Jonathan's Perspective  

Aug 14

'Connection'

People are relational creatures.  We were made to thrive in intimate, healthy relationships within families and communities.  In fact, we cannot live without connection.  Research has found that babies who do not receive enough personal physical connection wither emotionally and sometimes actually die.  We are relational in the core of our beings and need to properly nourish good relationships.

Our connectional need is to be in relationship with God.  Connecting with God gives us a fresh start through forgiveness and the Holy Spirit coming into our lives.  That intimate communion with God and growth through Scripture, prayer, and service creates a framework in which we can be our true selves.  Finding our true selves is not about defining myself by our limited experience, knowledge, and desires.  Our true selves come when we understand how God has made us and the particular gifts He has given us to advance into the Kingdom of God.  When we submit our will to God's will, we begin to live a life that is truly life.  Have you ever felt you were in a rut living a life that was not life at all?  The cure for that is to connect deeply with God who will show you the Way, teach you the Truth, and give you the only Life worth living.  As Heb. 12 says, Jesus is the author and perfecter of our lives.  We need to stay intimately connected with Jesus to have our lives directed and perfected.  I like the way Psalm 100 puts our relationship with God: "Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."  What a beautiful vision of our connection with God!

The second connection we need is Christian community.  Our salvation is tied up on one another and we need to stay connected with each other for several reasons.  First, we need the mutual encouragement that worship and small groups provide.  Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."  Second, we need people to help us when we are week.  When we face difficulties and question God's provision or faithfulness, we need others to faithfully intercede for us.  Finally, we need brothers and sisters who have the integrity to correct us.  There are times when my attitudes and behaviors are less than godly (I'm being easy on myself) and I need someone to grab me by the shoulders and shake me.  I don't need someone who will sympathize, but someone who will speak truth into my life to correct me.  Connection with fellow Christians is vital for us to grow deeper and deeper in love with Jesus as we live our lives for Him.

Thinking of our lives in terms of our relationships is helpful to assess our health.  As John Wesley would ask, 'Are you staying in love with God?'  My prayer is that we, together, will walk with Christ and experience the life that is truly life. 

Staying Connected,

Jonathan

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