It's All Relational
I recently experienced a very deep disappointment. I had faith that I would be successful at something, and I wasn’t. It hurt. My pride was not as harmed as my faith. I knew that this was not an issue about whether I “won first place in the race,” as much as it was about how much I trusted God. I had a broken heart, but what concerned me the most was that my faith took a beating. For 3 days I cried. I cried out to God too. I was upset that He had not “helped me win this race.” More so, I was upset with Him and I needed Him all the more.
I’m just being honest here. It’s kind of like how our kids must feel with us. They want to be so mad at us because we don’t let them have their way, but they also know that we are the ones driving them to school the next morning and buying their next pair of tennis shoes. They can’t stay mad at us forever. Well, they can, but it ends up harming them more than being mad helps them – so, eventually, they soften towards us again.
I felt this way about my relationship with God the other week. After 3 days, and after I came back to my spiritual senses, I was talking with God (not really expecting Him to answer. After all, I had been rather rude the last few days). But God is such a loving Father, and He is so forgiving. He spoke, and what He said to me really made me think. I’ve been thinking about it for a week now, and I keep gaining more insight in regard to what He said…
He said, “It’s all relational.”
I said, “How can that be? I don’t even HAVE a relationship with this person” (I was referring a person involved in me “not winning the recent race).God didn’t need to speak again because as soon as I spoke, I understood what He meant.
God impressed upon me that even when we don’t think we have a relationship with someone, we do. The difference is found in the “depth” of the relationship. I thought of people I know, but don’t know very well, and I realized that I do have a relationship with them; it’s just not a deep one. I thought of mean people I don’t particularly like, and I realized that I do have a relationship with them; it’s just not a “friendship” type of relationship…. I thought of people who have persecuted me, and I realized that I had a relationship with them too…. Interesting, I thought, “I guess it truly is all relational and it all boils down to the “depth of the relationship.”
God had more to teach me, however, and a few days later He said, “All of your relationships exist or flourish based on your relationship with Me.” Wow! Now I was really excited because I thought of a recent year-long battle I had with someone who persecuted me, and God impressed upon me to love them and serve them and pray for them, despite their actions of persecution towards me. I did as He directed me. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Now, a year later, I have a deep friendship with the person who persecuted me. I now see that my relationship with them started out as them being the bully and me being the victim (and wanting to take revenge). It was a relationship. It just wasn’t a healthy one – or a deep genuine one. Now, the relationship has flourished into a friendship, but only because of the relationship that I have with Christ. You see, me and myself - we aren’t capable of loving mean people. Me, myself and I just want to run very far from mean people, but God has a different agenda, and it is by His strength and His grace that I am saved, and it is by His grace and His strength that any relationship exists.
God is such a beautiful teacher! I see now that It is all relational, rooted in Christ.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
These are the shadow of the things that were to come; the reality; however is found in Christ.
After reading this devotional, I challenge you to read the entire 2nd chapter of Colossians, and while you do, consider this lesson: each relationship that you have exists, and/or flourishes based upon the depth of your relationship in Christ. When He is the centerpiece on the table of our life, we are able to serve others – not of our own strength, but through His love, His grace, and His strength. Then, each person that we touch, serve, and come in contact with is impacted – not based on our self, but based upon Christ as our centerpiece. He is the vine, we are the branches, apart from Him – we are nothing.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Regardless of the person(s) with whom we come in contact or circumstances we face, it is our relationship with Christ that is exposed. We often lose focus and think that the battle is with the person before us. The authenticity of my faith in any situation or outcome is a reflection of my relationship with Christ. Now, I see why I was struggling so much last week. I was upset about the state of my faith because I knew (though subconsciously at the time) that the condition in which I found myself was a direct reflection of the depth (or lack thereof) of my relationship with Christ. As a result, I asked God to help me wrestle down a new essence of my faith. I believe He has.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.