I enjoy writing each week, and one of the common reasons I do is that I am able to elaborate more on sermon material.
Yesterday we discussed how God ought to be the foundation of our life, and that God’s divine love must guide all other relationships, too. I used the illustration of a target, which I got from Danny Silk, a pastor in California. I’ve referenced Silk’s material several times before in his Christian-based counseling organization, Loving on Purpose.
This is just a brief example of how Silk often recommends we interact with others. It is so important to develop meaningful interactions with a spouse, children, family, and/or close fiends. Silk defines intimacy as “into me you see”–kind of a play on the word. When are are vulnerable with someone, we show some degree of intimacy, whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy. Without properly cultivating these relationships, our whole life often suffers.
So how should we build and manage our intimacy with others?
1. God- Your innermost circle only has space for God.
Just like the picture above, God needs to have your heart above all else. God knows you better than any parent, husband, wife, or friend ever could. God knows your innermost thoughts and will never let you down. You can always count on God. God will never betray you. Jesus in Matthew tells the story of two builders, one who built a house on sand and another on the rock. The point of this teaching is that we need to keep God as our foundation, otherwise we will either struggle or crumble from life’s challenges. Keep God #1!
2. Spouse- Your closest relationship with another human being.
Godly marriage isn’t exactly normal in our world. What I mean by that is that there are so many temptations and opportunities to devalue physical intimacy and the marriage covenant. Sexual intimacy is twisted and distorted through things like pornography. Marriages often fall apart because of unfaithfulness. It seems like every week there is breaking news concerning a high-profile figure cheating on a spouse, whether a politician, musician, or movie star. And on an individual, everyday level, too many people in our world simply put up with a husband or wife, rather that working continually to develop that sacred relationship.
So, if you are married, you need to keep God at the center of that covenant. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “A cord of three strands is not easily broken”–the three strands meaning husband, wife, and God. Both people need to have God in their hearts for marriage to truly thrive.
3. Very Close Friends- You need to have a couple of people who know you extremely well.
We find an example of this in the gospels with Jesus, John, and Peter. John was often referred to as the “disciple Jesus loved” and Peter was tasked with leading the early church. You could argue that Peter and John were Jesus’ “best friends.” We also have the same need in our life, too. If you’re going through a tough time, you need people with whom you can be vulnerable with and share in your struggles.
4. Close Friends/Family- Have about a dozen people you can turn to for all the needs.
Again, Jesus showed us this example through his life with the 12 disciples. Jesus had a core group of friends he ministered to. One tragic thing is that in our world we struggle to make friends. We often cannot name a dozen people with whom we can have deeper, more open conversations. We might be able to name folks we enjoy being around, but we have to ask ourselves if we have friendships that go deeper beyond sports, work, or surface-level interests. It is important to have people who we can turn to throughout both good and bad seasons of life.
Intimacy is all about who we chose to let into our life. As I mentioned on Sunday, not everyone has a key to our house (or even our phone number for that matter!). Many people struggle with intimacy because they put a husband, wife, child, or friend at the center of their heart, instead of God. We also might struggle with intimacy if we are too closed-off and refuse to trust anyone.
We are designed to live with God at the center of our heart and life, and then work outward, always relying on the power of Christ to deepen and develop all those other relationships.