From the very beginning of creation, God has created us for relationships (Genesis 2:18). Relationship is at the core of who we are as humans. We are made for relationship, and without relationship, what makes us human is lost.
This discipleship component touches on right relationship with God, forgiveness and inner healing, Christ-like relationships with others, and being ambassadors of reconciliation.
There are many choices that can destroy our relationship with God and people—selfishness, wrong decisions, shame, pride, insecurity, resentment. As long as Adam and Eve walked in healthy submission and friendship with God, everything in creation was friendly (Genesis 1-2); but as soon as that relationship was lost by sin, all other relationships were fragmented (Genesis 3). It is possible to maintain an outward form of godliness through rituals and routines without having right relationship with God (Amos 5:21-24; Matthew 23:25-36).
The ministry of Jesus was relational (Mark 3:13-14). He reconciled us with God, and He has now given us the ministry of reconciling people into relationship with Him and His Father. That is why evangelism is not so much about passing on information as it is about helping people to encounter Jesus relationally. If we do not develop and maintain healthy relationship with God, we become self-centred and our interactions with others are also affected (2 Timothy 3:1-5). In other words, our relationship with God is foundational for our relationship with others.
Reflection Questions: Is there a broken relationship that you are aware of that needs to be restored? How quick are you to forgive yourself and others without holding a grudge? How often do you reflect the forgiveness of God in your relationship with your parents, spouse, children, church family, and neighbours?
As disciples of Jesus, when we are genuinely listening to God and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, we naturally find ourselves in tune with one another as well. The primary mark of Christ-like disciples is their love for one another, including other believers beyond their denominational and national territories (John 13:34-35; 17:20-23).
This is the 3rd post of a 9-part series that explores “Discipling in the way of Jesus”, a focus on Global Disciples’ 9 Essential Components of Discipleship Training. The series summarizes the core teaching of our discipleship-mission training that is taught to program directors chosen by local clusters of churches around the world.