We will never walk alone. Having God standing with us and His design for us to be in relationship with Him and others brings stability, strength, support and success in our lives. Not only will we experience these things but we will be God’s conduits through which others will experience the same.
We are made for relationships. The Godhead, with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit displays community and strongly knit relationships, so when man was created in the image of God, we were created with a built-in need to be relational beings (Gen 1:26). In creation, God said that what He created is good, the creation of man was very good but there was one place where He said that “…it was not good for man to be alone" (Gen 2:18). Here, the highlight is not on Adam’s experience of loneliness but it reveals his nature as a relational being that will be made complete with a companion. God created Adam to be in relationship with Him as well as Eve, but relationships were broken because of sin (Gen 3). Jesus redeemed us to be restored in our relationship with God and to belong to a community where we value, love and serve one another. Rom 12:4-5 is a clear picture of this relational community. To be a member of a local body means each member belongs to each other.
With society evolving, stresses and pressures increase. We have gradually become accustomed to living and breathing at times in socially isolated environments with little time for family, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, fears and anxieties. We lack time to form relational engagement with one another within the body of Christ. What are some of the reasons for isolation or detached living by members of the church body? Our past experience of hurt, rejection and disappointment with people, especially those who are close to us or who are in authority when it goes unresolved, becomes walls that will hinder healthy and joyful relational engagements. The way we assess our own sense of significance and our perceptions of how others view us also affects our relationships.
Technology, as valuable as it is, often seems to conspire against strong, intimate family and community relationships. Cell phones, e-mails, iPads and other electronic gadgets often get in the way of face-to-face interactions with real life people. Many of these gadgets, as useful as they are, are often used as gadgets for escapism and provision of temporary relief from problems and challenges in our lives. We must beware of not becoming digital zombies - hooked, hacked and hijacked.
The world promotes a consumeristic relationship, where relationships are seen as mere commodities; use while it is useful and beneficial and discard it when there is no use for it. Such a relationship is usually non-committal and focussed on self-gain. The way Laban related with and treated Jacob is a clear example of such a relationship (Gen 29-31). In covenantal relationship prescribed by God and clearly demonstrated by Jonathan and David’s relationship ( 1 Sam 18:3), we see there is total commitment, authenticity and no effort is spared to protect this relationship. They are looking out for each other and desiring the wellbeing and success of each other.
We all tend to long for authentic relationships. We want it. We need it. Yet, a culture of authentic community and relationships in the church doesn’t automatically happen. Let us work towards developing this culture here at CPBC by being:
- Invitational –welcoming, friendly, invite to cell or social gatherings
- Interested – listening, non-judgemental, unhurried listener, genuine concern
- Involved – make space in your life to care and serve others
- Inspirational - authenticity & vulnerability, role model, faith in God & His word. Lead others to seek after and trust God.