Early in our marriage, when my husband and I discussed our plans for starting a family, he had a perspective that I had not yet considered. He shared with me how another couple we knew had had an impact on him. This couple had children who were grown with families of their own. My husband saw the deep joy of those relationships and the excitement this couple had when their children and grandchildren came to visit. I had only thought about the short-range impact a new baby would have on us and the changes that would occur in our life-style, but his perspective went way beyond that. He anticipated the sweet fellowship and companionship we would enjoy with our children, not only when they were very young but after they were grown.
Our heavenly Father created man for companionship. He wanted children with whom to communicate—sons and daughters to love Him. God spent ages preparing for us. He designed the great universe to support the earth, and the earth He made to physically support man. God provided all of this so that we could freely love, worship, and fellowship with Him.
As His children, our great joy in life is to fulfill God’s desire for companionship. We want to develop, enhance, and protect our true and vital spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father. We do this by learning about Him via His Word, by loving Him above all else, and by giving Him our abundant praise and worship for all of His goodness.
It is God’s Word that enables us to know Him. It is His Word that teaches us how to love, worship, and fellowship with Him. As we learn His Word, we can develop and enhance our relationship with God, or our “godliness.”
II Peter 1:3:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
E. W. Bullinger’s lexicon and concordance states that the word “godliness” in this verse “…relates to real, true, vital, and spiritual relation with God….” This is the kind of relationship we want to have with our heavenly Father, and we build that relationship “through the knowledge of him”—by getting to know Who God is from His Word. In I Timothy 6:11, Paul admonishes Timothy to “follow after…godliness.”
I Timothy 6:11:
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith [believing], love, patience, meekness.
The words “follow after” mean to pursue after, to follow earnestly after. We pursue our true and vital relationship with God by learning more about God and by keeping our fellowship with Him sweet.
As in any relationship, it takes effort to maintain and build fellowship. The same is true with our heavenly Father. We put forth the effort to enhance and protect our relationship with God. Many things in life compete for our time, our energy, and our allegiance, but one priority in our decisions and actions is to keep our fellowship with our heavenly Father true and vital. One way we do this is by faithfully going to His Word.
A vivid lesson for me occurred shortly after I entered my first year of in-residence Way Corps training. I began to feel like something was missing; I just did not feel as happy as I used to be. In discussing this with my leadership, we figured out that I was trying so hard to keep up with the new schedule and all of the learning that I was not taking time during the day to simply fellowship with God as before. Once I recognized this, I reevaluated my daily routines and made a deliberate decision to be sure I included God in whatever I was doing. I needed to pursue my true and vital relationship with Him. It is possible to be so busy “serving God” that we forget the One we are serving.
God’s Word shows us Who our heavenly Father is and all He has done for us. It declares His great love for us and reveals how to please Him. Faithfully going to His Word helps us keep this priority of maintaining and enhancing our true and vital relationship with Him.
Another way we develop our relationship with God is by loving Him above all else. God is love, and everything He did to prepare the earth for us He did because of His love for us. God’s plan of redemption was done out of love: God so loved us, He gave His only begotten Son that we could have everlasting life. God’s desire is for us to love Him, by free will, above anything else in this life.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
The first and great commandment to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind still holds true today. We want to love God with everything we are and above anything else in our lives. In practice, this means we make sure that we are free to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind in whatever we do. We make our daily, weekly, yearly, and lifetime decisions and goals in light of this commandment. If there is anything to hinder us from living this way, we simply change it. We want to be free to love God with all that we are each day of our lives….
This is an excerpt from the July/August 2009 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2009 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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