The Doing of Relationships

Ask any kid who has been to Sunday School, or youth programs, or even just church, what the point of Christianity is and they’ll no doubt say, “We’re supposed to be good.”

I’ve heard kids say this many times. Right after they say this, adults begin to correct them. “No Johnny, it’s not about being good, it’s about a relationship with Jesus.” Then we launch into a dissertation about “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship.”

Of course, Johnny has no idea what you’re talking about. Examine every relationship Johnny has with anyone as a kid:

–Johnny’s relationship with parents: Johnny is to obey his mother and father
–Johnny’s relationship with his siblings: Johnny is to be nice to his brother and sister.
–Johnny’s relationship with his teachers: Johnny is to sit quiet, listen, and do what the teacher says.
–Johnny’s relationship with his coach: Johnny is supposed to listen to his coach and do what he says or else his team will lose.

The essence of relationship is doing something for another person. If you don’t think so, you’re probably a very lonely person.

Examine the relationships that God uses to describe our relationship to Him:

children to a Father
slaves to a Master
citizens to a King
wife to a Husband

In each relationship that God uses metaphorically to explain our relation to Him, we are the subservient one. We are the ones who obey Him.

Granted, no one wants to hear this. Not many wives even want to hear “obey your husband.” We bristle at being called slaves. We rip on our government leaders all the time, so God being King has lost its luster too. Kids rarely obey their parents, nor do their parents make them obey.

All of this is falling apart in our world, so it only makes sense that the world’s influence has convinced Christians that obedience to God is also optional.

But it isn’t. Even if you believe obedience to God is optional, something nice to do but not required, that doesn’t mean it’s true!

The first step is to make sure there is a relationship there. You must be born again. You must be a resident of the King’s country. Married to a new Bridegroom. Child of a heavenly Father. Released from slavery to sin to be a slave to a new Master.

Second, you then begin to fulfill your role. Salvation comes before obedience. It has to. We’re saved by faith. Faith then lives by hearing God.

If your theology does not include obedience to God, your theology is wrong. If your theology only includes obedience and has no place for mercy, no place for explaining all who God is, then your theology is also wrong.

The Bible is a large book and contains a lot of information. He wrote it for a reason. He wants you to know and obey all that He said to you.

If you don’t like obeying Him, then you’re not related to Him.

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2 thoughts on “The Doing of Relationships”

  1. When I was younger (about 40 years ago) I attended a non-denominational Bible Camp in our area (it was a nice location in the woods, near a lake). Most of the kids were pretty corrupt, but there were some young adults from a Bible College that came out to inspire something better in us, which anyway, I was interested in.

    They did manage to affect me by their teaching and (sometimes emotional) recounting of their experiences. I suppose in some way, whether via the ten commandments, or the beatitudes, I was impressed that I was supposed to be a better person. The “law” was a “schoolmaster” to lead me to Christ. So I would go home inspired and determined to be the kind of obedient son I knew my parents should have, according to God’s standard.

    Unfortunately, I still did not understand clearly the new birth, so it ended up being a works program, which fizzled out in about a week or two. But I think the experience was still helpful.

    But that was back then, and in a country location. I have no idea what they do now, at Bible Camps.

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