Summary: It is time we take a serious look at building quality relationships – and there is no better resource than God who made us to be in relationship.

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“Building Quality Relationships: With God – Imitating God”

Eph. 4:17-5:2

From the very beginning God said “It is not good for man to be alone.” Van Morris, in Being Lonely ‘Can Kill You’, says that data collected from 148 studies, involving more than 300,000 people, conducted over three decades, shows just how true God’s principle is. People who have no social life are 50 percent more likely to die early than those who are well connected. Those who socialize regularly with family and friends live an average of 3.7 years longer than those who lead isolated lives. The professor who led the research said friends and supportive people encourage us to “have better health practices, see a doctor, exercise more. They may also help you directly by making you feel you have something to live for…By having a secure relationship and feeling loved, people live much more secure, calm lives.” (1)

With that information in hand, it’s important to know another body of research. Sherry Turkle, a professor at M.I.T. and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, has spent the last 15 years studying how our "plugged-in lives" have changed who we are. She claims that all of our technological devices have produced a world in which we're always communicating but we're seldom having real conversations. This is part of her conclusion: “We are tempted to think that our little "sips" of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don't. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places …. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation... We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship.” (2)

It is time we take a serious look at building quality relationships – and there is no better resource than God who made us to be in relationship. So this morning we begin our current series from the book of Ephesians. Paul begins, in fact, with our relationship with God. He says that through Christ we have A NEW IDENTITY. (23-24) “You were taught…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” WE ARE DEARLY BELOVED CHILDREN (5:1) CREATED TO BE LIKE GOD. We have an honorable name; we come from great stock; we are the prime cut, premium grade people.

This is more than a legal relationship; it is a relationship of love. God is committed to us, for our good. Having just celebrated baptism, let me illustrate it this way. Mike and Allie, how much do you want for Noah? What’s his selling price? A thousand dollars? One hundred thousand? How about a million dollars? You say he’s not for sale? Why not? Are you looking forward to all the dirty diapers, sleepless nights, childhood diseases, trips to the doctor, and all the costs of raising him? Is it because he’s going to bring you fame and fortune? Of course not. It’s because he’s your son and therefore is worth more to you than all the world. His identity and worth are rooted in your love. So it is with us and God. We have no need to measure up or stock our resumes with good references to earn God’s love. OUR WORTH IS IN OUR DIVINE CHILDHOOD.

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