Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rhythm or Relationship?

Sometimes, changing one word changes everything.

See, I’ve always had issues with our constant use of the term “Relationship with Jesus.” For one thing, it’s not used anywhere in the Bible. That’s not necessarily bad, but it can be an issue.

For another, it makes my “Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend” warning light flicker just a little. Outside of church we use the word “relationship” almost exclusively in a romantic way. Facebook doesn’t ask if you’re romantically involved. It asks if you’re “in a relationship”.

And finally, relationships don’t have leaders. They’re mutual admiration societies, with a goal of each person making the other happy. But Jesus is my Leader. And while He does bring me joy, both of us share the same purpose of bringing glory to the Father, not warm fuzzies to each other.

Well, that could all just be one of my issues, but during the message this past weekend, another thought began to evolve, a thought that was strengthened in our Connection Group. What if, instead of a relationship, Jesus wants us to be in rhythm?

Picture yourself and Jesus in a row boat, each with an oar. In this boat, it’s not about Jesus making me happy. It’s about me matching the rhythm and pace Jesus is setting. We’re working together to accomplish the Father’s will, but my part is to keep my eyes on Him, to stay in tune with Him. To match His rhythm. I get my joy from being in synch with Him, not from what He’s directly doing for me. (Which is why I can have great joy even when life is crappy.)

And as I reflect on it, “rhythm” is a much better description of my walk with Jesus than “relationship”. When things go wrong in my walk with Christ, it’s not a “relationship” issue. (“Have you told Him how that makes you feel?”) It’s that I’ve gotten out of rhythm with God’s Spirit. The problem isn’t fixed by “restoring the relationship” (which implies to me that both sides need to work on something). It’s fixed by me stopping what I’m doing that is out of synch with God and making my rhythm match His. “Be still and know that I am God” kind of stuff. Worshiping to align my will and ways with His.

So, what do you think? Which image better reflects your walk with God? I don’t know about you, but from now on I think I’m going to spend a lot more time talking about rhythm than relationship.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Nice post - indeed the relationship language has not always been helpful. Like all things, it began with good intention but took on a quite a life of its own.

In my post, the idea of rhythm is appealing but like any term it has the same potential to take on a life of its own. It's not the word's fault really but rather we Christians have a tendency of oversimplifying things for mass consumption.

I could go on and on but I like the idea of describing our love/commitment/devotion/etc.in numerous ways or using terms like discipleship, followership, carrying our cross, journey, etc. interchangeably.