrate this from some of the lessons we learn from Adam and Eve in the garden.

The condition of nakedness

Genesis 2:25 (KJV) and they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3:7 (KJV) And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

In the Garden of Eden, the place of intimacy, the Bible tells us that its most important occupants, Adam and Eve, were naked, but they were not ashamed.   The word naked here is the same Hebrew word that is used in several references in the Old Testament to mean nudity.   Not only were they not ashamed of each other, they were also not ashamed of God because in verse eight of the same chapter, the Bible records that God had a specific time of day when He would walk through the garden and talk to them.

I think this is remarkable! This condition of nakedness without shame continued as long as they lived in right relationship to God.   However, when that relationship was affected by their disobedience, the first thing they did when they heard God walking through the garden was to hide.   What brought about the knowledge of their nakedness?     What does nakedness speak to us about in our pursuit of standing in the very place Adam and Eve stood?    

Nakedness speaks of intimacy.

The only appropriate place for nakedness without shame in the Kingdom of God between a man and a woman is within the bounds of the marriage relationship.   Notice I chose my words carefully because we live in a society where even Christians very often get influenced by the thinking of the world.   Nakedness within the context of marriage speaks of the sexual intimacy between husband and wife who are united as one.   Anything outside of that carries with it the judgment of God and consequently shame and guilt.

The spiritual implication here is just as the condition of nakedness without shame was necessary for intimacy with God in the garden, it is also necessary for the believer today who wants to experience God in the place of intimacy.   Mind you, I am referring to a spiritual application.   We should be able to fully pursue intimacy with God without any shame whatsoever.   For some Christians this is not the case.   This is a challenge each of us will have to overcome because Satan, our arch-enemy, whom the Bible calls “the accuser of the brethren” [Revelation 12:10], stands to accuse us to God day and night.   Besides Satan, there is the issue of our flesh that reminds us of our unworthiness because of our questionable past and our present shortcomings.   It truly breaks my heart when I hear sincere people wanting to serve God ask, "but how can He love me knowing all I have done?" Some spend their whole Christian lives without fully accepting God's true forgiveness and hence are not able to commune with God without shame.   The devil seems to like this method because it really works.   It is what keeps the world from coming to Christ because they already feel ashamed as a result of sin.   For the Bible says in Romans 3:23 (KJV) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.   ‘Short of the glory’ is missing the mark God has set for us.   When we appropriate the blood of Christ, by repentance and cleansing of our hearts from sin, the writer of Hebrews then urges us in chapter 4, verse 16, to therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in times of need.   Notice how we are to approach God; not with our heads bowed, but boldly because we have no shame.   For you see, shamefulness is the human condition without the cleansing blood of God's own son.   He is the only provision and answer to our shamefulness.   However, nakedness is when we boldly stand in God’s presence with nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of because even though He knows everything about us, yet He never condemns us.

This truth has to affect our hearts.   We must learn to receive the Word of God for what it’s worth, truth, for God does not lie.   When we believe the truth, it will change our way of thinking and our way of thinking will also affect our perceived identity in Christ.

Intimacy requires unconditional love.

The condition of nakedness existed in the garden because God was present in His full glory.   That means Adam and Eve experienced His unconditional love.   You see, God does not just possess love; rather according to I John 5:7 He is love.   Therefore, wherever God chooses to display His glory or dwell, His unconditional love will also be present.   Notice that this condition of nakedness existed first between God and Adam, secondly between Adam and Eve, and thirdly all three, God, Adam and Eve.   What this teaches us is the highest level of intimacy we can experience in the spiritual is first with God.   The second highest level in both the natural and spiritual should be with our spouses.   When we fully accept the unconditional love of God, it is not only easy to give that to our spouses, but also easy to receive it in return.   The Greek word "agape" describes this kind of love.   Unconditional love means there is nothing I can do to make God change His mind about His love for me.   It also means there is nothing I can do in order to deserve that love.   Therefore, I don't ever have to approach God in fear or question His intentions.   I don’t have to strive for His acceptance or do extraordinary works to gain His attention.   I can be free to be all that He created me for and truly enjoy His presence without trepidation.   God demonstrated this love by laying down His life for us in the person of His own son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins [John 3:16].   Just as Jesus laid down His life for the church, Paul the Apostle in Ephesians 5:22 commands husbands to love their wives with this same kind of love.   This kind of love is foreign to the world because it is not based on education, intelligence, looks, social status or any such thing that the world associates love with.   For intimacy to occur, this kind of atmosphere has to prevail.   We cannot make it happen on our own.   However, we have to overcome the challenge of interpreting God's word in light of our own experiences and expectations, but rather wholeheartedly receive His unconditional love and fully believe what He says about us.   For it is impossible to experience true intimacy with God if there is any reservation on our part.

