Restoration Through Discipling-Friendship
The kingdom of God is about relationships. Man was designed by God to be loved and to love. The sad news is that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve’s relationships were shattered, both with God, and with one another. There were now barriers of shame, self-consciousness, and fear between individuals and between man and God.
The good news is that Jesus has reconciled man to God, so that he can once again have a loving relationship with God and with others. Jesus came to earth to demonstrate how men can lovingly relate to God and to one another, both through His sacrifice on the cross, and through the example of His 30 month relationship with His own disciples. The discipling relationship restores individuals to God’s design so that man can be in relationship with one another as the Lord intended.
Here is how a discipling-friendship works:
- God loved me first.
The reason I can love God and love others is because He first loved me. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). I am now able to love God and others out of the reservoir of infinite love poured into my life by God at the cross.Religion tries to manipulates men to love God, but the basis of the kingdom is that God loves us first and we are grateful responders to that love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
- Relational restoration takes place in the bond of a discipling-friendship.
A discipling-friendship relationship is vital component in the kingdom because it is means by which men learn how to love and to be loved. Jesus has given us the example of how to love by the laying down of His life for us. In the same way I am to love others by laying down my life for them. It is in a discipling-friendship that I experience being loved and then also having the opportunity to love another.