Do I have the kinds of relationships in my life that help me seek God? That’s been the question we’ve been walking around and discussing the past couple of Sundays in our journey on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24). If we really believe that Jesus is right about…well…EVERYTHING then I think the first filter we should apply to our relational choices is this: Who are “great commandment” people in my life? Am I carving out time to be with them?
Mark 12:30-31 (Great Commandment)
Jesus answered…“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
If our single most important pursuit in life is God then the relationships that spur that pursuit must become a priority. Why? Because although our faith is deeply personal it was never intended to be private—walking with God has always been an “us, we, together” thing. Even for the most introverted among us.
But, as important as “connecting with others” is, it cannot become our end-goal. Our community together is a means to an end. If we put pressure on human relationships to be for us what God never intended them to be then we’ll be wading through waves of unmet expectations. Doing-life-together isn’t sustainable and cannot be our focus; loving Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength…and doing His will—that’s the point, that’s the larger purpose. And this is when friendship becomes “spiritual friendship”, when community becomes “Christian community”, when companions become “sacred companions”.
“… instead of running from loneliness, stay with it. Stare it right in the eye, and turn it into a prayer of confession. It is the only way you will hear the word of the Lord: I have not left you alone. This is the only word able to calm the inner distractions of your heart, and until the heart is calm, all of your relationships will never be more than narcissistic outer distractions. No abundance of friends, no number of different marriages, no quantity of moves to new cities can ever take the loneliness away. The heart can only be satisfied by the One who created it. The yearning is for God.” – M. Craig Barnes