Unconditional love produces transparency.  

Nakedness again also speaks of transparency.   For where there is unconditional love, people are free to be transparent and be who they really are.   Transparency is the ability to be real; the real you under any circumstances.   Transparency is when people don't have to filter through the facade to reach the real you.   It is as one preacher puts it, "What you see is what you get".   This aspect is both a challenge and a pitfall for any Christian because it has been a major hindrance to many non-Christians in coming to Christ.   It is living for God on Sunday and living for the devil the rest of the week.   It is, according to Paul, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5).  

This condition of transparency first has to happen in our intimacy with God.   The hymn writer of Rock of Ages says it best in one of his stanzas.   "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling".   It is approaching God just as I am.   A lot of Christians are afraid of intimacy with God because they don't want to approach God just the way they are.   This has also been fueled by the misconception that only perfect people go to church.   So many times when I talk to unchurched people about God I get the same reply.   It is, "one of these says I am going to straighten up my life then I will serve God".   The truth is many have tried and have failed which drives a further wedge between them and God.   Jesus died for sinners.   The first step to responding and receiving the love of God is to admit that we are hopeless sinners and then approach God just as we are and ask for His forgiveness.   If there is a problem with addiction, we need that transparency to cry out to God for deliverance.   If it is a character flaw, we need to be transparent enough to ask God to help us change.   Because it is rather easy to go to church Sunday after Sunday and live in sin than to cry out to God in despair because we are overwhelmed by our hypocrisy.   It gets even harder after a few years of serving God, because people know us as Christians or as leaders in the church.   Therefore, it gets very easy to fall into the performance mode.   We become like the Pharisees in Jesus' day who were more performance oriented than relationship oriented.   This is a potential pitfall because it is often too common in the church and among Christian leaders.   I believe transparency and authenticity are inseparable.   It is freedom from the pressures of living up to the status quo.   It is also freedom to accept ourselves as God made us and also live with the understanding that there will never be another like us because of our uniqueness.   We don't have to be under the enslavement of performance because we are afraid if people really discover the real us they may not like us or associate with us anymore.   Marks of transparency and authenticity are not feminine characteristics as some might believe.   Rather it is the freedom as a man to admit that I need help, or I am afraid, or the ability to cry when I really hurt.   You see, society says, "real men don't cry".   Well, Jesus cried and there has never been any man more real than He was.   Intimacy with God is fun.   We are supposed to enjoy it because God delights in us.   When we fail the challenge of transparency it becomes a religion as we shall discover later.   For you see, religion is performance based not relationship oriented.

Transparency is humbling.

Transparency before God humbles us; for there is no other way of approaching God than with the brokeness and contrition of our own hearts.   It is coming to God in our filthy garments in exchange for His robe of righteousness.   It is admitting that all of our resources and efforts are like filthy rags.   It is laying down all of our strengths, our accomplishments, our trophies, our hopes and dreams in exchange for what God truly desires.   It is giving up our agenda for His.   David, the prophet, priest and king, understood this so well when he asked:

Psalm 24:3 (KJV) Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?     Or who may stand in His holy place?     He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

Some translations translate "pure heart" as humble heart.   I believe it is fitting because as we discovered in our earlier chapter, the hill of the Lord or the mountain of the Lord is none other than the place of intimacy, the place where God dwells.   The ability to humble ourselves as we pursue intimacy is both a challenge for beginners and a potential pitfall for the maturing because the devil will tempt us with what caused his own downfall as we shall see more of later.

Transparency affects others.

Secondly, true transparency with God impacts others, and draws them to Him because they desire what we have.   The world wants real people.   Children want real parents.   The church wants real leaders.   I hope you are beginning to understand what I am trying to get across.

