THE WHOLE-HEARTED LEADER
PILLAR 2: INTIMACY
Understanding Intimacy and its Importance
How do we grow in our intimacy with God, so that we also grow in intimacy with one another– especially our loved ones?
In this second pillar of the Whole-hearted Leader series, we’re going to learn how brain science helps prove that our joyful connection is vitally important. We’ll also learn about how we connect – not just mentally, but emotionally and spiritually. We’re going to learn how to experience the Emmanuel Moment, a great first step to inner healing, to wholeness of heart, and to be able to connect to God and to one another in a way that is raw, real, and vulnerable.
Just to review – our first pillar was Identity: understanding who we are, replacing legitimacy lies with truth, and breaking off some of that orphan mindset. You need to look to Scripture and the Lord’s prophetic words and promises over your life to define your identity. It is more than what you do – it is who you are!
Now, we’re going to talk about intimacy with God, which grows out of knowing God’s identity in us and who we are in Him. It takes an intentional time of intimacy to really grow in our relationship with God. If anyone wants to grow in the anointing and graces of God in their life, it’s important that they grow in intimacy with God.
How does everything flow from intimacy?
Intimacy is important, not just for the anointing, but because it is out of intimacy that everything else flows. Being whole-hearted, being fruitful – it all flows from intimacy. When we are abiding in Him – united with the heart of Jesus – then things start happening. Then we become fruitful. We need to focus on Him – not on ourselves or our ministry.
You know, anytime you want to build a relationship with somebody – you need to spend quality time with them. You need to be able to ask them questions, have dialogue, and get to know them. That’s how we build our relationship with God. We want to be able to take some time and intentionally focus our attention on God – on listening to God as well as speaking to God.
What does true prayer involve?
Prayer isn’t just us saying what we need to say or asking God for something, but prayer is also listening to the voice of the Lord. This is Christianity 101. This is entry-level; every person ought to know they should hear the voice of the Lord. It’s disheartening when I run into adult Christians who’ve been practicing believers all their lives and serving in the church, and yet they question whether they hear God.
Yes, we all must test what we’re hearing and make sure that it’s the Lord. But the more you grow in the Lord the more you recognize His voice amongst all the others. If my husband were to call me on the phone, he would not have to announce, “Hey Cindy, this is your husband Chris.” I’m used to hearing his voice. I can recognize it amongst any other man that would be calling me.
When you are truly intimate with God, you will recognize His voice. You won’t need to be wondering if it’s all just in your head, or if it’s another spirit. The more time you spend with Him, the easier it is to recognize Him.
Why do we need to steward our prayer time?
We need to take time to grow in intimacy with God. We’re not just saying rote prayers. We’re not just going through and declaring all the things we believe. When you really want to grow in intimacy, it’s about a heart-to-heart connection.
When I was dating my husband – we dated for three years before we got married – we took time to grow in our relationship. We went on dates, we had those long three-hour phone calls, where we’re asking all kinds of questions. I was able to discover who he was and what he really was about and to ask him questions and have a dialogue. And that’s what we do with God when we read His Word and spend time with Him.
And I know that, as believers, we all know this, but I also know how busy we get. And there’s times and seasons where we might feel closer to the Lord or more disconnected. If you happen to be in a season of feeling disconnected right now – if you’re in a valley season or a trying season – that is the most important time to be pressing into the Lord and to be growing your intimacy with Him.
How do we define intimacy?
I like Jack Frost’s definition. He says, “Intimacy is into me you see.” It’s really about unveiling these deep places in our hearts and opening ourselves to be vulnerable and transparent. When you’re building a close connection with a friend or family member, it’s because they get to see all of you. They get to see not just the masks or the face you might wear at work, they see every aspect of you – the good, bad, the ugly. It’s being whole-hearted. It’s being absolutely transparent and real.
Growing in intimacy with God and with others is intrinsic to growing into a whole-hearted leader. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have boundaries, because there’s only a certain few who will have access to the deepest place of our hearts. But with God and then with those in our sphere of influence, we need to be authentic and willing to invest time building relationships.
Our Father God longs to engage with us. He longs for us to not just be obedient, but to know Him intimately. And to grow as a whole-hearted leader, we need to invest in building relationships with others – not only at an intellectual level but also on an emotional and spiritual level. We need others to feel safe being open with us. We need to relate in-depth with God and with those around us.
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