Jesus created us for relationship, and He knew that if we'd get in step with the way He wired us, we'd meet a God-given need inside us.
In Genesis 1:26, "God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.' " As the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — God is One, and He exists in complete unity. He is also a completely social being who enjoys an eternally perfect, loving and holy relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Because He made us like himself, we also hunger to know such a perfect relationship.
Today, many of us are so busy, competitive or distrusting that we often avoid relationships, at least on the deeper level God intended. To further the dilemma, our communication technology distances us from personal interaction.
Usually we have to schedule time to strengthen our relationships amid the busyness of our daily grind, and our transient culture means we may be thousands of miles from family and friends. It's often easier to fill our lives with music, movies, television and other entertainment, rather than take the time to develop and deepen relationships. Of course, these are just symptoms of the real problem.
When Adam and Eve fell, relationships — those between man and God as well as those between human beings — were broken by sin. Sin hinders relationships because sin is selfishness and drives us to fulfill our own desires instead of loving and serving others.
"An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends" (Proverbs 18:1).
Unfortunately, the world creates a relationship model that is "all about me." We often think of relationships in self-centered ways. What's in it for me? Why should I care?
God wants us to love, serve and care for others — unconditionally and completely — just as He did. When we do love, serve and care for others — spouse, children, parents, friends, family and strangers — we're fulfilling God's plan for relationship.
As the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together in perfect harmony to show us that loving, serving and caring for each other is how a relationship works best. The Son is submitted to the Father, coming to earth and serving humankind by modeling a godly life and dying for our sins — the ultimate, unselfish act of love.
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2).
The Holy Spirit is likewise submitted to the Father and the Son, making intercession for us, teaching us and guiding us.
Though our ability to love unselfishly runs dry all too quickly, we can always draw from God's love — love that Psalm 136 reminds us endures forever. We just have to learn to let His love flow through us, choosing to die to ourselves and to think of others first, every day, in our marriages, our families, our friendships and with our fellow man.
That looks like sharing the fruits of the Holy Spirit that He has instilled in us:
First John 3:18 says, "Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
Actions do speak louder than words when it comes to relationships. From an earthly perspective, you may not receive back as much as you give — but loving, serving and caring for others in Christ's name and for His sake is God's plan for relationships.