Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Identity: Relationship


It is what everybody on this planet wants. To know who they are, what they are and what they are meant for. Some have figured it out, but most of us will spend our whole lives looking for it. This is a place where I think church drops the ball. Anyone and everyone who has stepped into a church for any amount of time has heard 'You are a child of God' or 'You are heirs in Christ'. Which don't get me wrong, sounds awesome but what exactly does that mean? There are waves rippling through the church where people are turning away from 'religion' and moving towards 'spirituality' and 'relationship'. People are getting dropped in the big cracks that are being created by separation of these words. You can have all of these and be one of those people who have figured it out, or you could have parts of one or all and be a robot that goes in and out of church building doors. Let's look at what relationship is and why it is the most necessary part of Christianity.

When looking at when the church began, it is actually easy to see where things get bungled up. But let's go even further back than that. Let's talk Creation. Christians believe that God created the universe. They don't go into specifics on how he did it because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter but discovering how is cool. They believe in a Triune God, meaning three in one. Three separate beings forming one being. This would be the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Don't get so hung up on trying to figure it out, that isn't what is important. This is: the Father thought of the universe, the Son (or the Word) spoke it into existence.

So here's the deal. You are here because God had this awesome idea (that would be you) and the Son (the Word, who is now Jesus) spoke you into existence. Mind-blowing, huh? 'Um no,' you say, 'see my mom and dad got freaky and nine months later there I was'. To this I could go into how getting pregnant isn't as easy as people would like to believe but it would take ages, kind of like explaining just how complex our world is and how it takes something more than coincidence to have all the parts working together in harmony. Another time, another place, maybe.

So the Son came down from outside of time and space to be in our crowded little world, filled with crowded little small-minded people so that the separation that occurred in the Garden could be fixed. And while he was here he felt what all little people feel. Love, anger, laughter, sadness. What, did you think those were just coincidences too? When he sacrificed himself on the cross, he laid the groundwork for us to become like him. Now, go read a couple of paragraphs up and remember just who and what he is. Now wrap your mind around this. When you ask for Jesus to come into your life and have a relationship with him, you get to be a part of all of that. When Jesus rose from the grave, it was like graduation day when your Daddy hands you the keys to your dream car, buys you your dream house, you marry your dream guy...... you get the idea, I hope. This is what you get when you have a relationship with Jesus. What He is, you become. And this is where the separation between 'religion' and relationship comes into play.

See, religion is a set of practices you DO in order to gain favor or acceptance. In a relationship with Jesus, you don't have to do ANYTHING. You are and always will be accepted and have favor. Even when you mess up. And you will mess up because, alas, you are only human. Like the rest of us.

'But what about the Ten Commandments and all the other do's and don'ts in the Bible' you point out. Most of them don't apply anymore. 'How can that be?' you say. Because it is a relationship, not a job. I do not cheat on my husband. I don't do this because it says not to, I do it because I love him and know that if I did that it would hurt him deeply. And that in turn would hurt me because I love him greatly. One flows into the other. Same goes with Jesus. If you truly love him then your actions will reflect that. You will do things to please him, not because you have to but because you want to, because it makes you happy when he is happy. And when you mess up you will feel bad and want to hide but He wants you to come to him so he can heal the hurt and get you going again. I don't know about you but that beats a thousand hail Mary’s and any other hokie pokie religious work stuff any day. I'm just saying.

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