What if I told you that your greatest struggle, your most repeated sin (the one you have promised yourself and God you’ll never do again, but you keep on doing it) is probably only a symptom of a much bigger deal in your life?
In our story, the affair gets all the attention, has all the shock value, and raises all the questions. But the truth is it was only a symptom. There was something much deeper. I think the same is true for you.
Your impulsive shopping and overspending isn’t about your need for more clothes or more stuff.
Your affair or your spouse’s affair isn’t about that other specific person.
Your craving to overeat isn’t about the food.
Your addiction to pornography isn’t about you not finding your wife or your husband attractive.
Your willingness to give too much of yourself away sexually early in a dating relationship isn’t about willpower or not being strong enough to resist temptation.
Our Christian thought process is pretty simple: If we would try harder or be more accountable, then we could stop whatever it is we know we need to stop. We’re just not a good enough Christian.
But what if your sin or habit wasn’t even about that sin or habit?
Each of these situations, though they look different on the surface, originate with one desire and one need: intimacy.
It’s not a very manly word, but it is a godly word. You and I were created to have intimacy with God, and intimacy with one another. Somewhere in our lives, that desire got distorted. We became more prone to hide than to be known; more prone to pretend than be authentic; more prone to try to earn love than to receive love without conditions.
Have you ever felt like there are parts of your heart that no one can know about? I have for sure. So we hide or indulge or overeat or impulse shop or pursue someone other than our spouse or chat online or download porn or sleep around.
We desire to be known and to be loved, but intimacy is distorted and so we try to find it in a way that leaves us regretful and ashamed.
We convince ourselves that no one, including God, can really know us, because if they did, they wouldn’t love us. Rejection is our greatest fear.
Intimacy is something you can’t stop needing. You need it. But if your need for it and your desire for it is broken, then you start trying to find it and fulfill it in messed up ways. So we cheat and we lie and we pretend and we compromise. And the cycle begins to repeat itself and build on itself until one day you wake up and have no idea how you got to the place you are at.
Here is the truth today: Your Heavenly Father longs for you to experience intimacy with Him. To know Him and be known by Him; to love Him and be unconditionally loved by Him in return.
You can go through your life like I did, trying to be good enough and strong enough and perfect enough, and you can focus on all the symptoms of your problem. Or you can pursue intimacy with a God who loves you and a Savior who longs to redeem you.
Intimacy starts with allowing a part of your heart that isn’t known to be known by God and by someone else. Everyone can choose to take that step today.
That’s what it’s really about.