A couple of Ingredients that help foster Intimacy
1) Transparency – Another way to put this is to say that the leader must take risks with himself. Others in the Life Community will see that it is safe to be open and honest only as the leader models that himself. This is very risky but when done under the leadership of the Holy Spirit it can open the door for others to be honest about themselves.
Have you ever thought about Jesus as being transparent? Scripture indicates that as time went by He revealed more and more of who He was. At the start of His ministry with the disciples He simply said “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mat. 4:19). He did not tell them everything about Himself or about what was going to happen. It was just the first invitation to follow. By the end of His investment in them He said, “I no longer call you servants but I call you friends, for all things I have heard from my father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Then in a huge act of transparency He says to His disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me” (Matt. 26:37).
The One who is the “Head over every authority” said to His creation “My soul is sorrowful, stay with me.” That blows my mind. But, I see this as a model because the disciples were able to see how Jesus related to the Father in his most sorrowful moment so far in His life. It was a moment of great intimacy.
Those we disciple need to see how we walk with God in our hardest moments. We need to be open to having those we disciple sit with us while we hurt.
Some insights I have learned about this.
1) We miss out on the power of God in the Body when we are not transparent.
2) It is hard…but when done by the leading of the Holy Spirit it is life transforming.
3) It takes wisdom and discernment. You don’t want to throw all your trash on the table on day one.
4) It is still hard…there will be times when you are transparent and people will turn their back on you…but we still need to model it in faith.
5) Moments of true transparency are moments orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to teach us how to love one another.
2. Time and Patience – All I really want to say about this is that we do not need to be frustrated if intimacy does not happen fast. True intimacy takes time. The relationship I have with Brent, Josh, and Brett took time. We can not force it but we can be faithful to one another through caring and encouraging one another in the Lord so that the stage is set for the Holy Spirit to move when He wants to move. Paul says they were gentle and caring like a mother and encouraging like a father…laboring night and day (1 Thess 2:7-12). Be patient. Be faithful. Pray for intimacy to come.