Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Intimacy: Discipline or Enjoyment

I recently heard a sermon on intimacy with Christ, and it was all about the disciplines.

I've ruminated on the theme of that sermon. I remember when I thought the Christian life was all about the disciplines. I tried so hard. I had my checklist. I had my prayer list. I had my 2959 notebook. I did, I did, I did.

Then one day I realized that my Christian life was not about performing and doing. It was about being and enjoying.

As Paul and I were discussing this and expressing what we've come to understand and live, I used the illustration of a piece of chocolate pie. Do I have to discipline myself to enjoy that piece of pie? Do I have to learn about chocolate? Do I have to inspect the recipe? Do I have to question who made it? Do I need to talk about it? OR do I need to eat and enjoy? I love the verse, "O taste and see that the Lord is good."

My handsome feller, not to be outdone by my illustration, suggested that he thought of kissing his wife. That's me. (To be grammatically correct, That's I. Sorry, I do digress.)

His is a much better illustration because "intimacy" sometimes involves kissing the one you love. His questions: Do I time how long our kisses lasts? Do I study the anatomy of a kiss? Do I worry about if I'm doing it right? OR Do I just kiss and enjoy?

Both of us left a long time ago the thought that you meet God at church or you meet God in your closet. You might actually "meet" Him there. But you don't necessarily "enjoy" him there. We have learned that we meet God and enjoy Him every minute of every day in every activity we are involved in. There's no such thing to us as being disciplined to meet God. That's almost a foreign language to us any more. Our struggle is just forgetting to enjoy Him, always and forever.

So, whether Paul's riding his motorcycle or I'm busy at work editing math books, we're fellowshipping with Him and enjoying Him. Or whether we're at church or with our family, whatever we're involved in, He is with us and we are called to enjoy intimacy with Him without interruption. What could be better than that?

As I exit talks, sermons, and teachings on being with Christ our Saviour, I want to do the excitement dance and leap for joy. I don't want to go away shamed, sad, and sure I will never be able to perform or DO what's required. That's the gospel I've embraced and am enjoying living.

Eating chocolate pie, kissing my feller, intimacy with Christ––all enjoyable and exciting experiences in my life. Nothing I dread or have to discipline myself to do.


Cathy H said...

Ah Mary...I love this post!

Bobby Brown said...

This kind of Intimacy will lead not only lead to enjoyment but also to better discipline. It is all in getting the order of things correct which leads to doing something because we want to rather than have to. (It is probably too but I would never have gotten the I, me thing!)

Mary Burleson said...

Thanks, Cathy.

And, Bobby, I so agree that enjoying this kind of intimacy is its own drawing card and will result in better discipline, but it won't be for discipline's sake. It will probably be because of the enjoyment and you know you can't live without it. Makes you kick up your heels with excitement and enjoyment.

And, pardon me about digressing into the personal pronoun thing. Being an editor it's automatic. Just having fun with it. Hope it wasn't confusing.

Bobby Brown said...

If you recall Mary I was saved at home reading the Bible and for the most part un-churched at the time. When I came to know the Lord I think I had the relationship you are referring to without knowing anything about the doctrine of it. Then the disciplines like reading my bible, christian books, witnessing, giving, finding a bible teaching church, being un-selfish and loving all came naturally even though I did not know I was supposed to do any of them. I remember Paul gave me the book "Peace with God" by Billy Graham which said I needed to be doing all these things and I was already doing most if not all of them without knowing I should. It was so natural. Then I remember reading the book "The Spirit Filled Life" or something like that by ??? and it told me how to get it step by step. As I set out to get it I lost what I had come by naturally without knowing anything. I think the Holy Spirit will lead a person to the kind of relationship you are referring to without them having to much if anything. Maybe that explains your earlier post of why some have such fellowship without much truth and others have truth without much fellowship? It is the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ!