Thursday, August 16, 2007

Living Relationally

A paradox for a motto was seen on the billboard of a church.

Victory Centre
"A Relational Church"

It seems that in modern times that a church that is emphasizing relationships can actually use that idea as a selling point for new attendees. (What's going on in all the other churches? Aren't they supposed to be about friendships as well?)

I guess it isn't that surprising since religion tends to focus on four things that completely destroy any chance of growing in a loving relationship: control, obligation, fear, failure. COFF

So what does it mean to live relationally with God's love as the foundation? Here is a simple story that I heard from Wayne Jacobson about something he experienced in a small group in Australia that is learning to live relationally.

On a Friday evening, a gathering of fellow pilgrims took place. As in many times of gathering together, a time of prayer was entered into, when a young man (Bill) made known a specific prayer request. This group was different than other groups Wayne had experienced in that they didn’t feel obligated to have to pray for the requested need. Instead each one paused to see if they felt a witness inside them to agree with the young man in prayer. None felt such a witness and therefore didn’t enter into a prayer of agreement with Bill. The focus of the group moved on from the request making Wayne feel a little uncomfortable for Bill fearing that he might feel rejected or having failed at making a proper prayer request.

The next morning the group once again gathered to hear from Father. Bill blurted out something which he felt was of prophetic importance to the group. Again no one in the group was able to bear witness in agreement and moved on to something else.

Wayne was more than a little uncomfortable with the group’s failure to walk in obligation to Bill’s expressions of faith. At lunch time Wayne had a chance to speak with him privately in order to find out if he felt offended or rejected by the group.

Bill was quite surprised by Wayne’s concern. His answer regarding the two small incidents was more than a little insightful. In fact, it revealed a maturity that is well beyond many long time Christians. Bill said that he had been a Christian for only six months and was looking for help from the body to understand the subtle voice of the Spirit of God. He said that if they simply mollified him with pleasantries because of obligation or fear that he might feel failure or rejection, then he would never be able to grow in his love affair with Father.

He knew they were not judging him but they were carefully weighing within themselves what they felt they were hearing from the Spirit. It wasn’t about who was right or wrong but responding in a truthful way of what they were sensing.

There was no desire to control or be controlled, no fear of failure and no performance for the sake of obligation to be given. As each member of the body took responsibility for what they were sensing at any one moment, mistakes could be made without judgment and when things were done it was because they really wanted to do them.

It was almost like they understood what it means to let your YES be YES and your NO be NO. REAL honesty is at the foundation for living relationally.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

No comments: