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I have been so grateful for the insights of Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages. I have found this book to be of immense value in helping couple prepares for marriage, and in helping married couples get beyond a place where intimacy has become stuck.
In short, the five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The goal of learning the other person’s love language—and learning to speak it consistently and fluently—is an increased level of intimacy. In the book of Amos, God asks, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3 NLT), and speaking the right love language definitely helps people agree!
The whole reason we come to God in prayer as a Father, as a Brother, and as a Counselor is so that we can hear Him speaking our love language and we can continue to walk in deeper intimacy with Him.
When my then-girlfriend Betsy and I first met, we spent hours and hours getting to know each other. We would ask questions, share stories, and tell things we did and didn’t enjoy. This is the epitome of intimate conversation: getting to know the other person’s heart as you open up your heart to them as well.
I’ve shared this analogy before, but intimacy grows stale and can eventually disappear altogether if those in a relationship are no longer walking together. It doesn’t work if I say, “Betsy, I’m looking forward to spending an hour with you each week,” or even if I say, “I’ll give you 15 minutes each morning.” Instead, our relationship needs to be one of continual walking.
It’s the same thing for us as Christians: we cannot only give God an hour at a church service on Sunday mornings, nor is intimacy going to increase if I only walk and talk with my Savior for a few minutes in my morning devotions.
Walking closely with Him is what God has desired right from the beginning. He walked with Adam and Eve each evening. This phrase “walking with God” is used consistently throughout the Bible of those who had an intimate relationship with their Father, Brother, and Counselor—Noah, Abraham, Isaac, the people of Israel (Genesis 3:8, 6:9, 17:1, 48:15; Leviticus 26:12). And even as the New Testament era dawns, we read, “And they [Zechariah and Elizabeth] were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6 NKJV).
But I’m especially intrigued by the story of Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24. Twice in four short verses, we read “Enoch walked with God.” Remember that verse in Amos—“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”—so Enoch and God had to be in agreement. In fact, that’s exactly what we read about Enoch in the Book of Hebrews:
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:5-6)
If you’ve taken Dr. Chapman’s love language assessment, you probably found that you were pretty lopsided: maybe you scored very highly in one love language and then barely registered in another. We may be lopsided in our love language skill, but God speaks every language perfectly!
Dr. Chapman noted that when our love language is being spoken to us sincerely and consistently, our love tank is filled, and all of the love languages begin to become more meaningful.
Just as God walked with Enoch until the day He brought him Home, so He wants to walk with us.
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper. (Deuteronomy 5:33)
The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to Him. (Deuteronomy 28:9)
May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands. (1 Kings 8:58)
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. (Psalm 128:1)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. (2 John 6)
When we walk in loving intimacy with Him, our intimacy grows deeper and more mature. Sometimes they will say of couples who have been married for a long time and walk in increasingly deeper intimacy with each other, “They seem to know each other’s thoughts.” That’s because they know each other’s hearts—and that’s what God wants to do with us. He did it with Enoch, and He will do that with us too (Jude 14; Jeremiah 33:3; Habakkuk 3:19).
Enoch walked intimately with God for 365 years. Let us walk intimately with God for 365 days a year, for as many years as He gives us until God takes us away with Him forever!
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our prayer series called Intimate Conversation, you can find all of the messages by clicking here.
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or Audible.
In Romans 3:23 we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”What does it mean to “fall short” of God’s standard? John Piper describes it this way: “It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with His greatness and walked in His ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God.”
A couple of chapters earlier in Romans, Paul tells us about an exchange that people make. They exchange a relationship with the eternal God for things which they can grab immediately. Sadly, these immediate things are only temporal things that fall short of God’s awesome glory and leave us perpetually unsatisfied (Romans 1:21-25).
We were created by God to crave. Craving is what gives us staying power and brings fulfillment. Think of it this way: Would you rather…
…go to a job that is mundane, boring, and only focused on making money OR go to a job that is fascinating, using our talents, and trying to make a difference in the world?
…eat food that tastes like cardboard OR eat savory food?
…serve a god that is temporary, fickle, and unreliable OR serve a God that is eternal, faithful, strong, and loving?
Or think of it another way: Which of those jobs would you want to go to? Which job would call out your best effort? Which food would you want to eat? Which food would make you want to praise the chef? And which God would you want to spend eternity with? Which God would want to invite others to worship?
God gives us cravings that can only be satisfied in Him. The devil perverts these cravings to get us to go for quick, easy, self-made pleasures. Just think about how he tempted Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).
Both the Old Testament and New Testament tell us of the joys of eternal cravings being satisfied and the consequences of giving in to temporal cravings. For example:
God gives a craving for future meat, but satisfies us with manna while we wait. The devil temps us to have our meat now (Deuteronomy 12:20; Psalm 106:12-14; Numbers 11:34).
God gives a craving for satisfying relationships. The devil tempts us to indulge our passions now by grabbing the most alluring relationship (Proverbs 5:18-19; Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 1:24, 26).
God gives a craving for success and significance in His timeframe. The devil tempts us to get ahead now (1 Kings 11:37-38; Genesis 3:6).
