Having relationships is at the core of what it means to be human. While blue whales are noted for their abilities to send messages over thousands of miles of oceanic waters, their capabilities pale in comparison to those of humans. This is because God made mankind distinct from other species. In Genesis 1:26, God is recorded as saying, “Let Us make man in Our image.” For centuries, theologians have debated what it means for man and woman to be created in the “image” of God. An answer to the controversy is found within the Genesis narrative. Notice that the aforementioned verse begins with the declaration “Let us…”. God referred to Himself in the third person plural. His utterance indicates something special about His nature. He exists as three persons. This reality reveals what it means to be made in God’s image. Just as the Lord exists in a trinity, human beings have been made to live within a trinity of relationships. When one grasps this principle, he or she will be better equipped to enjoy life as God intended.
A Relationship with God
The Westminster Catechism states that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Scripture reveals this to be true. When Yahweh spoke of His people Israel, He said, “Bring My sons from far away...everyone called by My name and created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:6). Whether one realizes it or not, his or her main purpose in life is to know God, and to be known by Him. Blaise Paschal, a seventeenth century French mathematician and philosopher, described this truth by teaching that everyone is created with a God-shaped vacuum in his or her heart. Though one might try to fill that void with possessions, pleasures, and self-promotion, he or she will never find satisfaction in life, until he or she seeks after God. If you want to live life to the fullest, you must first establish a strong relationship with the Lord (Matthew 6:33).
A Relationship with Others
Secondly, each of us has been made for relationships with others. Some relationships are obviously more important. Marriage is the loftiest of them all (Ephesians 5:31-33). Family bonds are important too; however, close friends can often provide a type of encouragement and support that can’t be found in a parent, child, or sibling (Proverbs 27:10). In the end, all of us need good friends in life (Proverbs 27:17). Those who cut themselves off from meaningful relationships do so to their own peril (Proverbs 18:1). If you want to have a full and robust life, you must have strong bonds with others. God has wired you in this way.
A Relationship with Self
To relationally function at a high level, you must engage in good self-care. Rest, reflection, and recharging is necessary. On multiple occasions, Jesus spoke of how we are to love others, as we would love ourselves (Matthew 7:12 and 22:39; and Ephesians 5:28). His words indicate that we must first listen to and have regard for our own needs, before we can invest in others. If you want to have a good relationship with the Lord, and with those who surround you, take time to take care of yourself.
Dr. Patrick Latham