As I continue exploring what it means that God wants us to receive his good news with great joy, I realize that the whole history of man is about our relationship with God. Everything is about whether we are attaching to God or not attaching to him.
Our identity in the image and likeness of God means in the image and likeness of a relational being beyond our wildest imaginings. We cannot understand ourselves without understanding attachment to our Creator. We are always for God or against him, nothing in between.
What has done all the damage in our souls that has resulted in horrible strongholds of self-protection is relationship problems with people when we had no relationship with God.
What we see healing childhood wounds, attachment-pain and sarky self-protection is people reconnecting with the Triune God.
The reason the good news of great joy is good news of great joy is because there is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” It is not just about sinners being saved from sin and condemnation. It is about a Shepherd going out to seek, find and save his lost sheep so there can be one flock and everyone can be together forever.
As I consider how to lead people in living out either Christ-centered singleness or Christ-centered marriage in Christ-centered churches, I realize that the issues we face are not about knowing the right thing to “do”. The issue is always about how we are “doing” in our relationship with God. Marriage and singleness are not the primary focus; it is all about being Christ-centered in everything.
So, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin,” because it is being done independent of our relationship with God. The reason that, “apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing,” is because we are trying to live independent of God. The reason that, if we “have not agapè-love” we are “nothing”, is because we are being unlike God. And the reason that anyone who “knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin,” is because someone who is like Jesus will never fail to do what they know is the will of God because relationship with God is everything.
I am often nervous and anxious about sharing how a new-hearted look at both Christ-centered singleness and Christ-centered marriage settles what to think about everything in between the two. I am always mindful of how growing in attachment to Jesus may result in losing relationships with people who don’t want him.
However, the only way it could ever turn out good for every one of us is if returning to the Christ-centeredness we lost in the Garden of Eden feels like finding a treasure hidden in a field, and that the ultimate joy of attachment to the Triune God is so precious to us that giving up anything else doesn’t feel like we are losing anything at all.
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)