The Power of Relationship

(This post came as the result of a conversation held during a recent staff meeting. Everyone in the room contributed content. We are blessed to have such a wise group of people in leadership positions at Crosswalk. Enjoy!)

Communication is key to building relationships. Conversing with someone, asking questions, and actively listening will produce intimacy. It always takes two people to communicate. The same is true when we study the Bible. If you want to understand what God is saying through His Word then you must read it through the lens of relationship.

You might ask, “How do I do that?” There is actually a very simple, practical way to do it. First, read the Bible. Sounds simple, but how many of us actually do it regularly? (Don’t answer that!) Second, when you are reading God’s Word take time to ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. First Corinthians 2:13 in the Phillips Translation says, “It is these things that we talk about, not using the expressions of the human intellect but those which the Holy Spirit teaches us, explaining things to those who are spiritual.” You are a spirit! Ask questions! We don’t necessarily understand everything we read the first time. But communion with God over His Word will help you understand what God is saying to YOU. To have a greater understanding of God’s Word you must consistently read the Bible through relationship. This is the way God designed things.

In Ephesians 5:26-32 Paul writes of the relationship between Jesus and the church. He used the marital relationship to express the level of intimacy that we should have with God.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body, but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great—but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (NET)

God gave us an entire book to remind us of what relationship means to Him. He gave the very best that Heaven had to offer when He sent Jesus to restore right relationship with His creation, YOU! When we neglect the Word of God, by not giving it the priority it deserves in our life we walk away from intimacy with God.

Revelation 2:4 (NET), “I am also aware that you have persisted steadfastly, endured much for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love!

God should be our FIRST love. Even in the natural, during the “first love” phase of marital relationships, there is a strong desire to just be with the one you love. You may be talking, or you may just be in the same room. You are connected at a heart level. It is not a mundane phase. It is a phase of discovery and excitement. God wants us to stay in that place in our relationship with Him. If we are bored with God we need to repent! That is a sure sign that we have left our first love. We will spend all eternity learning more about God. He is not boring!

There can be obstacles to this type of relationship with God and His Word. Often, people have a difficult time sharing in relationships because they have been hurt or rejected by others. We must discard any mindset that would hinder us in our relationship with God. Ephesians 1:6 (KJV) says, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” You are already accepted by God, so it is time to go deeper with Him.

Remember in 2 Samuel 6 where they were bringing the ark back and David danced wildly before the Lord? It said that the King’s daughter confronted him because of his behavior – she didn’t like it at all! But David’s response was, “Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . .”

David understood a relationship with God. He has done so much for us that we need to be ridiculous with God! Ridiculously in love. Unashamed of our relationship with Him. Unwilling to hide it. There should be a lot of PDA with God. (Public Display of Affection!) We will never get there until we start building an intimate relationship with God through His Word.

God’s Word is our strength during hard times. We all know that it is inevitable that hard times come. But if our foundation is based on the Word of God we will not fold like a house of cards when difficulty arises.

Matthew 13:20-21 (NKJV), “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

We don’t want to stumble. And most of the time we do not want to endure persecution. However, when we commit to giving God’s Word the honor it deserves – we may have to. This kind of relationship with God may necessitate the sacrifice of other relationships. Not everyone will want to go down this road with you. Like what happened with David some people may criticize or even mock you. However, any persecution we suffer will not be compared to the glory that will be revealed to you.

Romans 8:18 (Phillips) “In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”

If we can figure out how to live in this intimate way, despite persecution, we will naturally share our lives with others. We will not be afraid to tell what God has done for us.

Hebrews 10:35-36, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”

Hearing the Holy Spirit really is key when studying the Bible. When you have a relationship with the Holy Spirit you will read the Word differently. He will begin to show you the Father. Things will shift when you see reading the Word of God as part of your relationship with Him. You will learn to love your time in the Word instead of seeing it as something you must do to be a good Christian. You will begin to hunger for more revelation from God.

John 14:26 (MSG), “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you.”

It is time to get real with God. Newsflash! He already knows you aren’t perfect, and He loves you anyway. He wants to be close to you. But you can’t have intimacy with someone you don’t know.

Hosea 10:12 (KJV), “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

Don’t read the Bible like it is any other book. This book will change your life. Do not let reading the Bible become something you need to check off. Take your time. If you just take one chapter and read it over and over that is the meditation that will produce change. Let it get deep into your heart. Joshua 1:8 in the King James Version says, “…meditate therein day and night…” If you need to use a reading plan to keep you on track then do it. But to achieve what God intends, this cannot be about accomplishing a reading goal – if it is you will lose the most valuable part – relationship. This is God’s Word to you! If you do it as a work of the flesh you will be anemic and wonder why things aren’t working.

Joshua 1:8-9 (MSG) “Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.”

Intimacy produces the fruit. There is no fruit without intimacy. It is the fruit that attracts. Reading the Bible is considered one of the Spiritual Disciplines. So how do you keep life and freshness in disciplines? The discipline part is just what gets you through the door. On the other side of the door is a relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with your Father. It is something that we must learn to value. Doing what is right over and over will train your flesh – but the fruit that reading the Bible produces is spiritual. It produces growth. It produces a deeper, intimate relationship with God. The Word becomes alive to you. Meditating the Word will help you overcome the things that are keeping you in bondage and lead you into a freedom with God that you have never experienced. It is totally worth it!

Zephaniah 2:3 (AMPC), “Seek the Lord [inquire for Him, inquire of Him, and require Him as the foremost necessity of your life], all you humble of the land who have acted in compliance with His revealed will and have kept His commandments; seek righteousness, seek humility [inquire for them, require them as vital].

It takes a certain amount of humility to seek God. We must remember that even if we have been serving God for several years and have heard many sermons on various topics it does not mean we know it all. In James 4:6 it says, “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” We need grace! No one that I know wants to be resisted by God. That does not end well! If we truly love God then we should have a reverence for His Word.

1 Corinthians 8:3 (AMPC), “But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].”

A pastor in Fort Worth, J.C. Thompson, used to say that God is more real to me than my right hand. That will become our reality when we are in intimate fellowship with Him. But, until we learn to make the Word of God our daily pursuit, we will never know that level of friendship with God. It’s time to get in the Word!
Posted in

No Comments