(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated
By Iain Dick
Relationships can be complicated. We think we know where we stand with someone, then they do something that surprises you, or you do something that upsets them. The ebb and flow of relationships can be both fluid, and steadfast.
As much as Christianity is a religion, the way we best understand it is when we describe it as our relationship with God. Like any relationship, it’s a two-way street, a partnership, and can feel like it’s lacking in places.
The nature of our relationship with our Heavenly Father is such that if it feels like there’s lack, it’s in no way on His part, but on ours. The Gospel is how God writes us back into His story by reaching out His hand of grace to us, so that we may continue in our partnership. That sounds pretty great, right?
But what happens when your partnership with God is off?
Life gets busy. Jobs are demanding. Family life can be taxing. Kids can leave you feeling worn out. Maybe it’s been a while since you had any real quality time with God because you’re so full from dealing with life, that you have nothing left to give. Where’s the time, energy, or space for our covenant relationship?
We find in the Old Testament; the concept of covenant brings two equal parties together in a bilateral relationship. They both are sealed into a bond, vowing to each have equal responsibility and privileges – the agreement is equally and mutually beneficial because they both bring the same value to the table. Now, usually, you would find the language surrounding this kind of agreement would be that “they made a covenant [together]”. But in Genesis 15, we find the account of God’s covenant with Abram. In verse 18 of that passage, it says “…the Lord made a covenant with Abram…”.
That’s a game-changer! Do you know what that means? In our relationship with God, we don’t need to bring anything to the table, He has done it all! We give over our whole selves as living sacrifices to God, but I think we can end up creating a list of things that we need to do after that to stay in God’s grace. Praise God that’s not how it works.
For this whole year, we have looked at how we as Christians can go back to basics. The fact is, we human beings can complicate things way more than we need to. Relationships are hard at times and can be pretty complicated. But the good news with this relationship – it’s actually not complicated at all. It’s simple.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that those who believe in Him will not die, but have eternal life. It’s that simple. He loved. He gave. We believe in the Son, and are given the amazing gift of eternal life together with the Father. It’s honestly crazy how easy this is. But I get it, like I said earlier, life gets in the way. That’s “our bad.” So, here are some simple steps to help us not lose touch with this incredible partnership.
- Remember your first love – In Revelation, Paul instructs the church in Ephesus to repent after they had turned their back in Him. He was their first love, and He is yours too. Every so often, set yourself a reminder to stop and think about God. Ask yourself if you are walking away from, or towards Him. Pray.
- Seek first the Kingdom – In Matthew, Jesus himself tells us to seek His Kingdom, and His righteousness first, and everything you will need will be added to you. He’s promising to take care of you if you only put Him in first place in your life. Repent.
- Love the Lord – Love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. That’s all-inclusive. With every part of you that you use to love, use it to love Him. Worship.
- Love others, as you (ought to) love yourself – It’s tricky to catch yourself being self-seeking, but take time to find ways to serve others in your family, in your local church, in the world. Serve.
These are just some simple stepping stones, not an exhaustive guide to a mighty partnership – but it is a good place to start. Like every relationship imaginable, it takes one person to make the choice to take steps towards the other. God has taken His. It’s your move.