When a Christian man (henceforth – believer) is involved with looking at other women, often it feels like prayers hit the ceiling. He may know that he is forgiven, that Christ’s grace is sufficient to cover any sin, and that even though he is no longer responsible for the sin he committed, he feels like God isn’t able to “connect” with him. That is what I am getting at, the connected feeling, or intimacy, with God.
Why is this? If what Christ did on the cross was sufficient, then what is with the disconnected feeling? If he is truly reconciled to God through forgiveness and repentance, then what is causing the lack of intimacy?
God is into relationship. He created us for relationship. He desires us to be connected with Him more than anything. He took care of the problem of sin when he sent his Son. Jesus did everything He needed to do on the cross. By dying for our sins, a sinless death, He completed the sacrifice needed for us to be completely reconciled to God (1 john 2:1). All we need to do is (once we are a believer) have a heart of sorrow and repentance, and ask for forgiveness of our sins through confession.
Men today have a choice to make. They, with little doubt, have access to the internet. They then have very easy access to viewing other women, or pornography. Actually, it is VERY easy to view other women, usually a click or two away from images and videos that just 2 decades ago were only available from “dirty” magazines or adult videos. Add to that the ability to obtain browsers that do not track where the internet surfing takes you, and the easy ability to “hide” where a user surfs. This easy access tempts. Because of its ease, temptation is there. Almost daily temptation.
I have a wide variety of access to the internet: desktop, MacBook, iPad, Android cell phone. While it was tough, I was able to install accountability on each device. The programs are not filtering applications, but accountability software. I cannot work with filtering as I need unlimited internet for my business. I have accountability partners that have access to my internet surfing.
It is amazing how much accountability software does in the area of temptations. I no longer surf ANYWHERE in secrecy. The main issue of internet pornography is its secrecy. It is done in the dark (figuratively) and can be kept hidden from others. Accountability software drags the sin into the light where it cannot live (john 3:19,20).
When a believing man views other women, he is in sin. In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives the sermon on the mount, and alters what the listeners thought about sinning before God. Jesus changed everything about our sinning. He moved the sin from the action to the heart. Specifically, in Matthew 5:28 he moved the sin of adultery from the actual act to the act of looking. Specifically dealing with the motive, or heart.
Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Therefore, a man is in sin when he sits down at his computer and views other women in lust. This is well understood in Christian circles today. The issue I want to discuss is not if he is in sin, but why he is unable to feel connected to God even though he repents of his sin.
I ask again, if Christ’s sacrifice was complete, and we have complete forgiveness, then shouldn’t we feel connected to Him after we repent? The issue is not God’s plan of forgiveness, or an issue with Christ’s sacrifice. The issue is relationship.
Because God values relationship, and is a just God, He cannot allow continued intimacy with His children when they sin. The repentant believer is forgiven by God, but the relationship is broken and has to be restored. Sinning breaks the relationship and causes the lack of intimacy believers so desperately desire and need with God. This has nothing to do with God though. It has to do with the believer breaking the intimacy with God through the sin.
I know when I am distant from true intimacy with God. It is VERY apparent in my daily life. God is so perfect that when I have intimacy with Him, things just go better. It is quite difficult to explain. I have peace when I should not have it. I have a deep belief that my life is being guided and directed by Him. I feel that I am a better husband to my wife, and a better father to my children. Above all, I WANT to spend time with Him.
The desire to spend time with Him is the most apparent tangible evidence that I have intimacy with God. If a day goes by where I do not have a quiet time with Him, I am cognizant of the fact and the next day am looking to get up a bit early to make time. Do not think that days do not go by without quiet times in my life. I am not where I need to be. There are times when I lack intimacy with God. Times when the things of life cloud my priorities. At those times I pay a price, and the price is usually a feeling of distance from Him.
How do you restore intimacy? This question should be a no-brainer, but it isn’t so simple. As mentioned above, intimacy with God is broken by sin, so taking care of the sin in my life is a sure way of restoring intimacy, but that alone is not enough.
Intimacy – close or warm friendship or understanding; personal relationship
To have intimacy with someone means that you are close to them. You desire to spend time with them, and enjoy their presence. You listen to what they have to say and care deeply with their well-being. How can you be intimate with God if you are not spending quality time with Him? I believe it is impossible. The great news is that when we spend time with God, He gives us a greater desire to spend time with Him. He removes the ceilings in our connection with Him. He has a way of shifting our priorities in our daily lives so we value time with Him more. It is all part of a close and personal relationship with our creator. We serve a great God!