Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets’ Matthew 22:37-40;
Everything about man and the life he lives hangs on relationship - Relationship with God and his fellow man. Jesus made this clear in the answer He provided to a certain learned lawyer who in an attempt to find an occasion against Him, requested to know the greatest of all commandments. The lawyer had probably expected that the Lord would emphasize one of the Ten Commandments at the expense of the others so that they could quote Him as saying that the keeping of the other commandments was not necessary thereby encouraging men to be law breakers. However, Jesus Christ Himself being wisdom of God reduced the laws and commandments into one; He emphasized the fact that relationship with God and with man is the foundation of all God’s commandments and instructions throughout all ages.
Relationship involving man is in two phases; the focus of God’s commandments throughout all ages is to establish a good relationship between man and God on one hand, and between man and his fellow man on the other hand. These two are equally important and failure in one can mar the destiny of any man here on earth and there after in eternity.
First and foremost, man’s relationship with God is the foundation of a meaningful life. If anyone goes through life without a meaningful relationship with God, he is bound to miss the whole essence of life. Although there are many people who care less about their relationship with God, yet they may have good things of life, become famous and influential in life, attain positions of greatness in business, career or politics, but the truth is that they are empty within. This informs the reason why a lot of people inspite of their success and great attainments in life cease not to be miserable.
There is a vacuum at the centre of the life of every man that only his maker - God can fill! Every effort of man to fill the gap only God can fill is exercise in futility; every attempt of man to still the soul’s quest which only God can still, leads continually to utter frustration. Nothing, absolutely nothing can be substitute for God in the life of a man! So thinking that we can life meaningful life without placing due emphasis on our relationship with God is nothing but foolishness of the highest order. God remains the core of our lives and everything about us must revolve around Him if we must live fulfilled life. There are a number of so called successful people who ended their own lives by committing suicide. Inspite of their attainments, they still discovered they were not fulfilled!
Men of different races, tribes and tongues all over the world have the consciousness that relationship with God is vital, and have devised their own ways to reach unto God. These ways are in form of religions. There could be hundreds of religions all over the world but there is only one way to God! Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Christ alone is the foundation of true relationship with God. Christ did not come to start a religion; He came to establish relationship between God and man! Anyone who is not in Christ cannot have acceptable relationship with God.
The bond that God desires to have with man is that of father - son relationship. This relationship begins the moment one yields his or her life to God by faith in Christ Jesus the Son of God and seeks to know Him everyday. God is the creator of every one - including those may not readily acknowledge Him as God, but He is not a father to everyone! No one can please the Lord or be acceptable in His sight that has not been engrafted into the family of God. Man’s need for forgiveness, pardon and acceptance could only come through faith in Christ.
If the relationship between you and God is frosty, you will find it difficult to live a meaningful life. That is why great emphasis must be placed on establishing and maintaining deep relationship with God.
If a man has good relationship with God, it is bound to reflect in his relationship with his fellow men. Those in whom God truly lives and reigns must reflect His image, nature and love while relating to others around them. If our relationship with people leaves them with pains, agony, bitterness, ills, anguish, sorrow, grief and woes, how can we show that God, who is love, dwells in us? The presence of God in our beings is supposed to flow as fragrance from within and bring pleasure, joy, forgiveness, acceptance, love and grace to all men with whom we relate from day to day.
Relationship is the core of human life. God designed man to live and relate with his fellow men. By nature, no one was made to survive alone or live independent of others and that is why there is a longing in every man for association and interrelationship. Everyday of our lives, we are bound to live and relate with people in different ways and form. What becomes of us and the life we live depends therefore on how well we live and relate with people around us.
The scripture says “Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see God” Hebrew 12:14. This clearly shows that our lives as believers stand on two pillars: peace with all men is about relationship with fellow men, holiness is the core of our relationship with God. The two are essential if we must see the Lord at the end of our lives.
So many people claim they have relationship with God but they pay little or no attention to the way they treat and live with others. Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets’. From the words of Christ, love of God is the foundation for love of the brethren and the world at large. We must succeed at the two to be what God has destined us to be. While it may be true that some people may have decided to make themselves our enemies without a just cause, the injunction of heaven remains “ love your enemies and do good to them who spitefully treat you”.
Love remains the greatest force on earth! There is no battle that could be too strong for love to conquer; there is no struggle on earth that true love cannot win. If we love as Christ loves, our relationship with men will be splendid and we would be able to make meaningful impact upon the lives of many in our society. Love is not self-centred but thinks of the well being of others over and above self; Love forgives and keeps no record of evil or wrongdoings; love gives others second chance the way God does. Love accepts others the way they are, just like God accepts us the way we are. Love does not write off others in any way or conclude that they cannot do well. Love, not time heals all wounds! Mere passage of time has no power to heal wounded hearts of men; it is the power of love that heals through forgiveness we give and receive! Love is God and God is love!
One interesting thing is that, everything that God intends to do in and through our lives would come through relationship! So how we handle our relationship with people around us plays a vital role in the life we live and how we eventually end. If we bother less about our relationship with others, the price could be greater that we ever imagined. At the end, our lives would be assessed by our relationship with God and our fellow men.
At this juncture, we need to re assess our relationship with God first of all, our family, husband, wife, children, father, mother, in-laws, neighbours, brethren, house helps, employees, boss at work, subordinates at work, co-tenants, co-workers and everyone! Where are we heading to in our relationship with God and men?