Building and Maintaining Intimacy for Families
In our on-going quest to find deeper intimacy in our lives, the focus of Mission Intimacy now turns to the family. Ah, the family! There are so many emotions, good and bad, that spring to mind when we think of this topic. For some, the subject of family is one of warmth and comfort. For others it brings thoughts and feelings of pain, hurt and difficulty. For most, it is a mixed bag of both the good and the bad, the warmth and the hurt, the fun and the friction.
I want to spend our time together looking forward, not looking back. Please, don’t think that I am discounting the need to look back and find help and healing from past hurts. My goal for these words however, is to encourage all of us to look forward and see where God would have us “go” when it comes to deepening intimacy with our families.
I believe that where God wants us to “go” is to choose joy. Joy is the key to intimacy in our families. Yes, JOY! That is what God wants for us and that is what His word encourages us to choose in all of our circumstances.
James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.
Consider it ALL joy? The only possibility and hope that you and I have to live out this verse is when life is hard and circumstances are difficult is to make joy something that we choose to do and feel. Given our sinful nature and our depravity, this is impossible without God. Fortunately, God, in all His wisdom and grace knows this. We are not left alone in our fallen state to navigate this alone.
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Choosing joy means not being captive to our circumstances, our emotions or the actions of others. It means that no matter what has happened to us, no matter what choices we have made in the past, no matter how difficult life is we will have an eternal perspective that tells us that God is for us. It tells us that God is in control, He is on His throne and nothing happens outside of His will and His purpose for our lives. Choosing joy means that we are submitting our feelings and our circumstances to Him.
Why do I think that choosing joy is the key to deeper intimacy with our families? Because our enemy, the devil, wants nothing more than to steal our joy and hold us captive to the very things that Christ came to deliver us from.
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Our families, our closest relationships in most cases, are the place where the gospel is lived out and most on display for the world to see. When we allow our joy to be robbed from us we are accepting the lies that Satan wants us to believe. We are held in bondage by the chains of unfulfilled expectations rather than finding God’s purpose in every situation – the good and the bad.
We are going to be let down and disappointed by the ones we love. We have an enemy who is looking for every opportunity to deceive, destroy and bring disunity to our lives. To put our faith and trust in God means that we will choose joy in all of our circumstances, all of our pain and all of our relationships.
By choosing joy in my family relationships and circumstances today, we are living out the words of Jesus and His commands:
John 15: 11,12 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.