This morning I received a revelation about relationship. This one has been a long time coming. If I had gotten this in my 20s it would’ve alleviated a number of issues in my life. Now that I’m almost pushing 50, I’d say it’s about time to get it. I’m trusting His timing is absolutely perfect in this. May I finally truly get it, and may it help those who read this. For the Christian there are no true intimate relationships apart from being in Christ.
Another way to put this is that all our intimate relationships are intended to be “church.” This doesn’t mean that we’ll be sequestered in silence and solitude most of the time, or that we only interact with the church. But this is what it does mean in actuality: As Christians we have no true intimate relationships outside of Christ. The reason why I qualified “intimate” relationships is that I will always have acquaintances, associates, and store clerk interactions. I live in this world and I interact with people daily. But that’s not what I am talking about. What I’m referring to is deep, intimate, spirit-to-spirit relationship—not common everyday relationships.
But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12:48-50 ESV
Body Life In Christ
I know to some this all could sound anti-social, but really it is more relational not less. For instance, I heard Martha say that she wanted to experience church in her relationship with her children. Her choice for their relationship was to be in Christ rather than in family. This takes it higher than just a mother/child relationship, straight into Body life.
I’ve also heard Martha speak of the Lord’s confrontation of her about her relationship with her husband. Jesus said, “You’re not his wife; I am his wife through you.” This statement is absolutely amazing. This takes “Christ in you” to the heights. You remember my mantra: Christ’s life as my life is His life in my life, and that’s not my life as His life. I’ve seen that worked out practically in many lives, and I see the wisdom and glory of this.
When all of our relationships are in Christ, then all of our knowing is of Christ. Then we are experiencing Him in every facet of our lives. It becomes an Apostle Paul experience, “that I may know Him.” Can you imagine if all of your deepest relationships were more about experiencing Christ and His Life? This doesn’t mean that you remain aloof or remote; in actuality, it might mean quite the opposite.
And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]
Philippians 3:10 AMP (emphasis mine)
Relationships in Christ
Currently my most intimate and closest relationships are in Christ. It’s church! And I’m not saying my church-friends and family, which has a religious, churchy feel. What I’m talking about is His transcendent church, which is actually relationships in Christ’s own Body. This is a union that’s more about relationship with Him than just relating to others. Yet all the while, that relating to others is often closer and more intimate then if it were not in Christ.
When all of our relationships are in Christ, then all of our knowing is of Christ. Here’s a funny visual about being in Christ. My kidney, my liver and my stomach are pretty close. They work in conjunction with each other in me. Functionally they are pretty close, but their focus is ultimately me.
This reality has been proven to me over and over again. There’s a unity that is experienced in relationships, in Christ, that is incredibly deeper than mere human connections. True Body life is the knowing of Christ as He wishes to reveal Himself in the members of His Body. The result is a bond so beyond commonality and familiarity. It is knowledge of and union with Him and the members of His very own Body. He makes Himself known as He expresses Himself through us. Now that is relationship!
“I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.”