In general, relationships are hard. They take a heck of a lot more work than most of us are prepared to either acknowledge or put in. Especially if there is little visible pay-out for us in the end product. Humanity is a dichotomous beast in its core. I wrestle with this in myself a lot. How to be Christ-like when I can see my own motivations very clearly for what they are.
I come from a long line of managers. We manage many things, including ourselves, each other and the world around us. (Sorry guys, y’all know it’s true!)
It’s one step back from control, but it’s very firmly in the same family!! Thankfully, mostly we’re also pretty good at looking in the Mirror of Truth, dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun… and telling ourselves and each other the truth. We don’t always get the delivery right, mind you.
For a bunch of firm introverts, it’s kind of a loud, clannish, exuberance.
In order to work well with God, I needed to learn how to not manage all things. There’s this state of being one of my aunts calls the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ which is a fancy name for "workaholic being driven by church guilt over not doing enough in order to avoid being rejected". It implies our relationship with God, and therefore our eventual place in heaven, is dependent on our ability to get enough done in our lifetime. (Bunkum)
There’s a place for being in an appropriate management position in a relationship. Parents need to be in appropriate authority over their children, because they have a responsibility to them under God. If you are in an authority position in a work situation, you’d better fulfill it in an appropriate fashion or you’ll find yourself in an awkward situation come performance review – or before if you do a terrible job. There comes time to stop managing people too. Especially if it’s become habit, or if you’re determined to do it anyway.
Appropriate adult relationships are about degrees of intimacy. If we are being appropriate in our relationships, we will develop appropriately intimate friendships with others.
Gods’ greatest desire is that each person individually develops an intensely intimate relationship with Him.
The priesthood in the order of Melchizedek is all about this intimacy. The Levitical Priesthood is about lineage, about inheritance. You were born a Levitical Priest. It’s what your father, your fathers’ father, your fathers’ fathers’ father, your fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ father etc. did.
Jesus was born into the tribe of Benjamin. Not allowed to be a priest. No sir, not a chance in Jewish not-hell. Tradition tells us Joseph was a chippie, so that’s what he would train as unless the circumstances were really screwy.
Abram (as he was called at the time) was a guy who was used to the voice of God. He knew it. He knew what it sounded like, what God looked like in visions and dreams, and he obviously knew it well enough to trust God when He said “pick up stakes and move to a place I haven’t told you yet”. So when He met a random king in the wilderness named Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-24 NIV), it begs the question: what was it about that guy which made Abram, who knew God pretty well, give him 10% of everything he owned in acknowledgement of something invisible, intangible and unreported?
I posit it was because he had come across someone who in isolation knew God better than he ever would. Who had an intimacy with God which made him a Priest of the Most High God in a time when there were no priests of YWH. In the middle of nations worshipping baals and all kinds of other things, when Egypt was a major power, here in Salem was a single, random, practicing Priest of the Triune Creator of All Things.
This is what Jesus was. Born into the tribe of Benjamin, he would have been required to learn the Torah by the age of 13 and that would have been the end of his religious education. Anything from there on would have been self-motivated and limited by social constraints. However, by the age of 13, he was already having in depth, constructive religious discussion with men who were trained to do this, and had been trained on purpose for their entire lives because that’s what they were born to be. They didn’t just know the books of the law, but the rest of what we call the Old Testament, and other books we don’t know about as well. Also there would have been teachings from different opinions and reasonings – even as there are today, and the boy Jesus was holding his own in that arena. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a trained Jewish/Hebrew scholar begin to think out loud about scripture, or philosophy, but it can reduce even the best minds to brain farts. They’re that good.
For those of us who are graftees (Romans 11:11-24 NIV), our access is through the indwelling Christ – the indwelling Priest who is of the order of Melchizedek. If we are to hold our own in the arena of those who are named His People, or those who don’t know Him at all or those who follow completely different walks, we need to be as intimate with Our Lord and God as Enoch, as intimate as Jesus as a man, as intimate as Peter, as intimate as Adam and Eve before the fall. If people look at us, and hear what comes out of our mouths, do they say, “Man, you know God better than anyone I’ve ever met in my life, and I’ve met some Godly people.” Do our children grow up knowing God better than we know Him?
I think this is the real test of Revival, or better yet, Reformation. Do successive generations know God and practice their relationships with God better than each previous? Are signs and wonders increasing as daily practice? Is the land healing, the manifestation of the Character of God invading the judicial, political, entertainment and social practices of the areas in which we live?