Life does not consist of the abundance of possessions; the accomplishment of great and mighty deeds; or the attainment of victory, success, and recognition. Rather, life consists of the quality of one’s relationships. And this is “life” that you might “know” the Father, and in knowing Him, that you would make Him known (John 17:3). By this shall all men “know,” by your love for one another (John 13:35) .
I wrote those words in the back of my Bible almost thirty years ago. Those words, spoken to my heart by the Holy Spirit, mean much more now than they did when I first heard them. They remind me that God longs for real life relationships. He longs for us to know Him intimately, He longs to express His love to others through us, and He longs for the world to see His love manifested in the church, so they too will come into real life relationships.
We live in a culture that values performance and achievement, and, for many, the acquisition of material wealth is the primary indicator of success. Because of this cultural plumb line, many people spend countless hours in driven pursuit of that which ultimately leaves them empty and lonely. So busy doing, they have little time to cultivate intimate relationships – with God or others. This pursuit creates a false identity and many feel like they must hide behind their achievements and busy lifestyles to appear acceptable to others. Unfortunately, this keeps people from regularly experiencing the reality of God’s unconditional love and unqualified acceptance.
God calls us to come to Him in truth. In other words, He wants to bring us into His reality – the reality that He loves us for who we are, not what we do for Him or others. He wants us to know that in spite of our weaknesses and failures, He enjoys us and longs to talk to us, encourage us, and love us. He wants us to understand that our true identities are rooted in receiving His love for us and returning our love to Him. We discover this as we spend time in prayer and listen for His affirmations. Likewise, God desires for us to experience genuine relationships with others. Like prayer, genuine relationships take time to cultivate. God calls us to be real with Him and with one another.
Not only is God the creator of life, He is life itself. Life expresses of the nature and character o the creator. When we come to Him in prayer as we really are, not hiding behind our achievements and acquisitions, or hiding in shame because of the lack thereof, we discover His acceptance—simply because we are his children. We discover the wonder of His abundant life and the overflow of his expressive affection. In turn, that real life produces an abiding and vibrant relationship that bears fruit as it expresses itself in relationship to those around us. As we are restored to the Father’s heart, His heart flows through us to draw others in to the reality of that same restoration.
God calls all of us into real life relationships. What if we evaluated our lives by the quality of our relationships and not by the abundance of our achievements or the quantity of our possessions? Take some time to talk to the Father about your relationships. Ask Him to show you what quality relationships look like. Pray for the courage to seek out real life relationships so that the world will see real love and come into a life-giving relationship with the Father also.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. . .