Summary: Part 1 of a 8 part series called Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth. How is trust in God like trust in human relationships? How is it different?
Part 1 in series
Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth
Wildwind Community Church
February 7, 2009
We’re starting a new series today. The series itself has kind of a long name. I’m calling this series: Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth. As I have laid it out, this will be a nine-part series. Today we’re going to look at the foundation of any relationship, which is trust. We’ll follow that up with Commitment, Fidelity, Communication, Intimacy, Role Expectations, Forgiveness, Finances, and we’ll end with Parenting, which of course will wrap itself very well back around to Trust!
I’m really excited about this series. In fact I feel so passionately about this series that when I first started dreaming of writing a book ten years ago, it was a book on this topic. I sat down and wrote out chapter titles and everything, and they were some of the same things I’ll be covering in this series. Eventually it would be awesome to take this sermon series and flesh it out even more and actually end up with the book I’ve always dreamed about – but first things first.
The first thing I want to do is bring you on board with how exciting this topic is. Do you see it yet, or does this seem immensely boring to you? I will admit that simply rattling off the list of sermon topics in this series probably does not sound all that thrilling, unless you are a counselor. But here’s what’s really cool about it. Although at times God is very hard to grasp, very hazy and confusing, every one of you in this room already knows quite a bit about all the topics I’ll be covering in the next few weeks. If you have ever had a friend in your life, or even wished for one, you know something about trust. If you have ever had a friend, you know something about commitment. If you are married, or have been married, you may know a great deal about it. When I will be speaking to you about fidelity and communication and intimacy and role expectations and forgiveness and finances and parenting, every single person in this room will be able to relate to and understand what I am talking about.
Why is that? Because those things are foundational in relationships. You can’t have a relationship without trust. You can’t have a healthy relationship without good communication. You can’t remain in a relationship without fidelity, without faithfulness to that person. And so on, and so on. Now everyone here may not be an expert in all (or any) of these areas, but you already understand and relate to them – they are part of your life, part of your experience, for some even part of your vocabulary.
Now this whole series is based on one very simple idea. A relationship with God may be a lot of things, but it is – first and foremost – a relationship! And as soon as we realize that it is a relationship, then we can look to other relationships in our lives and learn something about our relationship with God. We can say, “What’s so important about trust?” We can make a list of all the reasons why trust is huge in any relationship, then we can begin to understand why trust in God is important. Or we can think about communication. We know you can’t maintain a relationship without communication because communication is huge. So we think, “How can I be in a relationship with God if I don’t communicate with him?” Then we think, “What’s communicating with God?” Then we realize, “Communicating with God is called prayer.” Then we can learn important things about prayer because we can see how it compares to communication with our spouse, or boyfriend or girlfriend, or other important people in our life. See what I’m saying? Your relationship with God is many things, but it is first and foremost a relationship. And because it is a relationship, you can use a lot of what you already know to be true about relationships with people to learn stuff about God and about the spiritual life.
Which leads to the next reason why this topic is exciting. It’s exciting because if what I’m saying is true (and it is), then you probably already know a great deal more about God than you realize. The problem is that you have maybe grown up with a view of God that places him so far outside the realm of your understanding that you don’t realize how much of God IS understandable – at least to some degree! We see verses like this: