Relationships are the fundamental interactions of people that define and shape ourselves and others. As we are made as image bearers of God Himself, we have innate characteristics that are properly aligned to be understood as “relationship identity”. God is a triune God, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and His very character is that of relationally living. To fully understand God one must undertake the journey to understand all three unique and integral facets of His existence. The Father divorced from the Holy Spirit, or the Son existing without the Father, are impossibilities, because without those defining relationships being innately in existence you would not have the Father as revealed in scripture.
In this same fundamental sense, we cannot understand who we are individually without understanding who we are relationally. Our Image Bearing of the Divine comes with it the basic tenet that we are indeed shaped and defined by the types of relationships we have, their depth, their length, their quality, their types. For those who have become parents you recognize that in a very wonderful way you are no longer “just” so-and-so. You are now the mommy or daddy of someone. New people that you meet and forge relationships with might initially only know you as the parent of their child’s friend. It was actually quite a shock to me when I discovered that my parents referred to each other by their first names, and not just “mom” or “dad”!
For so many people, we are lost and floundering. Depression, confusion, loneliness, anger, frustration, fear, are some of the defining words we either feel periodically, or, nearly constantly. This is because we sense that we are untethered to the fundamentally necessary aspect of our very existence: Relationship. And not just any relationship, but the essential defining relationship that we are ultimately made for. Relationship with our Creator. Our Abba Father. Our greatest need is to restore that relationship to its rightful place. That is when we will begin to experience life in the way we know that we should.
Establishing solid footing for your primary (read God) relationship is the most important thing you can do to help you navigate the waters of life. From a finite perspective of my basic human relationships this is very clearly illustrated. I would contend that my most important relationship status is that of husband and father. It is over and above all other relationships: My job, my parents, my friends, my neighbors, etc. This in no way is a devaluation of these other relationships; it simply informs how I respond to them and how they are defined. It gives me a clear “true North” in decision making. In all situations that I may find myself in I look towards the effects upon my family as a primary guide for the decisions I make.
This is all simply laid out to preface a series that I am endeavoring to undertake for the edification of myself and those who I hope to be reading: “Rightfully Motivated Scripture Study that leads to Rightful Scripture Study”. How do these preceding statements of relational issues pertain to the study of scriptures? Fundamentally, because the study of scripture is the study of God in His completeness(at least complete to the degree in which He has chosen to reveal Himself).
Like any healthy relationship, the development and sustenance of that relationship is deeply rooted in an ever deepening intimacy in your knowledge of the “other”. Scripture is not a musty old tome of long past quoted literature, instead, it is correctly understood to be a living and breathing thing that allows us mere mortals to feel the breath of God breathing upon our face on every page. Therefore, if you were to be in pursuit of deeper relationship with God, you must make yourself available to hear His voice. I cannot get to know my wife better by never listening to her, or, ignoring her completely. There must be a daily pursuit of hearing her words and the heart that those words reveal.
Over the next few weeks I will be addressing what I feel are the fundamental approaches to scripture that we should incorporate into our Christian life. Devotionally, Interpersonally, Relationally, Studiously, Disciplinelly(sp…?), Consistently, Prayerfully, Outwardly. Ultimately, if you undertake the journey of growing more confident in your knowledge, intimacy, and depth of your relationship with God through learning to listen to Him better, I trust that you “true North” will solidify itself into your life as a beacon of hope in times of suffering and confusion.