This past week I had the privilege of listening to one of my co-workers share about what he was learning in his relationship with God. It is this conversation that has sparked some thoughts in my that I wanted to record not only for myself, but also for any of you who may be looking for a fresh perspective in your faith journey at the moment.
What if I said to you that the most important thing God desires from us as His creation is simply to be with Him. What would you say in return? Think about this for a moment. God's primary concern for you & I is whether or not we are with Him; whether or not we have a relationship with Him. God's primary concern is not about us being good enough, or holy, or doing all the right things, or saying all the right words or personifying all the right characteristics...it's simply about being with Him. Let me unpack what I mean a little bit. My wife Bonny is my best friend. It is important to both of us that we are with each other. As a family we try to do as much as we can collaboratively. Working in the field of ministry (at a church) lends itself to some interesting routines, guidelines and patterns for a family's life. There are times when I am unable to be with my family (physically present) as I would like...and it's during these moments and experiences that our relationships take a hit. Most often this is when silly arguments and miscommunication occur, and it is a direct result of not being with each other. When you are with someone, you begin to understand how he or she thinks, reacts and loves; not to mention what his or her needs are and how you fit into the matrix of his or her identity formation process. But even during these moments of time where frustration occurs, it is more important that I am with my wife and with my family than not.
Imagine this scenario for one moment. I've had a rough day at work, said some things I'm not proud of and perhaps done some things that I'm ashamed of as well. Instead of coming home to my family I simply write them a note letting them know that I need to get right first before I come home. What sort of message do you think I'm communicating to Bonny and my two children? I'm basically saying that I'm not good enough for them in my current state, so I must punish them and myself by removing myself from the relationship for a period of time. Sounds nuts right?
What if I told you this is often our approach in our relationship with God? I'm serious, think about it. We often think we need to get to a certain spiritual level or certain place in life before we are worthy to stand in the presence of God and enjoy a relationship with Him. But may I remind you and myself that God's primary desire is to BE WITH US!! The name Emmanuel means God with us...one of the many names given to describe who Jesus is. Jesus, fully God and fully human, came to earth to BE WITH US so that we might BE WITH HIM. I encourage you to unpack this theme in your own personal study time. You will see the Bible littered with this theme over and over again...like a potpourri of life throughout the entire story of God. In all that God is doing, His primary desire remains to be with us. Isn't that amazing?
Right here, right now, I hope some scales are falling away from our eyes and some clarity about who God is, is beginning to take shape. God wants to be with us...no matter where we are, where we were or where we will be. His primary desire remains to be with us!! If we continue to function under the "we're not good enough" mantra, we will be stuck in a self-loathing cycle that has no end, because we will never be good enough to gain God's grace on our own. Jesus came to earth so He could be with us, and so we could be with God. On the cross He uttered these most famous words, "It is finished." In that moment, the "I"m not good enough" worldview lost its' power. We are the only ones that can choose to continue to be a slave to its' untruth. God wants to be with us...are we with Him?
How can we navigate through the uncertainty of conflict in relationships? Where do we start?
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