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Where would you put your relationship with God?

Today I want to share something important to me, something that I read by the writer John Eldredge some years ago.

It was one of those observations that once you read it, changes the way you think forever. At least that's what it did to me/for me.

What Eldredge writes in Journey of Desire: A Journal and Guidebook is that the Bible uses a number of different metaphors for our relationship with God at various stages.

And, he writes - the rest of this is a direct, but slightly edited quote - notice how the metaphors (and our relationship with God) ascend, or grow, in a stunning way:
  • Potter and clay. At this level we are merely aware that our lives are shaped-even broken-by a powerful hand. There isn't much communication, just the sovereignty of God at work.
  • Shepherd and sheep. At this stage we feel provided for, watched over, cared about. But beyond that, a sheep has little by way of true intimacy with the Shepherd. They are altogether different creatures.
  • Master and servant. Many, many believers are stuck in this stage, where they are committed to obey, but the relationship is mostly about receiving orders and instructions and carrying them out.
  • Father and child. This is certainly more intimate than being a servant; children get the run of the house, they get to climb on Daddy's lap. These fortunate souls understand God's fatherly love and care for them. They feel "at home" with God.  
  • Friends. This stage actually opens up a deeper level of intimacy as we walk together with God, companions in a shared mission. We know what's on God's heart; God knows what's on ours. There is a maturity and intimacy to the relationship.
  • Bridegroom and bride (lovers). Here, the words of the Song of Songs could also describe our spiritual intimacy, our union and oneness with God. Madame Guyon wrote, "I love God far more than the most affectionate lover among men loves his earthly attachment."
So, considering those stages, here's Eldredge's final thought to leave you with:

Where would you put your relationship with God?

Take a minute and re-read the list. And ask yourself, honestly, why did you - why do you - choose that "level"? Has it always been that way?

And finally (and this is from me) ask yourself:

Is it time to grow in your relationship with God? If you sense that, please know it's the Holy Spirit already active in your life, inviting you to respond.

And so if that's the case, how can I personally - how can the church (the church in general, your church, the church I serve) - help you?

That's not only why I'm here, doing what I do as a priest/pastor, and writing what I write. It is one of the greatest joys of my life: helping people find ways to respond to what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life, in this church, and in the world.


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