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God Is All About Relationship! Are We?
We plan our lives, businesses, projects and family affairs, but too often we take the relationships that weave through these things for granted. Healthy relationships are essential.

Life with family and others this is one of my favorite conversation topics, and not because I’m an extrovert and love connecting with people. It's because so often we take our relationships for granted.

Healthy relationships build healthy marriages, which build healthy families.

We don’t set aside enough margin in our lives to nurture the ones we have, or effectively develop the ones we need to.

In order for us to improve in this area, let’s consider what priority relational development plays in our lives.

We strategically plan our lives, businesses, projects, family and a whole host of other things, but rarely do we build into, or leverage the one thing that weaves through all these things — and that is relationships. Healthy relationships build healthy marriages, which build healthy families. Healthy relationships are essential in building a business or completing projects, objectives or ‘to do’ lists. Relationships are the one thing God provided that impacts everyone with the same velocity and potential. Some just leverage that gift more than others.

The meta-relationship

As we look at the meta-narrative of the Bible, the one common thread is God’s relationship and commitment to His people.

We are constantly reminded of that agape love that keeps on giving, no matter how hard God’s people try to screw it up. How many of us have read these stories and say things like, “How come they just don’t get it?” Then we reflect on our own lives and realize how short we fall. We’re really in a category all to ourselves because we keep repeating the same patterns, while expecting different results. Didn’t someone really smart — like Einstein — say that was how they defined foolishness, or insanity?

As we reflect on our lives and face the reality of our relational frailty, we can rest in the knowledge that God even took care of that by sending His son to live among us, and reveal to us what living in true relationship really means. Jesus went so far as to say that the one thing we needed to do was to have an increasing love for God, and others. If that is the one thing we are commanded to do, and all other things flow out of this one thing, how are we doing in developing that one thing? Is this one thing worth carving out a 20 minute time slot in our day? Is it worth teaching, coaching or reciprocating to others? I would challenge each of us to not rest lightly on these questions.

Take some time to personally reflect and evaluate yourself on how well you are doing, and create a strategy on improving this one area of your life.

Missional. relational. incarnational

There is a conversation that is moving through many of our churches in Canada. It probably isn’t new to our ideology or theology but maybe one that shifts our thinking where our habits and practices as Christ followers are concerned. This conversation is one that revolves around what it means to be “relational” in nature, or living lives that are “missionally and incarnationally” centric.

The basics of this conversation are how we can learn from the lives of those people that were part of the early Church. That movement grew on the basis of being in co-mission with Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, while living incarnationally (Christ in us) in relationship with those around us.

This didn’t happen primarily within the four walls of what we now call “church,” but focused more on being the Church (see Acts 2) in areas of our lives where God already has us, like work, play, friends and family.

The Creator is all about relationships

Genesis 1:26 makes reference to one of the earliest relationships — “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over …” The “us” and “our” references the triune relationship, and the “them” refers to God’s plan to have mankind be more than one person; weaving relationship into the very fabric of humanity.

Relationships are so central to God. His desire to be in relationship with us, His people is central. As we begin to lay down our personal ambitions and agendas, more margin will be freed up for us to align with and entrust ourselves to God, thereby making room for the fulfillment of His plan. It is a plan that envisions the restoration of the world, birthed with a promise, fulfilled in His Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and lived out through His Church, the body of believers.

Join me in reinvesting a portion of our lives into something that is innate in each of us. Join me in allowing relationships, as dynamic as they are — flowing from love and joy, to angst, anger and conflict, all the way to restoration and peace — to shape us, mold us and make us better today than we were yesterday.

Brian Bylsma is vice president of The Leadership Centre, Willow Creek Canada. www.growingleadership.com.

Originally published in Business.Life Magazine, Summer 2009.

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