We Were Created for Relationship
First with God
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. (Matt 22:36-38 ESV)
Second with Our Fellow Man
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. (Matt 22:39-40 ESV)
Relationship With God
In God's original design, knowledge was relational. Knowing someone implied an intimate personal relationship. You can see it in Genesis 4:1: "Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived" (KJV). Yet we don't generally equate a knowledge of someone with personal intimacy. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve knew God, not sexually of course, but in the intimacy of a close, personal relationship which we associate with marriage. They knew God by being with God.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV)
Indeed, I [apostle Paul] count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Phil 3:8 ESV)
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The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Romans 15:2
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:13
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. Job 6:14
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 John 3:11
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Romans 14:5
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
If your sense of worth comes through your identity in Christ and your godly character, then your family will serve as the essential foundation for your personal development, since God works primarily through committed relationships.
Matthew 11:28-30 contains a beautiful description of the purpose and pace of the Spirit-filled walk. Jesus invites you to a restful walk in tandem with Him, just as two oxen walk together under the same yoke. "How can a yoke be restful?" you ask. Because Jesus' yoke is an easy yoke. As the lead ox, Jesus walks at a steady pace. If you pace yourself with Him, your burden will be easy. But if you take a passive approach to the relationship, you'll be painfully dragged along in the yoke because Jesus keeps walking. Or if you try to race ahead or turn off in another direction, the yoke will chafe your neck and your life will be uncomfortable. The key to a restful yoke-relationship with Jesus is to learn from Him and open yourself to His gentleness and humility.
right doctrine is never an end in itself. True doctrine governs our relationship with God and man. Many Christians have a relationship with God that is only theological, not personal. Those accustomed to the word of righteousness should be sensitive to the personal leading of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our first line of defense. Our personal relationship with God is made possible by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who does not silently sit by in the face of danger, but prompts us to choose what is true and right.
1 John 1:7 If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.
Fellowship with God is not an abstract theological concept, but a living relationship. Living in continuous agreement with God is to walk in the light.
What makes it possible to be this open with God about our condition is the fact that we are already His children. Our eternal state is not at stake, only our daily victory. We don't have to pretend with God in the hope that He will accept us. As His children we're already accepted, so we are free to be honest with Him. We have no relationship to lose, only fellowship to gain. Knowing that we're secure in Christ, we can express ourselves honestly to Him. He already knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).
A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
John 1:14 The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth
What effect did the Fall produce in Adam's mind? He and Eve lost their true perception of reality. We read in Genesis 3:7, 8, that they tried to hide from God. Doesn't that reveal a faulty understanding of who God is? How can you hide from God? After the Fall, Adam and Eve weren't thinking straight.
In essence, when Adam and Eve sinned, their minds were robbed of the true knowledge of God. In God's original design, knowledge was relational. Knowing someone implied an intimate personal relationship. You can see it in Genesis 4:1: "Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived" (KJV). Yet we don't generally equate a knowledge of someone with personal intimacy.
Before the Fall, Adam and Eve knew God, not sexually of course, but in the intimacy of a close, personal relationship which we associate with marriage. They knew God by being with God. When they sinned and were banished from the garden, Adam and Eve lost their relationship with God and the knowledge of God which was intrinsic to that relationship. And you and I inherited Adam and Eve's darkened mind. Before Christ, we knew something about God, but we didn't know God because we had no relationship with Him.
The necessity of being in relationship to God in order to know God comes into sharp focus in John's announcement: "The Word"-- logos in the Greek--"became flesh" (John 1:14). The word logos represented the highest form of philosophical knowledge. For the Greeks, saying that the logos became flesh was the same as saying that ultimate knowledge became personal and relational. God was announcing to the world through John: The true knowledge of God, which can only be discovered in an intimate relationship with God, is now available to the world through God in the flesh--Jesus Christ. In Christ we are able to know God personally, not just know about Him.
Prayer: Lord, I thirst for deeper intimacy in my relationship with You. I want to know You more personally today.
We must base our relationships with others on the same criteria on which God bases His relationship with us: love, acceptance and forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35).
The Power of Faith over Fear and Anxiety
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
"The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:17-19
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
"Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered for ever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes." Psalm 112:6-8
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
The Power of Truth Over Satan's Lies About God
Remembering the Lord loves and Cares for You.
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:31-32
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
"But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
1. Dr. Neil Anderson, Daily in Christ a Devotional. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1993), July 21. [emphasis added by webmaster]