There is so much said and written about ‘relationships’ these days. Go to any magazine, newspaper, social media platform or T.V. channel, and there will be plenty of advice or comment on relationships, and plenty of gossip about the relationships of celebrities and people in the public eye. It’s interesting therefore that with all our technological advances, we human beings seem disposed to make such a mess of our human relationships, or at least seem to need so much advice to make them good.
Much of the difficulty in our relationships is about what is or isn’t being ‘done’ by one party or the other. The expectations each has of the other, whether that is in marriage, family or friendship relationships. Relationships only work well however if there is an agreement between the two parties in a relationship as to who they each are for each other in that relationship. What they do for each other will come out of how they see themselves in that relationship. For example; a marriage is not going to work if the husband thinks he has a maid and the wife thinks she has a friend and lover. Neither are going to do what the other thinks that they should, and although the wife might serve out of love, she is not a servant.
Yesterday we were talking about thanking God for who He is for us even when He doesn’t ‘do’ what we think He should, and today we are considering how, for God, our relationship to Him always comes first. Who we are in His eyes is more important to Him than what we do, and He wants what we do, to be a fruit of how we see ourselves in our relationship with God. This is why it is so important that we see who we are in God’s eyes, and that we agree with who He says we are in this relationship. The Lord doesn’t want slaves, or servants but children. We are His beloved children, 1John 3:1, and we love and serve Him from that place in His heart.
There is perfect relationship in the Trinity, perfect unity and perfect cooperation. The plan of Salvation is that we are drawn into Covenant relationship with the three amazing persons of the Trinity. God is our loving heavenly Father, Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Spirit is our beautiful friend and helper. The consistency of their goodness towards us is staggering and never dependant on our performance, but on who we now are ‘in Christ’. So we come to this amazing thing called ‘unconditional love’. Love is at the heart of the Trinity and so it is at the heart of our relationship with God too.
How can we not thank God daily for His unconditional love? There is so much love in God’s heart for you and me, it just never stops overflowing and pouring out towards us. ‘The Lord’s lovingkindnesses never cease.’ Lamentations 3:22 NASB. If I know how much I am loved then I am freed up from trying to earn that love by my own efforts. If I can rest and enjoy being loved unconditionally, then I don’t have to work hard to be accepted or to please Him. I don’t work hard to somehow get into God’s good books, that is to say, His favour, but I live from that place of favour as a well loved child of God.
If I can grasp something of ‘how wide and long and high and deep’ is His love for me, Ephesians 3:18, then when I read the Bible and pray it will not be to get spiritual ‘brownie points’ but because I know that He loves to hear me talk with Him, that He has things to say to me, and that whatever concerns me concerns Him. I will tell other people about Him because I am so blessed to be His child and I know that He wants others in His family too. It won’t be hard to make Him the Lord of my life if I know that He is totally for me, in every situation in which I find myself. I can love Him and others because He has first loved me, 1 John 4:19, and on and on.
What we do, and how we behave will come out of how we see ourselves in this relationship with God. Today I believe God wants each of us to know that He has made us totally ‘accepted in His beloved Son’ Ephesians 1:6, and as we thank Him for that truth, let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us any areas where we are still relying on our ‘performance’ to gain that acceptance. Let us thank Him for His unconditional love and determine to live from that place of acceptance no longer hoping to ‘get there’ by our own efforts but instead, (in the words of Stuart Townend’s song My First Love), ‘Like a child I will dance in His presence, Oh, let the joy of heaven pour down on me’.