The Gospel’s Guidance on Healthy Intimacy

If you’ve sanded a piece of wood, renovated a room, or restored antique furniture, then you know that it’s almost second nature to rub your hand across the surface of your work.  As our fingers feel imperfections or blemishes, our eyes keenly scan the surface to confirm our findings.  Does it need a little more sanding, or is that enough?  Maybe just a “little” more.

We’ve become so intensely immersed in our work that we’ve lost track of time nor felt hunger or fatigue because of being so engaged in our effort.

With all senses entirely focused on the work at hand, we’ve become intimately aware of and connected to everything our fingers touch.   Our heart, mind, hands, sweat, and calluses bear witness to this truth.

We know the inter-workings of this restoration project well.  Know it in a way that changes us.  We know all of the diligent work behind the final finish.  And the resulting sense of satisfaction that is both exhilarating and exhausting.

Craftsmen, artists, designers, composers, painters, sculptures, scientists, and inventors have shared these feelings from the beginning of time.  Ask, and most will tell you their success results from being passionately connected to their craft.

If we can become so passionately connected to our work or craft, why do we struggle to be just as passionately connected to our loved ones?  Why do we struggle with the inter-workings of relational intimacy?  Shouldn’t the inter-workings of relational intimacy be almost second nature to men by now?  Then why isn’t it?

Perhaps it’s because our culture doesn’t view intimacy as a masculine virtue.  Ask most men to define intimacy; inevitably, the word “sex” will be part of the answer.

Or perhaps it’s because of the fall, and we’ve forgotten what true relational intimacy really is.

I believe Luke provides us insight into true intimacy when he wrote, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.”

Love with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, just as God the Father loves us.  Because we are transformed by His love, it enables us to experience, nurture, express, and receive healthy intimacy through our hearts, souls, strength, and minds.

Heart, emotional intimacy.  Soul, spiritual intimacy.  Strength, physical intimacy.  Mind, intellectual intimacy.

How do we do that, and what does that look like?

If you’ve ever walked in the woods or along the beach, sat down, and allowed yourself to drink in a moment, you’ve experienced relational intimacy with God.  At that moment, He’s communicating to us through all of our “six” senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and the Holy Spirit residing within us.

At that moment, He is revealing Himself to us.  He wants us to know Him as intimately as he knows and loves us.

In his letter to the Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul spells out this truth by writing, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

To know the height, depth, width, and breadth of God’s love for us is true relational intimacy.

Therefore, if we want to pursue, nurture, express, and experience true intimacy, we need to expand our understanding of all the dimensions of true intimacy.  With God’s guidance, we can learn to give and receive emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, non-sexual physical intimacy, and intellectual intimacy.

Begin by asking our Heavenly Father to reveal all the ways He desires to be intimate with us.  Then ask Him to show us how to imitate His intimate love in the lives of our loved ones.

True relational intimacy desires to influence every area of our lives if we let God show us how.  True intimacy is expressed through our heart, (relationships) our mind, (learning/growth) our soul (worship/fellowship), and our strength (work/skills).  True intimacy is relevant, relational, and real, just like God.

For additional guidance, I’ve written several blogs on discovering and developing healthy intimacy; check them out at

I also provide one-on-one coaching; if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘’.  I hope that God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed child of God through these blogs, references, and resources.

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