As I prayed for a way to describe growing in intimacy with God, quite unexpectedly, the picture of a football game came to mind. In our goal of experiencing intimacy with Him, we must operate like a football team! That is, we must make both offensive and defensive moves.
Now I’m no expert on sports and neither was my dad. However, when I was 11 yrs old, he took me to my first pro game with the Cleveland Browns, and taught me the basics. The times when I felt a connection with my dad were few and far between when I was little, and so this special memory is still etched upon my heart. I became an avid fan of pro football, collecting stickers of every NFL player (we earned them from buying gasoline in the early 70s!), and watching all of the Browns and Dolphins games. I must confess that I cheered for the Dolphins because in 6th grade, I liked a boy who wore a dolphins jacket!
So, back to the point, how does a football game relate to intimacy with God? Through that picture, the Lord showed me that offensive moves are those that enable us to make progress “down the field” toward our goal of increased intimacy with Him.
Defensive moves are those that fight off the advances of the opposing team – Satan and his demons. Their goal is to take us in the opposite direction on the field – away from intimacy with God. They will put up blocks so that we lose ground by aligning with the enemy’s lies and accusations about ourselves, others and God. Therefore, we need to actively make defensive moves to break through these barriers and be freed up to make offensive moves down the field in the right direction – into greater intimacy with God.
Therefore, to truly grow deeper in your intimacy with the Lord, you need to actively pursue and commit to both offensive AND defensive moves.
Over the next few blogs, I’ll develop these in more detail, but for now a quick overview first of the offensive moves:
1) Focus on who He is.
A great way to do this is by praying through the attributes of Yeshua found in Revelation chapters 1- 3. For example: Eyes like blazing fire – “Yeshua reveal yourself to me as the one who has eyes like blazing fire. Show me what that means in my life.” After I prayed that prayer, Yeshua impressed upon my heart that eyes like blazing fire meant that He was jealous for me when I was focused on anything or anyone else other than Him. This revelation of His intense desire for my attention and affection drew me into deeper intimacy with Him. Faithful witness – “Thank you that you are the faithful witness. Show me what it means to be a faithful witness in my own life.” Be prepared for what He might show you! Many times that week, Yeshua showed me all of the often subtle ways that I was not being a faithful witness. Rather, I was more concerned about being accepted and not rejected, or about avoiding conflict than I was with sharing challenging truth about Him or what I truly felt in my heart about something. When I became aware of the many direct and indirect ways that I am not a faithful witness at all times, I confessed these as sin and experienced greater intimacy with Him and a deeper longing to be one with Him in thought and word.
2) Focus on what He has done for you.
3) Focus on how He sees you – as His bride.
4) Connect with HIS heart toward: you, others, Israel, end times, His Millennial Kingdom and Temple. Ask Him to help you to see what He sees and to feel what He feels about them.
Second, the defensive moves: You must be committed to dealing with anything that blocks or hinders your intimacy with Yeshua and that gives the enemy a handle in your life. It’s just not worth it no matter how justified you are in your feelings.
Barriers or blocks to intimacy would include – fear, stress, resentment, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, being critical, putting others down, putting yourself down. Other barriers would be lies that you believe in your heart about yourself and about God, such as you have to hold all things/people together, God is disappointed in you when you are not perfect, etc.
This week, pick one offensive move you can make each day to draw closer in intimacy with Yeshua. For example, pray through one attribute from Revelation each day, speak scripture verses out loud that declare His plans for Israel; choose to dwell throughout the day on how He sees you and thank Him out loud for that.
On the defensive front, Ask God to show you what is blocking intimacy with Him and commit to using your weapons of warfare to break through those barriers (detailed in the “Breaking through Barriers to God’s Presence series).
If you will commit to making both offensive and defensive moves each day, I guarantee you will experience that “ONE THING” Yeshua desires and asks of you — intimate relationship with Him!
Luke 10:41-42: “You are worried and upset about so many things; but only ONE THING is needed.”