I believe that life is a journey of relationship. In fact, it is impossible for us to begin life outside of connection. Relationship with others is at the core of our experience as human beings. My own life is a journey of deepening relationships with God and people.
My life is a journey of deepening relationships with God and people. In fact, I think of it as more like a dance than anything else because rhythm is a vital part of the overall process. Let me explain what I mean. Rhythm sets the tone for both the dance and our relationships. This rhythm can be influenced by external factors, including the people with whom we are in connection; or it can be established from within and the way we determine to live our life.
When we commit to develop and deepen our relationships, there are two seemingly opposing ways to proceed. The first is to acknowledge points of similarity, and the other is to look at how we are different and unique.
I have journeyed with God for more than forty years. I grew up in the Anglican Church and then experienced the Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal expressions of Christianity. During my time in these churches and communities, I tended to look for the points of similarity. Phrases such as, “We are all one in Christ”, and the monologue format of many Christian events has led much of Christendom to seek points of similarity, mistaking them for unity.
The desire of many communities to fulfil the plans and purposes of God has led them to do the purposes of God as opposed to being their unique and best selves in Christ. It is true that an efficient way to accomplish necessary tasks is to find and encourage points of similarity; however, similarity should not be confused for real unity. True unity in God comes when we can acknowledge and embrace the diversity of personality and ways of being in Christ. Doingthe work of God then becomes an expression of our being in Him. It is born out of the overflow of unity, and in that place, our doing commands the blessing!
Psalm 133:1–3 (NASB)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.
It is interesting to note that the author talks about unity in the context of dwelling. Dwelling refers to living with one another and being in unity – abiding together rather than accomplishing. Relationship is at the core. Our doing needs to be rooted and grounded in relationship and in being our unique selves.
Psalm 139: 13–14 (NASB)
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
In my role as a strategic business consultant, I help people identify and understand their personality. When we are able to appreciate our uniqueness and determine both the strengths and challenges of our particular personality, including the effect it has on the way that we perceive and relate to the world around us, we are empowered.
I don’t believe it’s possible to experience the breadth and depth of relationship with God in the absence of an appreciation of our unique personalities. Personality has an enormous bearing on the way we develop relationships with God and others.
We all need a way of journeying towards deeper revelation and relationships. Conversation, in all its forms, is a crucial component of deepening relationships. For those of us used to a monologue style of Christianity, we need to develop new forms of dialogue in our relationship with God so that communication becomes a genuinely two-way exchange.
We each need to take responsibility for working out what type of relationship we want to have with God and how we go about deepening it. One of my favourite Scriptures says, “work out your salvation”, a clear encouragement to take responsibility.
Philippians 2:12–13 (NASB)
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
My prayer is you will know yourself better, discover new facets to your relationship with God and others and enjoy dancing your way through life!
Adapted from Andee Sellman’s book “Reflections on the Fruit of the Spirit”. You can purchase any of the titles from the Land of Seven Rivers Foundational Series in either e-book or paperback format by following the link https://www.landofsevenrivers.org/store.html
Andee Sellman is the founder of Land Of Seven Rivers.
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