Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Is God Enough For Us?

Is God Enough For Us? | He is Making Everything New

I am now accepting orders for this motivational poster ;)

Let’s imagine that you are the only person on earth–you are completely by yourself but you have perfect intimacy with God. You get to experience the incredible beauty of God’s creation while immersed in His constant, sick unhindered presence. Would that be enough for you? Would it be enough for any of us?

I used to think that the answer was an obvious yes–God is all we need to live a joyful, info content, rheumatologist and fulfilled life. If we had perfect intimacy with Him we would never feel lonely and we would never need anyone else. Our real issue is that we live in a fallen world and all this darkness and sin gets between us and God, but if we could live in a place without sin, we would only need God to complete us, to fill our souls. But I don’t believe that anymore.

That wasn’t what you were expecting, was it?

Here’s the thing–the Bible tells us that our hypothetical scenario was real. God created the heavens and the earth and he fashioned one human being, Adam, to live in the world He created. There was no sin in the Garden of Eden, nothing to keep Adam from God, and Genesis 3:8 seems to suggest that God was present in the Garden in a physical form. And yet, God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Alone? But how would he be alone if God was there? But he was alone–Adam needed the presence of another human being to fulfill him, to satisfy the longings of his soul, in addition to his relationship with God.

Some might argue that God created Eve not because Adam actually needed her to live a fulfilled life, but rather that God wanted more children to pour out his love on and so he made Eve so she and Adam could have children.

But that argument isn’t convincing to me. If we did not need the community of other humans, wouldn’t God just create an infinite number of gardens and create a beautiful individual to place in the middle of each one? Or wouldn’t He at least create a less intimate way to procreate? And if relationships and community didn’t really matter, why would God strip himself of heaven to come and be with us on earth? Because of our salvation, you say? Well then, couldn’t Jesus have been born and then killed a few hours after his birth? Why was it necessary for him to become friends with a close group of men and women and live life among God’s children?

I believe God placed the longing for heaven into each human heart because he knows that we will never be fully satisfied without him. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4), but I also think he made us for community. He designed us in such a way that we need each other. Our families and friends and spouses and children are not some sort of substitute for God until the Lamb breaks the power of Satan and restores God’s creation–we need these relationships to really live.

Now, of course, we do live in a fallen world and Satan twists our relationships to hurt us. But, in spite of this, we still need each other. And when we’re living in the new heaven and new earth, we will still need each other.

I agree with C.S. Lewis that “if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” If we are in tune with the deepest longings of our heart, we will find that we have a longing for a place we’ve never been but that we somehow remember. We have a longing for home. But I would submit that we also have a deep longing for real intimacy, vulnerability, and the experience to be truly seen and known by those around us. The desires of our heart really go hand in hand–our pursuit of God should deepen our pursuit of human beings. And our relationships with those around us, people created in the image of God, should lead us deeper in love with the Lord.

This has practical applications for our lives. If you’re trying to take yourself out of the world so you can be more connected with the Lord, you’re missing out on a beautiful part of life that God created for your delight–intimacy and community–and actually might cut yourself off from a deeper understanding of God that we can only get from living life with others. And if you’re trying to find your identity and purpose for life in those around you, you’re never going to be able to fill the deepest longings of your heart.

Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke | Book Review

spoken for

Recently I was offered to be a part of Blogging for Books, search an organization that gives bloggers free books in exchange for an honest review (basically the best things ever). The first book I ordered to review was Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke.

I wasn’t sure if this book was going to be good or just cheesy, more about but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. This book is a quick read–I read it pretty much in one sitting while at the pool–and its purpose is to share how deeply we are loved and known by God, this site which is such an important message for all followers of Jesus. It’s all too easy to forget that God is pursuing us and wants to be with us.

Our goal is simple. We want you to see what happens when you respond to the invitation of the true Bridegroom and step into the center of an epic love story–yours. –pg. 5

One of my favorite bands, United Pursuit, does a Tuesday night live-stream worship and one night the worship leader was singing a spontaneous song in which he said, “I’m choosing to believe I’m worth your pursuit of me.” Wow! That really hit me. God not only pursues us with never-ending energy and love but he thinks that we are worth pursuing! This is something that Alyssa and Robin communicated in this book and that I really appreciated–you are so wanted by the Relentless Lover.

Both Robin and Alyssa share stories from their personal lives with a vulnerability that I admire. Alyssa talks about her struggle with an eating disorder and her experience dating her now-husband, Jeff (whose book I am reviewing tomorrow!). Robin talks overcoming heartache and learning to live free from shame. They draw connections with how they were pursued and loved in their romantic relationships with how God pursues and loves us. These connections help give more concrete images of what it looks like to be in relationship with God and I think they especially encourage young women to seek relationships with men who mirror Christ’s heart for his bride.

The thing is, if you dare to really believe how loved you are by God, it’s going to be hard for you to settle for a relationship with someone who doesn’t treat you like the precious creation you are. As the Church I think we need to be better about communicating to our young men and women that no one else will satisfy aside from God and that if/when you do start dating, not to settle for someone who isn’t able to mirror the love Christ has for you and call you into deeper relationship with Him.

For all of us, the ultimate proposal has been offered. Life eternal with the Prince of Peace, who loves us and gave himself for us. Christ has come to us with loving words that speak to us individually. And now the Bridegroom awaits your response. May you cry out to him, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” –pg. 164

Cons: There aren’t many things I disliked about this book, but I do want to mention a couple small things.

–This book is written for women and I don’t know that any man would pick it up to read (which is fine, Robin and Alyssa are writing for a specific audience). But that being said, I think one issue I found with comparing how God pursues us with how men pursue women in romantic relationships is that it doesn’t communicate that men are also the Bride of Christ. Men, you are pursued and loved by Christ. He has proposed to you, he is your Bridegroom, and you, too, are part of an epic love story.

–One point that wasn’t communicated as clearly as it could have been is that you don’t need to experience a romantic relationship or be married or have a man pursue you to experience the love of God. Even if you never get married, you are part of love story more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Do I Recommend It? Yes! I recommend this book. It’s easy to read, very accessible, and shares truths that, while simple, have the ability to radically transform your life. I think this book would be great for women of all ages but could be especially great for middle school and high school girls. The book has discussion questions at the end of each chapter which makes it perfect for a discussion group setting or personal reflection.

To kick off my book review marathon week, I’m giving away one copy of Spoken For! Blogging for Books accidentally sent me 2 copies of this book so I am giving away the 2nd book to one lucky reader :)

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