It’s a terrible exchange when we give up the glorious eternal for the fading temporal! Romans 1 describes the results as sinful, degrading, shameful, unnatural. That’s because the things of earth are temporary; only God is eternal.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh—craving for sensual gratification—and the lust of the eyes—greedy longings of the mind—and the pride of life—assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things—these do not come from the Father but are from the world itself. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever. (1 John 2:16-17 AMP)
We have to trust the One who gave us His unshakable promises—Be delighted with the Lord. Then He will give you all your heart’s desires (Psalm 37:4 TLB). Be delighted with Him and He will—not “may” or “hopefully He will” but He will—give you ALL your heart’s desires!
There is an ultimate reward in Heaven but there are incredibly satisfying rewards along the journey to Heaven as well. Rewards like happiness, security, insight, and divine counsel from the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 4:8; Psalm 119:2, 10, 16, 18, 24).
If we will resist the temptation to satisfy our cravings by exchanging the eternal for the temporal, we will be rewarded with divine satisfaction here and rewards beyond imaging forever in God’s presence!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
God’s Part, Our Part
The lesson is clear to all: The wind turns mills that men make. It fills sails that human hands have spread. And the Spirit blesses human effort, crowns with success our labors, establishes the work of our hands upon us, and teaches us all through that ‘the hand of the diligent makes rich’ (Proverbs 10:4). And ‘if anybody will not work, neither shall he eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:10). …
Let us do our part faithfully, spread every sail, make all as perfect as human skill and wisdom can direct, and then in patient continuance in well-doing await the Spirit’s propitious gales, neither murmuring because He tarries nor being taken unawares when He comes upon us in His sovereign pleasure to do that which seems good in His sight.
From The Holy Spirit Compared To The Wind
We cannot do what only God can do, and God will not do what we are supposed to do. It is the Holy Spirit who can help us keep those two thoughts clear.
It’s wrong to say, “God only helps those who help themselves.” But it’s equally as wrong to say, “I don’t need to do anything except wait for God.” In example after example in the Bible we see people doing their part while at the same time believing for God to do something miraculous:
…Josiah read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant… (2 Kings 23:2).
The leader must go first.
The leader must go big.
The leader must be visible.
The leader must be consistent.
This is the only way to affect real change.
Josiah did this extremely well. In fact, he did it better than any other king!
Josiah called all the people together and read “in their hearing” God’s word. Then he made it his own and took a public stand to confirm it (v. 3). Josiah went first, and “then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”
The rest of Josiah’s reign is punctuated by telltale phrases like:
in accordance with the Word of the Lord
as it is written in this book of the covenant
fulfilled the requirements of the law
Here’s one of the most amazing things to me: Josiah’s wholehearted obedience to God ends up fulfilling perfectly a 300-year-old prophecy that God gave through a prophet of Judah (v. 16; 1 Kings 13:1-3).
A mark of a godly leader is his public alignment with God’s Word.
When the leader goes public and then wholeheartedly follows through on his commitment to God, others will follow his lead. May all of us be that kind of pacesetting leader.
This is part 51 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders … [and] consulted the young men… (1 Kings 12:6, 8).
As King Rehoboam ascended Israel’s throne, the people met with him to ask if there could be a change in policies. They stated that Rehoboam’s father, King Solomon, had worked them hard building God’s temple and Solomon’s palace. They asked for a bit of reprieve.
Rehoboam took this suggestion to both the elders who had consulted his father, as well as to his friends that were his own age.
Sometimes the older generation wants to stick with “the way we’ve always done things” because it appears tried and true; they are usually hesitant to make any changes.
Sometimes the younger generation wants to change nearly everything because they think there must be a better way; they are usually anxious to make changes.
So when the elders suggested a change from Solomon’s policies, Rehoboam should have taken notice. “This is not typical for the elders to suggest a change, so perhaps I should ponder this more closely.” For the young leaders to suggest a change was typical for their generation, so Rehoboam should have expected that.
Also notice that the elders’ advice was toward servant leadership, while the young men’s advice was toward more top-down, heavy-handed leadership. Although there is no record of either Rehoboam nor his advisers seeking God’s counsel, the elders’ advice is clearly more in line with God’s heart. God spoke through Moses about how He carried (or served) His people (Exodus 19:4), so a reprieve from hard labor would have been more God-honoring.
Sadly, Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, making the working conditions even harsher for the people of Israel. This terrible decision had disastrous consequences, as Israel was henceforth split into two nations: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Rehoboam missed the cues from both the older and younger generations, as well as God’s own example, that could have preserved a united nation.
For our decision making today we have the additional example of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve others, and who gave us a similar servant-hearted command (Mark 10:45; John 13:12–17).
When God-fearing people are facing a key decision, here are three important things to consider:
Are the seasoned, God-fearing elders advocating a change?
Will this decision help me better serve the people I lead?
Is this decision exemplifying Christ’s servant-leadership?
This is so important—I need a “YES” in all three boxes if I am going to move forward!
If any box is unchecked, I need to seriously re-evaluate making a change.
…Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You… (1 Kings 8:23).
Yahweh is unique. He isn’t #1 in the categories that men use to rank things—He embodies the categories; He is in those categories all by Himself. He has no peer, He has no rival. He is the I AM.
This seemingly unapproachable God approaches us—miracle of miracles! He makes a covenant of love, and He keeps that covenant. He makes promises, and He fulfills all those promises. He is the Judge, and yet He provides for the atonement and total restoration of the guilty sinner. He knows every human heart (v. 39) and every human sin (v. 46), and yet He does not abandon, but saves!
Miracle of miracles!He is the one who gives to me a heart that wants to walk in obedience to Him…
…so that He can keep all of His promises that are reserved for those who walk in obedience to Him
…so that all the peoples of the earth may see and know “that the LORD is God and that there is no other” (v. 60)
Miracle of miracles! The unique I AM wants me to be in a relationship with Him. The One who is complete in Himself wants me to be in this blessed completeness with Him forever! How could I ever say no to such an invitation?! How could I ever refrain from telling others about this invitation?!
God loves me and He has done everything necessary for me to be in an eternal relationship with Him—miracle of miracles indeed!
Have you ever been in the right place at the right time to experience something wonderful? Maybe you got to meet someone important, or you got the job, or you got the money, or you got to ride in that fancy car.
Some will call you “lucky” or say you “caught a break,” but both of those statements imply that something unexpected happened to you.
Is it still “lucky” to be in the right place at the right time if you knew ahead of time that it was coming? For praying Christians, to be in the right place at the right time when we are expecting God to provide is called “an answer to prayer.”
David prayed, “In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). The Aramaic word for prayer means “to set a trap.” If we pray, and we live in expectation, then it isn’t luck when we’re in the right place at the right time, but it’s a “trap” that caught the answer to our prayer.
Our daily walking can be our daily praying, as long as we’re walking in faith in the direction God pointed us.
One man who—literally!—walked this principle out was Elisha.
Before we look at Elisha’s expectant, prayerful walking, let’s look at his prayer request—
When they reached the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you before I’m taken from you? Ask anything.” Elisha said, “Your life repeated in my life. I want to be a holy man just like you” (2 Kings 2:9 MSG).
Elisha was essentially asking to be like Elijah’s firstborn son, to be his spiritual heir. This was the original promise God gave when He told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). From that point onward, Elisha steadily walked in expectation of God answering this prayer.
Elisha wouldn’t stay in a place of military victory, or in a significantly spiritual place, or even in a place surrounded by godly leaders. Elisha wouldn’t be held back by a lucrative family business, or the warning words of friends or his spiritual mentor, or even the seemingly uncrossable Jordan River. He kept on walking (see 2 Kings 2:1-15).
He kept on walking.
He kept on walking until “suddenly” God showed up and answered his prayer.
But was it really “suddenly”? Elisha knew it was coming. He believed what God had promised. He clung to it even when Elijah told him he had asked “a difficult thing.” Elisha kept on walking until he was in the right place at the right time to receive all that God had planned.
If you have prayed in faith, start walking. Settling anywhere else is robbing yourself of a blessing and robbing God of glory.
Just keep walking! And let your walking be your praying.Don’t get discouraged. Don’t settle. Don’t stop eagerly expecting that the next step you took could be the “suddenly” you’ve been waiting for. Just keep walking!
“One of the greatest curses of the modern evangelical movement, in my opinion, is that we are somehow becoming ‘popular.’ Just as soon as you become popular, something goes out of your life, or more accurately, something has gone out of your life before you get popular.
“Historically, the Christian had to be emphatic. He had two words: yea or nay. When God was talking to him, he said yes, and when the devil was talking to him he said no. When God said, ‘Do this,’ he said, ‘Yes, Lord.’ When sinners tempted him to stray, he said an emphatic no.
“The trouble with us now is that we are double-minded. That is why we are weak. Scripture speaks of the double-minded man. He is ‘unstable in all his ways’ (James 1:8). Elijah illustrated this when he said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him’ (1 Kings 18:21). We need to be on one side or the other. Wholly committed to our high calling in Christ Jesus.” —A.W. Tozer, in The Wisdom Of God
Adonijah thought he was the obvious heir to the throne so he stated what he believed, “I will be king” (1 Kings 1:5).
On what evidence did Adonijah base his claim?
All of his friends said he would make a great king
His father (the king) had always given him everything he wanted
He was handsome and popular
A couple members of the king’s court supported him
No one had ever told him “no”
While all of this sounded good, Adonijah overlooked some vital points. Like…
…more men backed his brother Solomon to be king than backed him
…his father had the decisive and definitive say in who would be king, and he chose Solomon
…God had chosen Solomon to be king
It’s tempting for us to read the popular sentiment of the moment, or to listen to the cheering voices around us, or even to think that our plans are wise and well thought-out. But this isNOT the right way to make a decision.
Instead, we need to humbly consider three things that are external:
The unbiased, wise counsel of others
The buy-in of key stakeholders
God’s clear “yes”
If these three things are in alignment, you cannot go wrong!