Love is relational, in its very nature. In relationship we know and are known. As we get to know someone, we want to know who they are are and let them know us. Love is expressed in the context of relationship. Relational love includes things like noticing people, listening, asking questions, sharing of your heart and selves, and responding.
God is relational. Throughout all of Scripture He consistently desires relationship with people. And He invites each of us to extend that relational love to others as well.
God created people who would relate with each other and with Him. In great love, He created a garden to be their home and gave them companionship of marriage. He walked and talked and related with them.
But there is a continuous theme of people saying “I will do it my way.” Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit God told them not to eat. The consequence was relational death (brokenness in relationship with God and each other) and physical death. They turned away from God’s love and being who He created them to be. Since that time, each person’s heart has been drawn to do life their own way.
Nevertheless, God continued to care for and pursue and discipline the hearts of people He created.
The greatest expression of God’s relational love was sending His son, Jesus, to live among us. He walked on this earth in love; seeing people, touching them, eating with them, conversing with them, and having compassion for them. Ultimately, he gave up his life on the cross. This satisfied the consequence that humans carried since the fall, opening the way for eternal life and renewed relationship with God.
In response we can choose to recognize Jesus for who he is and our sin for what it is. We can accept his death on the cross as the only provision for forgiveness and healing our relationship with God. And this is the starting point for healing our relationships with people as well.
“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” ~Ephesians 5:2
God invites us to live a life of relational love like Jesus. We are called to live in such a way that we share Jesus love with the people in our lives. We do this in relationship, as we notice people, listen, ask questions, share of our heart and selves, and respond to them. We receive his love, and follow his example by living a life of love.
How do you respond to God’s offer of love and relationship?
How can you take steps to live out Jesus’ relational love?