The fourth and highest level of friendship is that of intimate friendship and fellowship, where friends are committed to each other’s character. It is here where true intimacy begins to take place - intimacy of spirit and mind rather than body - a connectedness in which friends not work together on shared interests, but walk together in oneness of spirit. Such intimacy among friends requires the freedom to correct each other, which is why this level is so risky. Being open to
correction means making ourselves vulnerable, and many people
are not willing to do that. Consequently, they never experience
true, intimate friendship with anyone

Just as with close friends, but to an even greater degree,intimate friends share the same vision, the same life goals, and are
walking in the same direction. They are "fellows" on the same
ship."

By this understanding, a believer cannot truly be intimate friends with a non-believer because they are not headed in the same direction. The best place to meet and make an intimate friend is on the road to the Kingdom of God

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had friendships at every level. He had many acquaintances that knew Him by sight, but had little other contact. Casual friends were fewer in number. These were the people who followed Jesus or attached themselve to His ministry in some way but were not close enough to know
His heart. Jesus' close friends included the 12 men He chose as His disciples, as well as a few others outside that circle, such as Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and several women who often accompanied Jesus and supported Him out of their means. Of the 12 disciples, three Peter, James, and John
ere favored to become Jesus' intimate friends. 
Those three alone accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration. They alone went with Him into the room where
Jarius' daughter lay dead and witnessed Jesus bring her back to life.
Peter, James, and John truly were Jesus' companions. A companion is one with whom you explore the deep thoughts of your heart, dreams, aspirations, weaknesses, fears and desires.

There were things that Jesus told the disciples that He did not tell nyone else. Many were the times when Jesus taugh
es in parables and later, privately, explained in greater detail to disciples.

Jesus' casual friends were interested in His interests, His close friends were
committed to His goals, but
intimate friends were after His heart

The presence or absence of commitment is the main way to distinguish between levels of friendship.

Acquaintances and casual friendships carry little or no commitment and the ebb and flow of life constantly takes some of them out of our sphere of influence and brings others into it.

Close and intimate friendship are committed to the long-term. Intimate friends are committed to the development of each other's character. That means that they are driven to do everything in their power to help each other be better than the day before. We need to ask ourselves,"Do I have that kind of friend? but even more importantly, "Am I that kind of friend?

True and intimate friends look out for each other's welfare. They are not afraid to say, "Don't do that, because it's not good
for you. "They will not say or do anything or put pressure on each other that could lead to damaged or compromised character. If, for example, your so-called dating "friend" is always pressuring
you to have sex, you need to reevaluate the nature of that friendship. A true friend will not put that kind of pressure on you Anyone who does should be relegated to a casual friend or an acquaintance. Save your intimate friendship for someone who
will be committed to your character.

As believers we reserve our intimate friendships for other believers, because then we are mutually committed to helping each other live and walk in the will and purpose of God to develop godly
character. This does not mean that we should not be friends with non-believers. How then can we influence them for Christ? It does mean that we should remember that no matter how much we may have in common with our non believing friends in the areas of interest​s, hobbies and the like, we are on completely different planes spiritually​.

Our Intimate friends should be people who are seeking the kingdom of God just as we are.

One characteristic of true intimacy is the capacity to both give and receive correction with grace and appreciation. Intimate friends love each other enoigh not to let sin, errors, or wrong​ direction go uncorrected.

They respect and trust each other​ enough to receive correction without resentment or suspicion.

Intimate friends are comfortable in the knowledge that they are committed to each other's welfare and greatest good.

Intimate friendship carries with it the mutual responsibility of open honesty with discretion. Openness is essential to intmacy but true friends will carefully guard each other's confdences. There are some things we can tell our dearest friends that no one else needs to know.

Here are some practical steps we can take to become good intimate friends.

First, be ready, willing, and available to give our friends comfort and support during their times of trial​ and sorrow. At the same time, we should be just as ready to rejoice with them in times of success and prosperity​

It has been said that shared sorrow is halved while shared joy is doubled. Friends support each other in joy or sorrow, in good or bad times.

Second, we should assume a measure of personal responsibility for our friends' reputations. We should be jealous for the integrity of their good name and quick to defend them against​ criticism and attack. If criticism and correction are justifiable,
we should do it privately and in a manner that preserves friend's honor and dignity

Third, we need to be sensitive to traits and attitudes that need improvement, not only in our friend’s lives, but also in our own. If we are committed to personal character development, we must be open to ways to improve and help our friends in the same way.

Levels of Friendship Part 4: Intimate Friendship
 
The fourth and highest level of friendship is that of intimate friendship and fellowship, where friends are committed to each other's character. It is here where true intmacy begins to take place - intimacy of spirit and mind rather than body - a connectedness in which friends not work together on shared interests, but walk together in oneness of spirit. Such intimacy among friends requires the freedom to correct each other, which is why this level is so risky. Being open to
correction means making ourselves vulnerable, and many people
are not willing to do that. Consequently, they never experience
true, intimate friendship with anyone

Just as with close friends, but to an even greater degree,intimate friends share the same vision, the same life goals, and are
walking in the same direction. They are "fellows" on the same
ship."

