Intimacy in its purest form is transformational.
That’s true of both the marriage bed and the altar. Today I’ll use one to delicately illustrate the other — and the impact intimacy is intended to have on a relationship.
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Today’s verse calls us to BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND
You may not think a renewed mind has much to do with intimate relationships; but I’d submit that the mind and the heart are closely intertwined, and both impact our choices.
Winning the heart of another begins by attracting their attention, usually with acts of kindness. As relationships begin to be built and a foundation is established, people reveal more of themselves. The winning of the heart has begun. Information begins to cause transformation. It actually transforms first minds and hearts, then our choices. Shared experiences add to the impact, and lead us either closer together or farther apart. The one who is set upon winning the heart of the other continues to share and continues to give of themselves, building levels of trust on the foundation.
The winning continues, and the relationship grows deeper. Desire draws the two closer, and the foundation of trust allows and encourages the sharing of more vulnerable thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears. Love begins to grow, and that leads to a relationship that calls for a new level of commitment if it is to continue its development. As love matures, it begins to consume all else. Everything in the life of the person being won begins to be focused upon the one who is loved.
When the winning is done, two desires have been developed. The first is a trust-based desire of a committed life together, sharing everything the future holds. And the second is a love-based desire for intimacy, sharing everything one can possibly share. Each of these desires can only be safely met within the bounds of a covenant, a sacred pact of self-sacrifice and total dedication to the other.
In the natural realm, this decision of absolute dedication is called a marriage, the biblical union of a man and a woman bound together in a covenantal commitment that lasts for a lifetime. The nature of the covenant joins two into one. They share a unity born of love and built upon trust. It is a unity that takes precedence over any and every other relationship; in fact, it impacts every other element of their lives. The ultimate expression of this unity is the marriage bed, where absolute vulnerability opens the path of intimacy. From this intimacy flows life; always into the lives of the partners and potentially creating new life from the union.
In the spiritual realm, this decision of absolute dedication is called salvation, the biblical union of a sinner and a savior bound together in a covenantal commitment that lasts for eternity. The nature of the covenant joins two into one. They share a unity born of love and built upon trust. It is a unity that takes precedence over any and every other relationship; in fact, it impacts every other element of their lives. The ultimate expression of this unity is the altar, where absolute vulnerability opens the path of intimacy. From this intimacy flows life that gives grace and strength to the recipient of the sacrament. Those gifts enable them to be His witnesses, sharing new life.
The full verse from this morning says DO NOT CONFORM TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. THEN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TEST AND APPROVE WHAT GOD’S WILL IS — HIS GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL.
Intimacy is transformational. It reveals the heart and desire of your partner in ways nothing else can. Nothing rivals its closeness.
The Church being called the Bride of Christ is an image of shared intimacy. It changes us, as all real intimacy must. It allows us to test and approve those things which please God, because we know Him so well.