My wife and I were truly impacted during our Bible school days by two special people who mentored us, Dr.   Fuschia Pickett and the late Dr. Sam Sassar.   Both had one thing in common as we grew to love and appreciate them.   It was because of this quality of transparency and authenticity that they both exhibited.   I believe just like these two, our lives of transparency will continue to affect the lives of many while we are still alive and will continue to bless countless others long after we have gone to be with the Lord.

Intimacy with God is not me, myself and God syndrome.   We are not to do it at the exclusion of all others.   When we truly touch the heart of God, people in our immediate circle are going to be impacted.   That is how God advances His kingdom through us.

We must respect the law of boundaries.

As we discovered earlier, intimacy with God is not for the fainthearted.   Actually it is people of intimacy who the enemy seeks out because they pose a threat to his kingdom.   I believe there is so much to be learned from the earthly garden where the first Adam failed and also the garden where the last Adam (Jesus) triumphed over the temptation and the threat of a horrible death.

Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)

 26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Notice that man's domain according to God was to be over everything that God had created.   As a matter of fact, he was to be over the whole earth.   His domain therefore was twofold.   For he had another domain where God instructed him to protect.   In Genesis 2:15, the King James Version of the Bible reads, And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.   The Hebrew word "keep" is "shamar", which is translated to hedge about (as with thorns), to guard or protect or serve as a watchman.

In other words, Adam was to exercise God's delegated authority to subdue the whole earth.   Subdue means to bring under full control or cause to conform to a particular pattern or state.   That is an indication that things were not the way God intended for them to be on the earth because there was somebody already on the earth who would try to mess things up.   Adam's mandate was therefore to exercise the authority of God throughout the whole earth and bring it into conformity to God's will.

Notice, however, the mandate for the garden, the place of intimacy, was different.   God did not command Adam to subdue the garden, rather he was to protect it.   Why did the garden need protection and from whom?     The answer is the same.   There was an enemy out there who would try to mess things up.   It is therefore fitting to conclude that Adam could only subdue the rest of the earth depending on how well he protected his immediate turf that is the garden.   You are probably wondering what in the world does this have to do with intimacy.   Well, it has everything to do with it.   You see, Adam did not do a good job of defending his immediate turf.   The devil defeated him and caused his downfall right there on his own turf.

I believe both mandates apply to us today.   We have a commission to take the good news of salvation to every corner of the globe and to extend the government of God where He is not in full control.   That is the subduing of the whole earth with God's rule and reign.   However, each of us have our own gardens that we are supposed to protect and how well we protect our own garden against the enemy will determine how much territory we can successfully subdue out there.   The law of boundaries presupposes that we need to differentiate between our immediate boundaries from our farthest boundaries.  

The potential pitfall of intimacy for the Christian is to confuse the boundaries.   It is another favorite tactic of the enemy.   You see, the immediate boundary was the garden.   The garden as we have discovered speaks of intimacy.   It was the place of pleasure for God.   It was His abode.   He fellowshipped with man there.   It was his focus on earth as we discovered earlier.   For Adam the garden was the place of creation.   It was the place where he didn't have to perform.   His duty there was easy because nothing had been polluted by the infection of sin.   However, the rest of the earth was duty.   It was work for it was governed by another ruler who wanted to infiltrate the garden.

The pitfall to watch out for as we pursue intimacy with God is leaving our garden unprotected as we try to reach the world for Christ.   Earlier in this book I illustrated this with the Ephesian church that was condemned by Jesus for departing from their first love.   For the Ephesian church their first love was the garden.   Their second, third, and fourth loves were outside the garden.   They got so busy executing everything but the first love that Jesus had to write them a letter to return to their first love; the place of devotion and intimacy.  

Our priestly ministry that is our immediate boundary should always precede our kingly ministry.   We need to serve before we can be entrusted with rulership.   The enemy knows that if we are weak in protecting our own turf, we will not be effective in extending the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.   Notice when Adam was tempted by the devil and defeated on his own turf, God drove him out of the garden.   God then stationed angels to guard the garden, because the garden was never meant for the devil and God was not about to let him have it.   Adam, however, got into the real world but was ineffective because he had misplaced his priorities.   You see, he couldn’t subdue the earth as he was supposed to because God meant for that to happen from within the garden.   I believe this message needs to permeate today’s church more than anytime in history because in our eagerness to serve God, we have placed the cart before the horse.   We are so busy serving God that we have no time for Him.   Intimacy with God requires today’s church to place devotion above duty.   I believe this is more crucial because we are nearer to the last days than any other time since the early church.   I believe the Father is excited about Jesus second coming not as a judge, but rather to receive unto Himself a devoted bride, not a busy one.

Guard your heart.

I believe the immediate boundary also speaks of the human heart.

Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

The contemporary English version reads "carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life".

Interestingly, the Hebrew word translated issue in the KJV is the word "border" or "boundary".   My translation therefore will read something like this, "carefully guard and protect your heart because it determines your perceived boundaries towards living." There is only one place in the Kingdom of God for the human heart.   It is total submission at the feet of Jesus.   Why does the heart need protection?     We are told in Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.   Who can know it?   If we don't guard our heart, the deception of the heart will cause us to draw boundaries that are not in line with God's.  You see, because Eve did not guard her heart, she believed the devil's lie and ate the forbidden fruit with her husband, which cost both of them Divine Intimacy.   How do you guard your heart?   Look at Paul's admonition:

Ephesians 6:12-18

12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Guard your home.

Another immediate boundary we are to guard is our home.   For every married man, his sphere of influence starts from his own house.   I Timothy 3:4 says if a man know not how to rule* his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?     For the Apostle Paul, faithfulness as a delegated authority in the leadership of the local church is only an extension of supposedly faithfulness within one's own house.   This is a real potential pitfall for every leader in the church.   I have been acquainted, growing up as a preacher's kid, with a few world renown ministers, whose names I care not to mention, who had large successful ministries impacting nations, but their home lives were a total mess.   Besides the issue of the home lives, I began to question God about how He could use them so powerfully after I got to know some of them more intimately and discovered things that raised more questions in my mind than were answered.   Don't misunderstand me, this is not a leadership "thing".   It applies to all of us.   It is only amplified when one is in a leadership role.

Boundaries are not hindrances.   God designed them for our own good because He knows us too well.   For Adam's failure to protect his boundary cost him the one most important reason for his existence.   It brought an awareness of his nakedness and vulnerability.   As Christians today, if we fail to protect our boundaries, our pursuit of intimacy will end in total failure and render us ineffective in the Kingdom of God.

Fig leaves as covering.

Another challenge I feel is appropriate to deal with, is the tendency to experience intimacy with God man's way.   My friend and Pastor, Dr. Gary Stewart, admonished me with a word of wisdom that should also be a word of wisdom to anyone seeking to be intimate with God.   He said, "God will give you a vision, but the devil will show you how to fulfill it." The devil has an answer for any problem that we face and believe me he would volunteer that answer without our consent.   Just make a visit to your local Christian bookstore and you will soon discover that all of the shelves are filled with books by the "experts" on any subject available including intimacy with God.   As pure as the author's intents may be, we need to cultivate a daily habit of hearing from God through His Word, the Holy Spirit and whatever medium He uses to speak to us.   We need to guard against submitting our personal ability to hear from God through some televangelist, pastor, teacher, author or a prophet.   The beauty of hearing God for yourself is you personally gain ownership of that word.   When the Holy Spirit breathes on a word of scripture in your quiet time with God, it speaks to you where you are.   God handpicks the words just for you.   No amount of commentaries can make them more poignant.   However, when God chooses to use other people to confirm what He has already spoken to you in secret, that only confirms your ability to hear God correctly.

In our previous lesson we saw how Satan defeated Adam and Eve on their own turf because they failed to protect the garden as God instructed them to do.   It is one thing to fall to the deceit of the enemy, but it is another to do what followed as we shall see.   Let's look at:

Genesis 3:6-7

 6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

In verse seven the Bible records that their eyes were opened and they became aware of their nakedness.   What they did to cover their nakedness is a potential pitfall that all who desire intimacy with God must guard against.   "They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons".   There are a lot of Christians today who stand in this same place where Adam and Eve stood.   Somehow, they have failed to understand that when it comes to intimacy with God, He requires complete nakedness, except for the robe that He provides, spiritually speaking.   Let's see what we can learn from the Bible about figs.   Figs were a prized crop throughout the Bible.   They symbolized peace and prosperity.   It was the one plant that everyone was proud to have on their property.   I believe fig leaves symbolize man's attempt at gaining the peace, prosperity and all of the blessings of the Kingdom that are rightfully his.   It is man's ways, efforts, strategy, devices, or in a nutshell, religious attempts at reaping God's blessings.   It represents the danger of substituting our efforts for God's provision.   I believe sincere Christians can have a lot of fig leaves.   For some, ten percent of their income to the church makes them feel that God requires nothing else of them.   For others it can mean devotion to a denomination that is stagnant with human tradition, thus resisting the new move of God.   While for others it can mean an office in a local church.   Of course, no book can address all of the fig leaves that we sew as aprons, but I think the point is clear.

Adam and Eve admitted their nakedness by trying to cover up their bodies.   The sad fact today is so many of us don't even know the difference.   Let's take a look at a church that fell into that trap.

The Laodicean church was a church of "fig leaves".

Revelations 3:14

14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The Laodicean church indeed was covered with fig leaves.   They had so much to be boastful of.   Besides their location in a city that gained her reputation as "the most self sufficient city of the ancient world", this church boasted of its wealth, prosperity and self sufficiency (v.17) on the other hand, Jesus reminded them of their wretchedness, misery, poverty, spiritual blindness and nakedness.   You see, they did not realize their nakedness because they had covered it all with the seemingly good stuff.   Notice again their nakedness wasn't the kind that drew them into divine intimacy, it was rather the nakedness that produced shame (v.18).   Jesus said in verse 18 that the only garments acceptable in the place of intimacy are white raiment that speak of the righteousness that God clothes the believer with.   This fits so well with the account of Adam and Eve's fall in Genesis.   In Genesis 3:21, the Bible records that Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.   The "coats of skins" speak of the shedding of blood.   It was a picture of the Lamb of God who would later shed his precious blood as a ransom for the sin of Adam's race.   The coats of skin speak of the robe of righteousness that God clothes the believer with [Isaiah 61:10].  

The Laodicean church had slowly fallen into the pitfall of complacency because of their spiritual lethargy.   They were neither cold, nor hot.   They lost their spiritual passion and consequently had settled for "whatever".   The state of complacency gives the feeling that we have played our part and now it is God's turn.   It has the element of pride that we have helped God out and that He owes us something in return.   We shall read more about this in a later chapter.   This leads to spiritual blindness.   It makes us feel comfortable, secure and content, thus losing our passion for God.   It is rather sad that something as precious as divine intimacy can have these potential devastating results when people fail to be on their guard.   If you need proof just ask yourself what happened to most of the pioneering churches and institutions that once burned with fire and passion for God and were so instrumental in birthing the latter rain and charismatic movements in America during the 1940s and 60s.

The cure for this condition is the anointing of our eyes to see what our true condition is (v.18).   They understood this very well because Laodicea was also a large medical center of the ancient world.   In the medical field one of the things they were famous for was a special ointment of healing for sore eyes referred to in verse 18 as eye salve.

I believe the constant prayer of the Child of God in pursuit of intimacy should be what my good friend, songwriter and international worship leader Steve Griffing echoes in the following song:

"Anoint my eyes to see".

"Anoint my eyes to hear".

"Anoint my heart that I might receive

And my will that I might obey".

* Nowhere in the New Testament is the husband instructed to rule his wife.   In Paul's letter to Timothy, an elder is to rule his household and his children.   As co-equals in the household, the husband and wife share jointly in that rulership.

This is an excellent book and we recommend it however we felt the need to comment regarding a statement on p. 86, "as the delegated head of the home and as the patriarchal figure of the marriage covenant." Although the commonly accepted meaning of "head" is one of authority or superior position, "head" is regarded as the source and sustainer and nourisher of life and does not mean that the husband exercises final authority over his wife.   Barnor uses "patriarchal" merely to make the point of God as "Papa" and not as one who supports the patriarchy view of male domination over the woman.

To order Divine Intimacy write to Richard Barnor, 1522 Coral Reef Lane; Wylie, Texas 75098 ($13.95 + $3.00 p & h; TX residents add 8.25% sales tax) Rbarnor@mindspring.com 

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