A Faith Forged in Relationship

Waiting for the Word, Flickr
Waiting for the Word, Flickr

God’s way is the best way—do you believe that? I am certain that his commands to humans are grounded in a consuming love for them. What he orders us to do, whether spoken in the written Word or in the quiet of our hearts, is purposed for our benefit and joy, never burdensome or appeasing his need. God has no needs; instead, he only seeks to give us his best.

The scope of God’s directives transcends mere rule; they reveal him (Ps. 19:7-9). They explain so much about his intent toward us, which is only good and loving. Here is where some will quickly add, “Yep. This is not a religion, but a relationship”—and I’ll only partly agree, because Christianity is religion…is a religion, but one emphasized in relationship. The two are conterminous, for the one leads to the other.

Setting Our Spiritual Priorities

Relationship is the goal, however, life-changing, radical relationship. It has always been the basis of Judeo-Christian faith. God doesn’t ask us to trust him blindly. In Scripture and in our lives, he has always revealed himself…revealed his character and made sure that we never have to trust in One we don’t know or understand.

Wholesome, dynamic relationship is the clue we gather from the succinct reference to Enoch in Hebrews 11:5, relationship so wonderful that God whisked Enoch out of this life into another—and then come these words: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

In my post entitled “Getting Faith Right”, I write about this passage and myself: “I knew God was there, but I didn’t understand that before all the great possibilities of his power and my obedience was our relationship and that it is the touchstone to everything.”

When our relationship with God is strong, we’ll have no problems with his commands. And we can be used powerfully like Philip, Ananias, and others who were simply told “Go!”; and despite being given no further instructions, their confidence rested not in results or their own well-being, but rather in their Commander.

It All Points to Him

God tells us to do nothing without orienting it to himself, his character and purpose. He never just says “Believe”; instead, he says, “Believe me.” He doesn’t say “Love,” but “Love me.”

Don’t believe the many slogans—“Love is all that matters” and “Just believe”, or at least judge them by the scriptures. Jesus exemplifies a life with every sensibility aligned with his Father and his purpose. No love exists in a vacuum without the potential for abuse; there is no worth in a faith in ourselves.

Furthermore, ours is a caring Father peering into our faces giving his instructions, which is especially important when the orders appear dreadful or are tough to our will.

God is all. He guarantees what is done for him and achieved by his strength. And if we do all for his glory, we’ll accomplish his will and discover incredible joy doing so.

Read more: The Goal of Religious Practice