Some time back, I shared some thoughts about our being one in and by the Spirit. At that time I used a pond as a word picture of the point I was wanting to make, contrasting the intimacy that is possible when we are immersed together in the Spirit, “the pond,” with what we are able to experience while remaining on the shore, dry land. See Post from June 6, 2012, “The Pond”.
On that occasion my hope was to describe Spiritual intimacy in something closer to its ultimate expression or place in the New Jerusalem. Today, I want to address the matter of Spiritual intimacy in another place and with another word picture, a “Foxhole.” I am not speaking of a fox hole in the way that Jesus referred to it, but spiritual intimacy surrounded by warfare.
A pond suggests a tranquil place where the war is over, and a foxhole suggests the reality of the war in and around intimate spiritual relationship. On the one hand we are surrounded by the war around the foxhole, and on the other, we become more and more aware of the inner war going on inside of each another. In the foxhole of intimate relationship there is a war going on against our staying in that place of intimacy. The war gets more intense the deeper into the hole we go.
The only way for the intimacy of relationship to survive in such an environment is to know God’s kind of love, the kind that is good for enemies, both perceived and real. The lovers in a foxhole have to rest in the knowledge that they are secure in one another’s love. This requires great confidence in the Love of God to survive all that knowledge. Perhaps this is a good place to point out that:
God’s kind of love is not delusional.
He knows exactly who we are!
The intimacy we are talking about is not delusional. It is made possible and energized by a Love that is so great it covers a multitude of sins.
This post has to do with sharing the lessons of Life, (He is The Life.) especially with those who are in the foxhole of love with us. Perhaps this is what Paul was thinking about when he prayed “… that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
For a relationship to survive in a foxhole there must be a love that surpasses knowledge, in both a good and bad sense. This kind of love doesn’t come by teaching or even knowing in the carnal sense, but by revelation in the most Spiritual sense. Actually, it turns out that the most confined space in the flesh is the most infinitely spacious, in the Spirit.
“The Truth Hurts,” at least in the beginning. We need a love that can survive the hurt.
“No discipline seems good at the time…” Hebrews 12:11.
What is it that makes intimate conversation so difficult, even hurtful?
For one thing, it’s being known on a more intimate level, without my ‘coverings’ or ‘illusions.’ It is someone (other than the Lord) spiritually smelling me, when I have B.O. – Tasting me, when I am covered with sweat or worse – Seeing me, without clothes on. It’s someone finally knowing me at a base level, not an illusionary level. This kind of exposure keeps people out of foxholes. Not that we can go there with just anyone.
Another danger is that a hole is dark. Passions rise up. Desire is stimulated. And there’s no way of putting distance between you, except getting out of the hole entirely, in a sense ‘gaining’ one’s life to only lose it. This is why religion wants to keep people out of foxholes. This is why religion abandons sex, even its spiritual equivalent, to the world. Religion is in the fig leaf business – rather than being gender neutral, it concentrates on separating the genders.
In short there is warfare in and of the flesh surrounding the foxhole – surrounding the possibility of both spiritual relationship, and spiritual intimacy. This side of ultimate fulfillment, and complete oneness, (the oneness that Jesus prayed and died for, John 17:21) the line between the passion of the flesh and of the Spirit is a fine line. This is a big part of the warfare down in the foxhole. This is the warfare between flesh and spirit, which must determine the line between the lust of the flesh, and the passion of The Christ at work in the parties to the conversation. It is impossible to win this war, except by the Grace of God. Only by His Grace is it possible to stay in the foxhole long enough to become one spiritually, without any rise of the flesh to frustrate and hinder.
It is in our first exposure to the worst that is in each other that the truth is most hurtful. It is just here that we discover His love in us is sufficient to take us beyond that confusion – that hurt, and through it in unbroken intimacy.
“… Afterwards it produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness,” Hebrews 12:11.
A pond is more heavenly than a foxhole – even more communal. We may swim in the pond from time to time, but a foxhole is like a crucible where intimacy (like gold) is refined and tested.
“The LORD says, ‘Suppose you have run in a race with other men. And suppose they have worn you out. Then how would you be able to race against horses? Suppose you feel safe only in open country. Then how would you get along in the bushes near the Jordan River?” Jeremiah 12:5
A foxhole is not only a place to live together, also a place to die together. It is a burial place of sorts – a complete dying to self. It is also the fertile ground out of which resurrection life is nurtured. With seeds of all kinds, something is accomplished in burial that cannot be accomplished anywhere else.
If that is so, then it remains that “surface relationships” do not bring forth life. About the best we can do on the surface is “news weather and sports.” Though we can include all sorts of other ‘spiritual talk’ there, the surface is still too safe and sterile a place to bring us to the necessary depth where seed can be planted, and take root.
“The Disciples came to Him…” in private, Matthew 13:10-36
For more reading, see previous intimacy level post, “Motivations“