God created man as relational being. This is evident from when He created Adam as we read in Genesis 1:26-27, which reads "Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them".
Relationship is defined as a connection, association, or involvement.
Adam's first relationship was with God. He had a connection, an association and an involvement with God. However, I God wanted to increase the relational experience of man, so he created Eve. This we read in Genesis 2:18, which reads "Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
God does want us to have relationships; but the right ones and manage them adequately.
The pattern of forming or creating and managing relationships can be likened to that of the harvest, and the steps are: Conditioning the soil, sowing the seed, watering the seed, and then reaping a harvest.
For relationships, we can write the pattern as including: Introduction, Acquaintance, Friendship and Intimacy.
In relationships, at the beginning we condition our hearts (soil) through introduction to an individual, then we get acquainted (sowing he seed) by getting to know them. When we like what we see and perceive, we then move further to work on the friendship (watering the seed) through spending time with the individual. When we are sure and affirmed and confident of the individual in areas such as their believes and maturity, we finally we move into intimacy(reaping a harvest), and this could mean marriage, or having the individual as a close friend.
In today's society, most are used to having everything in an instant. Fast cars, fast meals, fast life... and therefore fast relationships. With all this 'fastness' the relational management of most has become faulty, or none existent.
Most people seem to go from introduction to intimacy in a very short period of time, showing that they want the benefit of commitment without actually being committed to the relationship. For example, two people living together, is called involvement. However, two people married and living together, is called commitment.
Not all relationships in our lives should move on to the next level. some are meant to stay at Introduction, or Acquaintance level (pointing finger to self at this point!). It is the fact of life that there will be some people, who will be closer to us than others.
We can learn more about relational management from the life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus had a special relationship with twelve men, His disciples, as we read in Matthew 10:2-4. However, amongst those twelve men, Jesus had a special relationship with three of them - Peter, James and John. This we are affirmed when he took them up a mountain to be alone. This we read in Mathew 17:1, which reads "Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone". Within those three men, Jesus had an even closer relationship with one of them, John.
Jesus also had relationship with other people that He managed. He had relationships with the Pharisees, He even had dinner with them. He also had relationships with His family and the people He ministered to along His way. It seemed that throughout His life, Jesus managed the people around Him, relationally, seamlessly.
To us all, the question is "How are we doing with the relationships in our lives?"
What if I have someone occupying the wrong space, relationship wise, in my life, what do I do? I hear you ask. Well we could do the following:
- Retrain: This means to review, re-asses and re-instate the nature form and shape of the relationship. It means that we could try to re-invest into the individual by putting more effort into the relationship to build it, for example spending more time with them or getting involved more in their life, and them ours, in the hope of experiencing growth.
- Reposition: This means that we reposition the space the this person takes in our lives. For example, if we have someone at the intimacy level, and we know they are not meant to be there, we must re-asses the relationship and move them to the right level within our lives, or if need be retire the relationship completely. This however, is not an easy thing to do because with relationships comes expectations. When expectations are not met, problems will most definitely ensue, but we must manage them all the same.
- Retire: if the two above does not work, then it might be safe to part ways, amicably.
What is the nature, shape and form of the relationships in your life? Do you need to retrain, move or retire a few of them?
For relationships to work, they must occupy the right space, and managed so that the right investment (time and resource) is spent on them, therefore providing and yielding the right reward (harvest) to both parties, all for God's glory.
Have a great time being the all relational being that God created you to be, making Him famous along your way.
***Picture by glimbo.com***