Saturday, August 1, 2015

Connections (Revisit)

apologySometimes, it's a graphic instead of a picture that triggers a thought.  I found that one on one of the social networking sites, shared it on another, but I don’t recall who originally posted it.  I include it here because it indirectly points toward our concept for the day.  Pastor Tom Schaller (my pastor) shared a two part message, one Sunday, about Jonathan and David.  When the morning service was over, the one word that summed up my own thoughts was “relationship”.

The evening service was the second part of the topic.  And Pastor Brian Lange’s introduction was very much along the lines of my thinking.  He mentioned Genesis 2:18, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  Think about that.  God didn’t really have to make Eve a woman, where the original language kind of indicates that Adam’s reaction was, “She’s hot!”  God didn’t need to make procreation such a pleasure.  He could have made another male and some other form of procreation.  Because the inclusion of others was to add relationships and that those relationships enhance our relationship with God.  And that’s where our graphic quote comes in.

Matthew 22:39 says, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  Most of the time, most of us think pretty highly of ourselves.  That verse tells us to keep everyone else in that same level of esteem.  Pastor Brian’s introduction spoke a lot about connections.  He referred to God as the “Super Connector”.  What that means, in the context of this verse, is that we need to see and treat everyone from God’s perspective.  Which, if it’s done Scripturally, clobbers things like racial and gender based prejudices.  Along with a whole bunch of others.  And it eliminates any excuse we have to beat ourselves up.  Which we still seem to be very good at.

I often think that our inability to fully see ourselves as God sees us is the reason He included Romans 12:10.  It tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”.  Even if we don’t think highly of ourselves, think that way about others.  The usual result of that kind of treatment is usually, as the kids say, “right back attcha”.  The edification becomes a two way street.  Taking us to a point where we only need Matthew 22:39.  Besides growing in earthly relationships, that brings us closer to being fully connected with the “Super Connector”.  Because we grow in thinking with His thoughts, our attitudes are closer to His attitudes.

If we’re not as quick as we think we ought to be in transitioning from Romans 12:10 to Matthew 22:39, we can’t beat ourselves up about it.  Each of us is different and heals or grows at a different rate.  As long as we continue in the path God has for us, the complete relationship cycle will happen.  Our relationship with ourselves will grow, our relationship with God will grow, our relationship with each other will grow, and our relationship with God will grow even more.  We need to value all our relationships more than our ego.

The basis of our relationship with God is not what we do, but in what He did for us.  However, our experience of that, right now, is controlled by how we think and act.  So here are some steps to enhance that experience:
  1. Connect with God. – Get in the Word, pray, hang around people that will keep our conversations Godly.
  2. Connect with ourselves. – Love ourselves as God loves us.  See ourselves as God sees us.
  3. Connect with others. – God said we ought not to be alone.  We have opportunities to show God to others and they have opportunities to do the same in our direction.  Sometimes, God will even choose to use unbelievers to do that.
The way those three steps are intermingled is as unique as each person, but they all need to be there.  And we all need each other.

How do your three steps intermingle, today?

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