Today I am going to share some things on my heart that the Lord has been speaking to me and that my Pastor, Steve Gray spoke about and confirmed to me this weekend.
From Genesis to Revelation the highest value of God is relationship. It started with God’s relationship to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, where everything was prepared for them to live a successful life, but then sin entered the world and put a wedge in the relationship. Then throughout the Bible we see how God has been doing everything to create a place on earth where His people can be a success in every area of life. He subdues kings and countries because of His relationship with Israel; He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ because of His love for the world; and the stories continue until one day He will return in the clouds to take us home with Him, all because of relationship. What an awesome God we serve, are family with, and get the honor of calling our God.
Because relationships are of such a high value to God, the Lord has shown us through His actions, but also through His communication to us as His people, that He loves us. The Lord speaks to us tenderly, for me, I can tell you, God has never raised His voice at me, never scolded me out of anger, nor shamed me into doing what He wants. His words are always gentle, always full of grace and truth, lavished with love and building me up, even when He is correcting and convicting me. The Lord is the ultimate communicator and as a counselor this is intriguing to me, how He communicates.
God being God, He can talk to us however He wants. He can dictate what we do, when we are to do, how He wants it done. But if He dictates, rather than communicates there is no relationship. You see there are people who love to dictate, because they do not want to put in the hard work of learning how to communicate. There are many reasons for this, some are insecure and so to communicate would mean they may not be right about everything and their self-worth cannot handle being wrong. For others to dictate is a default style, they saw it in their family or their culture or both, so they know no other way of speaking to people. But, no matter the why behind people who dictate, the truth is, those who dictate, rather than communicate do not have a relationship with the one to whom they are dictating.
To communicate means we listen to the other persons heart, thoughts, feelings, ideas, no discounting them as invaluable, but taking what they have to say into consideration as we communicate through an issue, conflict or decision. To communicate is to value the relationship over the need to be right. To communicate takes trust, takes time and takes energy. The Lord communicates with us and invites us to communicate with Him, because relationship is His highest value. Prayer is a place to communicate with God, not a place to dictate to God what to do. If you listen to people pray, you will realize whether they are in a relationship with God and are seeking to communicate, or if they are trying to dictate what God does. Listen to yourself in prayer, is a dictating or communicating with God?
I am so thankful that we have a God who wants to communicate with us, rather than dictate to us what we are to do, who we are to be, where we are to go. Now, He is God, even after we communicate, His say is final, and if we will obey, it strengthens our relationship with Him. But God so values us, that in His desire to communicate, it shows us how much we mean to Him and makes obeying Him so much easier. Sometimes, I wonder if people who believe God’s word is a dictation, rather than communication is why they struggle to obey? I am not sure how you view God speaking to you, but for me and to me, God communicates, He does not dictate, and I am willing and wanting to do whatever He asks of me, because I know He values me and our relationship so much, it is easy for me to obey.
I think this concept of relationships plays out in our marriages, with our children, in our company and in the church as well. If the leader dictates what people are to do, then it is challenging for those under them to want to do it, because they do not feel valued in the relationship. But if the leader, takes the time to communicate, it expresses value, it highlights the relationship, and it produces people who are more than willing and wanting to follow. I speak to my son, not as a dictation, but as communication, and I find that he does what I say, because I know how God speaks to me and values me, and I want to do the same for others. We may not always agree with what is being asked, but if we can communicate, rather than dictate, even if we or someone else disagrees, they will follow, because they know they are valued and all because we took the time to communicate rather than dictate.