Relationships IN Christ — Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Relationship IN Christ — Why Can't We Be Friends?

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.


Relationships - Why Can't We Be Friends?
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

Body Life: Relationships 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

Relationship IN Christ — Why Can't We Be Friends?
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.”
Brother Lawrence

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    • tammy

      He is to BE, from within me, the One whom others experience relationship with.

    • Marsela

      This is very true, I wholeheartedly agree. Because we are born from above, because we have been made new from inside, we now relate to others and to things from this new realm where we now live. And in this new realm, all things are from God, and they are for God.
      But as you pointed out John, which is very important, that doesn’t make you remain aloof and remote. Jesus was not aloof and remote…. ” The Son of Man that is in heaven” , “This One that’s from above and not from below” is the One who touched the leper, the One who ate with sinners, and much more….
      Our need kept Him with us, the sinners, because of His great love, His Holiness kept Him separate…His intimacy was with His Father.
      His close friendship was only with a small group of disciples. And for Him this is what friendship is, He gave us the ” definition”.

      ” ….. You are my friends, for I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father”.

      Whatever it’s true of Him, it’s true of us, if we are ” In Christ”.
      Our friendship, the level, the depth of intimacy, it’s only in proportion to the level and the depth of our intimacy with Him.

    • Annalie

      I agree John!
      Lots love in Jesus.


    • LeAnn

      This is quite an eye opener—if I am to let Christ be a sister or brother or wife or daughter, then am I free from all kinds of problematic relationship issues; prideful status, unresolved issues, power plays? Will other people in my circle of relationships be free from those things also?


      Wonderful and exciting read! Phenomenal post! Beautiful! Powerful! Inspirational! We celebrate You Jesus!

    • Helen

      In Christ means the filled with His Life vessel let’s, watches, is knowing Him in the relationship, rather than ‘try-living’ out of self-motivations of selfish gain or fear of loss where self is front and center. When the heart focus is Christ…and all He bought, purposes, sees, knows, intends and IS!…in this moment, without me dragging any history along or fearing or pretending the future…He will be Who He will be, and will see it through for Himself…and for me. He will be responsible for His will and way. I’m not the consideration, yet tucked inside I’m also lovingly, mightily considered, for an unentangled heart will see God. All value and worth and Joy is God in Evidence of Himself! In our most intimate relationship He staggers us to wonder; no one could give such things as He Gives! To weep, to rejoice, with those who weep, rejoice, is not a directive, it’s Reality of relationship in Christ!

    • Celia

      This is so true. Our relationships In Christ and based on Him cannot be any less than precious, whether it is a believer in one’s fellowship or someone stumbled upon in your own hometown or across the world. It truly is like finding a long, lost friend or family in the midst of a sometimes unfriendly, lonely world. This truth is both wonderful for the In Christ relationships we have, and heartbreaking, if we have friends or family members who do not yet know the Lord. Your words encourage me to pray and hope for them in faith, to one day have a deeper relationship based on a sure foundation. And Martha Kilpatrick’s words that you quoted are something to be pondered and prayed over for a long time for many of my relationships. It is an impossibility, except He do it through us.

      • So true! I feel like I have many brothers and sisters I never knew I had. They spring up like founts of life. It is a wonder. I feel like you are certainly one of them.

        And yes it is difficult with those who dwell out of the Will of God but we always have prayer in our arsenal. The amazing thing is when earthly family becomes body life not just living.

        Love you Celia!

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