Although I spoke of different kinds of relationships in Relation Ships, my last post, we are specifically looking here at the relation Ship that God has created for His people. Years ago the concept of a ship was relevant to my seeing what happens in relationships; in such “ships” as fellowships, memberships, partnerships, etc.
A relationship then is pictured as a vehicle or means of housing and carrying two or more people, those with the same interests, the same purpose, the same mind, heart, and goal. We enter in relationships with one or more who are going in the same direction with the same destination and the same plans that will get us there.
This idea is especially true in our relationship with God. Before we begin to look at the context of this relationship we first need to understand who built this ship, the One who planned the voyage. We need to understand clearly who owns, commands and navigates this ship in which we are passengers. We can claim no rights to the berth within the small room that we are given. We may say that we have a relationship with God, but only as we humbly agree that it is by His initiation, His calling, His bringing us aboard this ship with Him and others that He has invited.
It is this invitation with which the context begins. We often receive calls from solicitors promising us a free cruise. Knowing that this is only a means of selling something else we say “No, thank you.” There are those who hear about God’s invitation to this voyage, who say I don’t believe it, and so, never experience this relationship. Then, there are those who have read about it and heard about it and want to enter this relationship with God, but soon realize it is not what they thought it would be. These do not understand, or agree with the full context of the relationship that God has offered. They hear the invitation and read their own ideas into what it means, and so miss the whole context and the relationship.
The invitation is included in the manual that is furnished for the voyage. The manual, God’s Word, the Holy Bible, reveals the context of God’s relationship with His people. Because we cannot read the whole manual before entering the “ship” (it is meant to instruct us as we journey together) we must enter by faith, accepting the whole context even though we do not understand all of it. Because this is God’s relationship, and a covenant He has initiated with us we cannot “jump ship.” Nor can we at anytime throw overboard any pages of the manual. We may as well throw ourselves overboard. Taking anything out of context to suit our own purposes excludes the whole matter of God’s plans and purposes of the relationship.
The Purpose of the Relationship
Why the ship? What relation does God have with us? What is His purpose? We were created in His image for Him to share Himself, and His kingdom. He, in the riches of His glory, intended to bring this to pass by His own means and timing.
Knowing that the first relationship with Adam would be sabotaged He and His Son, Jesus Christ, planned a better and greater “ship” for those who would believe His Word. By His own power, the power of His Spirit, Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of His people. He died and rose victoriously for those who would be brought into this relationship.
Jesus is the captain of this “ship” and the King of heaven, the destination to which this relationship will bring us. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that He convicts us that we are like Adam, with his nature and disobedience to God. He opens our eyes to see our need; to see where we are in a world that does not believe in God, and convinces us that the whole context of His Word is true. With this quickening we see what He has promised as He leads us to and in this relationship with Him.
With Jesus as Captain, and the Holy Spirit revealing the truths of God’s Word we continue in this relationship until He brings us safely home with Him. The whole context of the relationship is applied to whatever storms or temptations we encounter. Rather than taking anything out of context we read and study and experience the whole of God’s relationship with us. Dear Father, we need your Spirit today to keep us in context with all that you have planned for us. Let Christ dwell in our hearts richly, keeping us on course for our destination. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.