Relationship

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

"In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." (John 14:20)

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me." (John 15:4)

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." (John 15:9)

God exists in relationship; therefore, relationship is a foundation for existence. Because we are created in the likeness of God, relationship is one of our foundational needs. We can't realize the fullness of our potential without it. We are like an eight cylinder machine trying to function on four cylinders.

God did not create us to live in isolation, we must attach in a healthy way to other human beings. Some of us have difficulty with this. Down inside, we want to relate to others, but we hold back. Perhaps it is fear of being rejected, of not being accepted by the one with whom we want to relate. Maybe we feel inadequate in our ability to love others and share with them.

This is a dilemma for many. We sense the need for intimate relationship with at least one other person, but we have no idea how to go about it. Sometimes, this sense of need intensifies. Our inability to fill the void can lead us into depression. It is no fun being alone, and some of us can be alone in a crowd.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:15,16)

Love is the basic identity of God. It is basic to our identity also, for we are made in His image. Without love, there can be no intimate relationship. Intimacy implies close relationship, the kind in which we share personal and private thoughts without fear of being betrayed or scolded or laughed at.

This kind of relationship can't exist without love, but it is a kind of love that we human beings can't manufacture. Such love must be initiated by God. It is a love that allows us to bond closely to another person, with no controlling strings attached.

When we permit this love of God to come in, it fills an empty reservoir, and becomes a storage tank that never runs dry, no matter how much we allow to flow out.

Some of us may deny our need for someone with whom to bond. If we grew up in an atmosphere where good, safe relationships were not available, we learned to deny that we need them or even want them. But losing our awareness of the need doesn't mean we lose the need.

Some of us rationalize the need away by hyperactivity. We stay too busy to take time to bond. We feel that if we accomplish all the things we need to accomplish, we have no needs. This is deception. Hyperactivity masquerades our real need.

Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." (1 Corinthians 12:27,21)

We are part of the body of Christ. We can't be emotionally amputated and expect to survive. We should reach out for the support of others as well as for ourselves. We can't take for granted that others recognize how emotionally isolated we are and come to our rescue. It may help to realize we are not alone. The majority of people are like us in this respect.

Realization of our need is the beginning of growth. Of course, it requires our willingness to make ourselves vulnerable. This means we are to find someone willing to meet us on the same level, someone who realizes his or her need, and is ready to do something about it.

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18)

God did not intend for us to live isolated lives. Empathizing with the needs of others is a good place for the heart-softening process to begin. Every day provides an opportunity to reach out. Disciples know it is impossible to give a hug without receiving one in return.

We begin to bond with God simply by saying, "Yes, Lord." If we journalize our prayers and His answers, He becomes more personal to us. We can ask Him specifically for someone with whom we can safely bond. After we ask, we should wait patiently for that person to appear. In the meantime, we continue to journalize with the Lord.

God did not create us to be emotionally independent. Tender feelings are not something to be despised and stuffed down into some deep, dark solitary cell in our brains. We need to be able to express our feelings without fear of reprisal. The safest place is with Jesus. We should practice being honest with Him first.

We should take a chance and reach out. Others need us as much as we need them. First, we pray, then trust Jesus to bring us together with someone. It may be the beginning of a new, healthy, wholesome walk. We may even have a need fulfilled that we didn't know existed!

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: Do I have a healthy, intimate relationship with anyone?