>Isn’t it amazing how much is put out about relationships?! So much so, it is easy to forget that we were created by our Heavenly Father to be “relational”. While this term can be overused by many today (especially in the movements known as “Post Modernism” and the “Emergent Church”, the truth is – we were created from the beginning to be in relationship –
First, to be in relationship (or fellowship) with God the Father. Looking back to Adam and Eve. They had a personal relationship with God. This could be because they didn’t know sin. Yet after the Fall, that relationship was broken. Although several are said to have “walked with the Lord” after that time, no-one had the direct and personal relationship with God. Instead, walking with God represents being “in relation” or fellowship, but because of sin – mankind lost that personal and real relationship.
My firm belief is that God has created an earthly way of building relationships – and that is through His church. We are called to first restore our relationship with God, by accepting His gift of Grace and Eternal Life through repentance and gladly submitting ourselves to His Lordship. And then second, we are to engage with other born-again believers, to edify and to lift up each other in our relationship.
At the risk of hyper-spiritualizing things, I believe that God’s Word, when it describes the “Bride of Christ”, with the Bride being the church, is describing the restored perfect relationship with God of those who are truly His and part of the body. In the meantime, we have a means or path to grow, to mature, and to become more Christ-like in our daily walk – and a big part of that tool is being a plugged-in and active member of the local church. It is through the church that God receives real glory. It is through our interaction with fellow believers that we are “sharpened” as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
But again, back to the whole topic of relationships – Further proof that we are made for relationship is the fact that all people have, build, and foster relationships. For some, it is a healthy engagement in church and with fellow believers. For others their relationship revolves around things and possessions. Some people, they build relationships around emotions and feelings, and yet others have relationships that revolve around themselves. All of these are relationships.
So what this all boils down too – what relationships do you lean on? First should be a restored relationship and fellowship with God, through the only path God has provided, Jesus Christ – (John 14:6). And after we take that step of faith and repentance, we then should seek healthy relationships with other born-again believers who are also walking in faith, and who will build us, edifying through love and shared experiences.
Of course, as with any relationship – we must be vigilant to put aside our differences out of Love, to forgive (longsuffering), and to seek restoration with each other as we live in the forgiveness of The Father.