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