Tag Archives: relationship

The Firstborn

The firstborn Son of God. Those words defy meaning. Full of mystery and wonder. Yet, the Father calls Jesus “the Firstborn.”

The rightful heir of all things. Begotten, not made. Of the same substance as the Father. One with the Father.

The highest in authority and honor. The one who called creation into being and sits in the judgment seat. All creation lies at His feet.

The majestic Conqueror who rides in victory over sin and death, the greatest enemies of the people of God.

The One who overcame death in His own strength, proving to all creation that He stands in the power and authority of Eternal God.

And our Brother, who loves us and gave Himself for us. The one who saw us in our need, separated from the Father who made us, and came to give us His own life.

Jesus, the Firstborn of the children of God—of whom I am a part. My God, my King, my Lord, my Brother, and my Friend.

That’s who Jesus is!

 

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6

… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, Revelation 1:5

2 Comments

Filed under Relationship, Theology and mystery

In His Presence

The most important revelation of our lives, the fact that makes the most serious change in us, is the understanding that other people are real.  This happens so early in our lives that we have long forgotten its impact, yet we continue to struggle with this knowledge throughout our days.  So important is this understanding that those who fail to grasp it are handicapped in their relationships and in their daily lives.

In many ways, our television and internet culture has made this even more difficult for us.  Our feelings—emotional connections—for people are manipulated and twisted by fictional stories designed to move us to empathize with people who are not real.  Then, when we see others, perhaps on the news, we feel something less than empathy.  Someone loses their home in a fire; someone’s child dies in a war; someone is hurt in an accident—and we say that’s too bad.  But we will never meet them, never be able to help them in a personal way, and never really care.  The news is just one more source of entertainment, albeit one that isn’t fiction (or so we are told).

I suspect this is part of the reason for the increase in reality shows.  We desire relationship and we want it to be real.  Fiction pulls at our hearts, but offers no connection that will reveal our identity.  I might care about Macbeth or Jean Valjean or Jack Bauer, but I learn nothing about myself in a fictional character.  Somehow the fact that the person in a reality show is a real person seems to promise more to me.  I believe that I might actually be able to connect with the person.  Sadly, the deception of the reality show is that there is little reality involved.

You see, I learn about myself through the eyes and thoughts of others.  In fiction or television I can see them, but they cannot see me.  I need them to see me.  They are the real mirrors in which I learn about myself.

Perhaps you can remember an experience where you suddenly realize that a person sees you, really sees you.  They might have a funny look about them.  They might be looking right into your eyes.  It isn’t a bad thing, but it can be unnerving.  Something has been revealed and you are moved to understand what it was.  And you learn.

And when you realize that a personal God really sees you, you as an individual, the doors to eternity open.  Suddenly your relationship with Him holds the promise of revealing the truth about you.

In response to the last post on identity, TacticianJenro asked how our relationship with Jesus can be personal.  If that is the relationship we are to have with Him, how does it happen?  This is the question that centers our faith and rocks our world.  This is the most important question of our lives.

The answer is intensely personal, yet as simple as the development of any relationship.  Let me risk a few basic suggestions.

  1. Believe that He is real.  Not just an idea, but a Person.
  2. Believe that He has an interest in you.  He sees you.  He knows when you lie down and when you get up, as David said.  He knows what you like and what you want and what you are afraid of and what you struggle against and what you worry about.  He knows more about you than you know about you.  And He loves you.
  3. Believe that He is with you.  He never leaves you.  He is always near.  These are things the Scriptures make very clear.

He is real.  He loves you.  He is with you.  This is not fiction or deception.  This is reality and it makes a difference.

Now, live as though you believe this.  Think about Him.  Talk with Him.  Ask Him things and expect answers.  Walk through life with Him.  That’s what the Christian life is all about.  Service, sacrifice, devotion—all the things of the Christian life that we were taught—all come out of this reality of His presence or they are just more fiction.

The relationship of a young man and a young woman is about being with each other.  They spend time together and learn.  In the process they each learn about the other, but they also learn about themselves.  The more time they spend together, the more they are able to give of themselves.  The more they give of themselves, the more they see and receive from the other.  This is how a relationship is supposed to work.

Our relationship with Jesus is nothing less than the most precious relationship in our lives, but it is just as simple as presence.  Learn to live in His presence.  Let that be your prayer.  The goal and the activity of the rest of your life.

And in the process, you will be becoming who you are.

1 Comment

Filed under Grace 101, Relationship, Theology and mystery

Identity in Relationship

Grace 101

 

Identity is formed in relationship.  If you were the only person you could experience, you would think that the whole world was about you.  As it is, it can be difficult to remember that others have valid lives and needs.  We see only through our own eyes, hear only through our own ears, and experience life only from our own perspective.  It can be challenging to stop and think of others.

I think this is why we are raised in families, so that we are forced to see others and to see ourselves through their eyes.  Each person adds a little more to the picture we learn of ourselves.  If things worked right, we would grow strong and healthy and happy as we see our place and role in the group around us.

But things are not working right, are they?  We live among sinners in a world filled with sin.  Everyone is afraid.  Everyone fights for a place of value and respect.  Instead of caring for and supporting others, we use each other to get what we want.  That’s what sin does.  This is especially true in times of trauma.  It is natural for us to withdraw into ourselves for our protection.  So, when we are afraid or stressed, we tend to think more about ourselves.  And, in the world of sin, trauma or potential trauma are always around us.

The Christian context reveals that there are two types of identity.  The most obvious is the one shared by all people: Who I am in relation to others.  I learn that I am good at certain things, that other things make me afraid, or that I desire to grow in certain areas.  These things distinguish me from others.  Some are athletic.  Some are cerebral.  Some are practical.  Some are social.  The combinations of these and other characteristics give definition to us.

Much of this is learned when we are very young.  When the family relationship is dysfunctional, identity within human relationship can seriously suffer.  If I fail to adequately learn who I am, or if I form a negative perspective of who I am, then my relationships throughout my life may suffer.  This is the experience of too many people.

But there is another level of identity.  After a time, most people begin to ask a deeper question.  Life is more than being able to do something.  I am more than my vocation and there is more to me than the fact that I like some things others do not.  Sometimes we go through life changes that force us into other roles or we have to give up things we like.  The role we have played among others becomes unavailable and we wonder if there is something more.

After times of loss or times of deep introspection, we begin to ask about our place in the world as a whole, not just among our friends and family.  “Who am I” becomes “What am I.”  Why am I here and what is my real purpose?  The search for those answers changes everything.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grace 101