By this understanding, a believer cannot truly be intimate friends with a non-believer because they are not headed in the same direction. The best place to meet and make an intimate friend is on the road to the Kingdom of God

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had friendships at every level. He had many acquaintances that knew Him by sight, but had little other contact. Casual friends were fewer in number. These were the people who followed Jesus or attached themselve to His ministry in some way but were not close enough to know His heart. Jesus' close friends included the 12 men He chose as His disciples, as well as a few others outside that circle, such as Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and several women who often accompanied Jesus and supported Him out of their means. Of the 12 disciples, three Peter, James, and John
ere favored to become Jesus' intimate friends. 
Those three alone accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration. They alone went with Him into the room where
Jarius' daughter lay dead and witnessed Jesus bring her back to life.
Peter, James, and John truly were Jesus' companions. A companion is one with whom you explore the deep thoughts of your heart, dreams, aspirations, weaknesses, fears and desires.

There were things that Jesus told the disciples that He did not tell nyone else. Many were the times when Jesus taugh
es in parables and later, privately, explained in greater detail to disciples.

Jesus' casual friends were interested in His interests, His close friends were
committed to His goals, but
intimate friends were after His heart

The presence or absence of commitment is the main way to distinguish between levels of friendship.

Acquaintances and casual friendships carry little or no commitment and the ebb and flow of life constantly takes some of them out of our sphere of influence and brings others into it.

Close and intimate friendship are committed to the long-term. Intimate friends are committed to the development of each other's character. That means that they are driven to do everything in their power to help each other be better than the day before. We need to ask ourselves,"Do I have that kind of friend? but even more importantly, "Am I that kind of friend?

True and intimate friends look out for each other’s welfare. They are not afraid to say, "Don’t do that, because it’s not good for you. "They will not say or do anything or put pressure on each other that could lead to damaged or compromised character. If, for example, your so-called dating "friend" is always pressuring you to have sex, you need to reevaluate the nature of that friendship. A true friend will not put that kind of pressure on you Anyone who does should be relegated to a casual friend or an acquaintance. Save your intimate friendship for someone who
will be committed to your character.

As believers we reserve our intimate friendships for other believers, because then we are mutually committed to helping each other live and walk in the will and purpose of God to develop godly
character. This does not mean that we should not be friends with non-believers. How then can we influence them for Christ? It does mean that we should remember that no matter how much we may have in common with our non believing friends in the areas of interest​s, hobbies and the like, we are on completely different planes spiritually​.

Our Intimate friends should be people who are seeking the kingdom of God just as we are.

One characteristic of true intimacy is the capacity to both give and receive correction with grace and appreciation. Intimate friends love each other enoigh not to let sin, errors, or wrong​ direction go uncorrected.

They respect and trust each other​ enough to receive correction without resentment or suspicion.

Intimate friends are comfortable in the knowledge that they are committed to each other's welfare and greatest good.

Intimate friendship carries with it the mutual responsibility of open honesty with discretion. Openness is essential to intmacy but true friends will carefully guard each other's confdences. There are some things we can tell our dearest friends that no one else needs to know.

Here are some practical steps we can take to become good intimate friends.

First, be ready, willing, and available to give our friends comfort and support during their times of trial​ and sorrow. At the same time, we should be just as ready to rejoice with them in times of success and prosperity​

It has been said that shared sorrow is halved while shared joy is doubled. Friends support each other in joy or sorrow, in good or bad times.

Second, we should assume a measure of personal responsibility for our friends' reputations. We should be jealous for the integrity of their good name and quick to defend them against​ criticism and attack. If criticism and correction are justifiable, we should do it privately and in a manner that preserves friend’s honor and dignity

Third, we need to be sensitive to traits and attitudes that need improvement, not only in our friend’s lives, but also in our own. If we are committed to personal character development, we must be open to ways to improve and help our friends in the same way.

Similarly, we must discern the basic causes of character deficiencies in our friends as well as in ourselves. Seeking character flaws in our friends is not for the purpose of criticism, but for correction. 
We want them to become the best people they can be. As concerned outsiders, we can see their character flaws better than they can. This is a two-way street, however. Our friends can also see in us character deficiencies that we cannot see in ourselves. True friends are committed to working with each other to become better people

A fifth step is to build our friends' interest in correcting their own deficiencies by asking them to tell us about ours. This goes hand-in-hand with number four

Sixth, we should search the Scriptures for keys to building strong character, either alone or with our friends, and discuss our findings. In this way we can grow together

Finally, no matter what, we should always be committed to faithfulness, loyalty, and availability

*Originally from Dr. Myles Monroe's Waiting and Dating Book

A fifth step is to build our friends' interest in correcting their own deficiencies by asking them to tell us about ours. This goes hand-in-hand with number four

Sixth, we should search the Scriptures for keys to building strong character, either alone or with our friends, and discuss our findings. In this way we can grow together

Finally, no matter what, we should always be committed to faithfulness, loyalty, and availability

*Originally from Dr. Myles Monroe's Waiting and Dating Book