The Incarnation and intimacy

By Dave Henning / January 2, 2018

“If intimacy is shared experience, then the Incarnation is its greatest expression, its highest articulation, its deepest sacrifice.”- John Ortberg

In Chapter 14 (“At Last: Real Intimacy”), the concluding chapter of I’d Like You More . . . , John Ortberg beautifully describes the Incarnation, in the context of intimacy, as shared experience.  Pastor Ortberg notes how, in the Incarnation, God shared our:

  • experience of loneliness
  • tiredness
  • fear and guilt
  • joy at having a body
  • pain at having that body hurt
  • comfort in others embracing us
  • despair at feeling God-forsaken

However, several decades ago, two mental health researchers discovered a new disease.  Hence, following their study, they named the condition the Imposter Phenomenon.  John defines this epidemic:

“It’s the haunting belief that I’m not as smart or tough or good or successful or happy as I’ve lead other people to believe.  That the self I have so carefully crafted for you to see is not really me.  Ironically, the better I am at crafting this false self — the more applause and approval it wins — the more isolated becomes the true and unloved self I keep carefully hidden.”

Furthermore, the two researchers posit, only one healing exists for the Imposter Phenomenon.  That healing? – do precisely what you don’t want to do. Make yourself known.  In addition, courageously reveal your fears, inadequacies, and shame.  As a result, that enables others to see and love your real self.

Consequently, that presents a problem.  For everyone else hides their real selves as well.  Thus, Jesus became like us and entered our world.  Finally, as Pastor Ortberg explains, in Jesus God became real:

“In Jesus, God became fleshy and messy and needy.  God could be touched.  God could be hugged.  In Jesus, God said, ‘Close is better.’ ”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you reveal your real self?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Getting close – love and grace catch us unawares”

About the author

Dave Henning

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