Why begin with our relational God as we reflect?
So without beginning with the relational Trinity, it's tough to break out of these childish habits. Too often we think and respond as if the world centered around us and our pain. We cannot simply make a leap directly to this re-centered life in the Trinity, which includes serving others sacrificially. So, how can we break free? How do we mature? How do we “adjust to Reality?” How does the Spirit train us as servant-first influencers?
The Trinity models a dynamic exchange in which each is who they are because of relationship. No one Member of the Godhead could exist in isolation. Each cares completely for the other. This openness and radical mutuality was the authentic model for 1st century community life, and is also for us today. No wonder Paul began the last three chapters in Ephesians with a clear call to “walk worthy of the joint call you have received as community.” Look at the rest of Ephesians from the perspective of freeing ourselves from self-protective community-breakers. These undermine unity in community.
Ten years ago I finished writing a book on our spiritual foundation for LifeChange called, Big God! Bold Design. See the “Resources” tab for the trilogy. A few months later, I was struggling and returned to this primer. I saw for the first time that my opening four chapters were a significantly different way for me to pointedly engage life It sketched out an approach consistent with the book of Ephesians.
Oh, I had known and believed this teaching or theology for a long time. I wrote those chapters! But now I’m beginning to deliberately launch my daily thinking where the Bible does. This two-pronged pattern focuses on Him (“In the beginning God created…”, Genesis 1:1). It also focuses on His awesome, majestic design to make the crown-jewel of His creation both His friend and His partner (“Let us make man in our image…”). Ephesians chapters 1-3 reflects the same approach. As I choose to realign my thinking patterns, something significant is changing within. Now I ow believe any other view of Reality subtly distorts vision, some more, some less. I just wonder why it took me so long to see!
The Relational Trinity as Life-Giver.
Furthermore, this relational Trinity gives us a long, refreshing drink of the relational Community-God delighting in each other and ecstatically pleased with us. He sings His love-songs over us, the pinnacle of His creation. His love-thoughts about us are more than the sands of the sea. The Father's love chases us around every day. God celebrates us with indescribable pleasure as Beloved children. He really does like hanging out with us! This Community-God made us a little lower than God Himself and blesses us with every smidgen of resources we need for this life. He is abundance so no poverty or limitation exists in Him as life Giver. We must begin with His passion for us.
“In the confession of the Trinity throbs the heart of the Christian religion.”
The Relational Trinity re-created us as image-bearers sent into God’s fallen world.
First of all, “very good” creation-intent comes from this relational Trinity. He has already inbreathed into us, making us “community/individuals,” like the Trinity. His Eden-design, fashioning us as image-bearers partnering with Him and with each other together in community, gives us value, worth and a destiny. The Triune God draws us near to powerfully experience His eternal life, love and light. Also note this is our ongoing Eden-call, from which God will never detour. The Trinity is the environment in which we live and move and have our being. Let’s begin to see ourselves through His eyes as beloved friends and as intimate allies. Then we will recover this high view of mankind, created male and female. Now we can in turn relate with other people in the same way the Trinity already relates with each Other.
Over and again, Paul bankrupts language to describe how completely we are restored to intimacy through the successful rescue and full restoration in Christ (cp Rom 8:32). One man listed thirty-three changes that happen the instant we trust in Christ and our stolen throne is restored to God. We belong to Another! How else can we break free from our self-absorbed poverty mentality that focuses on dead things (our sin and our brokenness) and on our in-process-ness. We have been purchased at a high price and fully forgiven…
…in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (1:7).
Download PDF booklet from my website my short meditation on Ephesians called Created Community. Also, visit my website: JimFredericks.com