Relationships and God

Imagine you are the only human being left on earth after a terrible calamity.  How would you feel?

I know how I would feel – lost, lonely, desperate.  And I say that even though I am an introvert and love times of solitude.

God knew that we needed relationships even before the creation of the universe.  He made Eve to be a companion to Adam.

Indeed, the perfect relationship is the relationship of love between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

But what about the tragic, abusive and heart-breaking relationships we have with family, friends and acquaintances?  Why does God allow this to happen to us?

I believe it is because relationships are the best way to shape us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is preparation for the life to come with God in heaven.

At one time, Jesus said that everything in the law of God in the Old Testament hangs on two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39)

These commandments speak about relationships – with God and with others.  They are commands to love which runs against the inner selfishness in all of us.

The love that Jesus is talking about is impossible for me in my natural life.  I am too self-centred, demanding that my needs be met first before I care for others.

It is interesting that in the Matthew 22 passage, Jesus says that loving God is the first and greatest commandment.  I believe that it is only in loving God that we can truly love others unselfishly.

The apostle John says in 1 John 4 that we love because God loved us.  It is the love of God that transforms – not the self-love that seeks payback before caring for others.

John says that loving one another – even the most difficult and hard-to-love among us – is proof that the love of God is at work in us.

The kind of love that the Bible is talking about is illustrated in the apostle Paul’s great chapter on love – 1 Corinthians 13.  Here are just a couple of lines from that passage:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

That is not me.  But I do not despair.

God is working in me to smooth out the rocky parts.  He knows I am weak and that the older I get, the more I will realize my weakness.  The more I know I am weak, the more I will turn to his Spirit to change me.

That is the first step to being changed into the image of Christ.

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