THE WHOLE-HEARTED LEADER
PILLAR 2: INTIMACY
When Intimacy Was Severed in the Garden
Let’s rewind back to the Garden of Eden – to Adam and Eve. They were created for intimacy. They were created to walk naked with the Lord in the garden. No shame existed, no shame at all. They walked freely, naked in the garden, full of joy and full of the Lord’s presence.
They knew who God was. They knew who they were in Him and how they were made for one another. Adam got to name all the animals. He didn’t just give them titles. He described who they were and what they did – that was the fullness of their identity.
How was intimacy broken?
When Adam and Eve fell – what was the first thing that happened? They hid. They covered themselves from one another and they hid from God. So, when God came saying, “Hey, let’s walk around and hang out again,” they were hiding.
What did they start doing after that? They started blaming one another. “That woman You sent me had me eat the fruit.” And Eve’s going, “That snake that was here was talking…”
And so, their disobedience broke intimacy. It broke their connection with God.
What was Satan’s lie?
Can you imagine? They were in Paradise. They had everything available to them. They were walking in relationship and intimacy with God. And because of the lie of the enemy, the Fall came.
What was the lie? The enemy came in saying, “Oh, you’re not like God. He’s withholding something from you. That means He’s not really good. You don’t know everything He knows. And if you eat of this tree, you’re not going to die – that’s a lie. You’ll just know everything that God knows, so you can be like Him.”
Now if you rewind all the way back to the beginning of Genesis, what does God say? “Let us make man in our image.” And God did! Adam and Eve were already made in God’s image. There was nothing lacking at all. They were already one with Him. They were already in intimacy with Him. They were made in the image of God. They were already like God.
Whose identity did the enemy attack?
What did the enemy do? He came in and attacked their identity by saying they weren’t complete. He told them they were missing something, and they didn’t know everything.
And he attacked God’s identity by saying that He wasn’t good, that He was withholding something. He attacked God’s integrity by implying He had lied to them.
Spit out that fruit!
You know, we were never meant to eat from that tree – from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We were never supposed to eat that fruit. So, prophetically, I encourage people to spit out the fruit. “God, forgive me, I spit out the knowledge of good and evil.”
I am not going to put myself in the place of a judge, saying, “Is this good or is this bad?” We do that regularly – it is our human nature, our fallen human nature. But we’ve got to spit out that fruit, because we were never supposed to eat from the knowledge of good and evil. We’re supposed to have life, and we’re supposed to feed from life.
So that lie attacked God’s identity – “He’s not good.” And it attacked our identity, inferring that we were missing something. But we weren’t missing anything in God. We had everything we needed in God. We are not going to become God. Only He is God. But we aren’t missing anything. We need to spit out that lie.
What separated Adam and Eve from God (and each other)?
What separated them? They forgot the goodness of God. They were hiding. And they started pointing fingers. They forgot God’s goodness and the intimacy they had with Him was broken. It was severed.
They also broke intimacy with one another, and they started blaming each other. Oh my goodness! How I see this all the time in my office as a marriage and family therapist. We blame one another for stuff. “Well, if you had…” “You said…” All this victim stuff.
Why did Adam and Eve lose intimacy with each other? Because shame and fear entered for the first time. And there had been no such thing as shame and fear before the fall.
How does shame disconnect us from intimacy?
Shame attacks your very identity. It breaks intimacy because shame is about worthlessness. We’ve been talking about our value, our approval, our legitimacy – that is where we get our identity. When we have shame, that destroys identity. It actually disconnects us from intimacy because we don’t feel good enough. We don’t feel worthy. And then we start protecting our heart and putting up walls, and that severs our relationships.
Shame severed Adam and Eve from relationship from God, and it severed their relationship with one another. They had to hide and cover their intimate parts. Why? Because shame was now tied to nakedness. Shame entered in, but it was never supposed to be there. That’s why we have to break shame. It was never supposed to be part of us – ever.
Did Jesus have shame?
I don’t believe that Jesus ever walked in shame, that He ever felt shame. He was fully human when He walked on the earth, but He never felt shame. Shame is an emotion we are not supposed to participate in. Shame did not appear until sin came.
Fear and shame are the top two weapons of the enemy. They diminish our perception of ourselves and our perception of God. Fear and shame are the strongholds that bar intimacy with God and with one another. I promise you – I can boil down anything the enemy has done to you, and it will come down to fear and shame, or at least one of those two.
To comprehend our true identity and regain that intimacy that was lost in the garden, we have to release fear and shame. Perfect love – God’s perfect love – drives out fear. Shame pronounces us guilty and deficient. Jesus pronounces us guiltless and whole. We break the power of shame through faith in Christ’s work and Christ’s promises.
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