“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”
(1 John 4:11-12 NLT)
Have you ever considered how the connection you crave with God may be deeply impacted by the connections you have with others?
Maybe you’ve thought what you have with God doesn’t have to do with anyone else. It’s just you and God – but than again, maybe not.
We are created in the image of our relational God. He invites us to experience a fully connected relationship with Him when we’re adopted into His family by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. We are given the gift of His presence through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
God designed us for continual connection with not only Himself but also His body.
John wrote, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:10-12 NLT).
Understanding of God’s love for us, as well as our ability to love Him in return, is directly impacted by our experience of love shared one to another. When God’s love has been marred and broken by sin in our relationships, we can’t help but question His love for us. No wonder we isolate and withdraw not only from God but also from our families and friends and communities and churches.
Satan is about the business of isolating us and separating us from God and each other.
We need relationships to help us gain a deeper understanding of God and for His healing love to permeate our lives. That’s because God designed our brains to heal from trauma as well as grow in cognitive ability through relationships. The limbic system is our emotional hub and functions best in patterned, rhythmic, and predictable relationships – like that of a healthy relationship between mother and child. Neuro-pathways are formed and develop in that kind of relationship and create an organized brain. Think of it this way – a brain that experiences relational love with another human being is capable of understanding the love of God not only experientially but also intellectually.
So where does that leave us? It would be easy to play the blame-game, resigning ourselves to a loveless life and disconnection from God since we can’t control anyone else’s behavior. But is that really God’s best?
What if we chose to pursue God’s real love and become His real love to others?
Yes, that means taking the risk and possibly getting hurt, being rejected, and experiencing disappointment. We don’t have to be reckless, ignoring boundaries and forsaking discernment. But we can take a step of faith. We can pursue healthy relationships that lead to healing and wholeness not only for ourselves but also to be a powerful expression of God’s love in this world.
Dear Lord, thank you for being a relational God desiring to be deeply connected with me as your beloved child. Thank you for creating my brain in such a way that it can grow and heal through relationships. Help me, Lord, find that healing through your divine orchestration of the relationships in my life. Use me, Lord, to be a source of healing for others.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How have you fallen prey to the enemy’s ways by isolating in your woundedness? What would it look like to step out in faith, pursue healing (with the help of a counselor, if needed), and seek to connect purposefully with those God has placed in your life?
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Elisa Pulliam is a coach, author, podcaster, speaker, and founder of More to Be. She is passionate about helping women pursue a fresh encounter God, experience His radical transforming love, and embrace deep connections with others. She is also the founder of It Is Well, where she helps women simplify the transition into wellness by cultivating a whole food and toxin-free lifestyle for themselves and their families. She is enjoying the adventure of being married to Stephen for 23 years, raising their brood of teenagers together, and growing as trauma-focused equine-assisted coach and specialist. Connect with Elisa at MoretoBe.com and ItIsWell.us.