This past Sunday, Dale did an amazing job breaking down the creation of Adam and Eve as he took us through Genesis 2:24-25. One particular statement he said continued to play over and over in my head:
“We all have a desire for intimacy within us.”
This is how we were created and how God intended it to be… both in our relationships with each other and with our Creator.
It takes work to restore the intimacy that God intended for His children in the garden. He gives an incredible picture of marriage in Ephesians 5:21-33 with verse 21 at the heart of a truly intimate, God-honoring marriage… “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (NLT) If honoring Christ is at the center of your relationship, then and only then, can true intimacy in marriage (or any relationship) be found.
Paul doesn’t stop there though! He also gives some incredible advice on how we should communicate with one another in order to build intimacy with Christ at the center. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I believe these verses can be extremely helpful when put into practice, not just in our marriages, but all relationships in which we find ourselves.
1) Tell the truth. “Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)
Notice that honesty is so much more than not lying. The command is to “speak” or “tell” the truth. Keeping silent is not an option in our relationships.
2) Deal with the issue. “And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)
In other words, deal with today’s problems today. Anger isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but bottled up over time, can become explosive and deadly. Deal with the problems now.
3) Focus on the problem. “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
Remember, our end goal is to glorify Christ in our relationships and draw each other closer to Him. Don’t attack each other’s character. This will go nowhere fast!
4) Don’t respond by your feelings. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Your “feelings” will lie. Don’t let “how you feel” in the moment override the truth of who Christ is and that His Spirit is alive in you. You get to choose! There is no such thing as an argument with one person. Choose to allow “Christ in you” to respond!
As you put this into practice, I hope these truths from Ephesians will begin to change your relationships (as they have mine). Have a great week… keep chasing Him!
Miss Sunday’s message? Click here to watch or listen!