In our culture we have a high value for independence, individualism, and being "self-made".
Yet we have this conflict in the Kingdom because we have a God who is found being totally dependant. In-fact, as Richard Rohr points out in his book "The Divine Dance", we find that God has a received identity. We have a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, none of whom would be who they are without the other. For the Father is only the Father because He has the Son. The Son is only the Son because He has the Father. The Spirit is equally dependant on Father and Son for Her identity also. For within each other they find their "who-ness," their being.
Therefore it can be said that our God, who is Three, is totally dependant on relationship. For this is where He is found. You cannot find Father expect through Son. You cannot know Son without connecting to Father. You cannot connect to either without Holy Spirit. It is amazing that we serve the "all-mighty" God who exists in continuous and complete vulnerability.
When we consider that reality is only truely discovered within the context of relationship we can begin to see the full and most pure outworking of the fruits of the Spirit. Without the context of relationship we begin to take the things of God "out-of-context," as they originated from and for the relationship God shares within Himself.
Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22) are all found in their most perfect form within the Trinity. Just as the person of God finds identity in this relationship, the relationship itself shares an identity of its own. These fruits are the very identity of the relationship that Father, Son, and Spirit share with each other.
What is amazing is that God is completely free which means He has to choose. It's an amazing thought that Father, Son, and Spirit are constantly choosing to be faithful... Not just to us but to each other. They are constantly making the choice to exercise love, to be gentle, to be good and to be kind to each other. God is also beautifully outworking self-control within Trinity.
This one fruit - self-control - absolutely blows my mind! It shows just how vulnerable God has chosen to live. For Trinity to work and for God to be the God we know and love, each Person of the Trinity has to willingly and constantly choose to exercise self-control. Self-control is NOT something anyone else can do for you... The moment they even try is the moment it distorts from self-control into just plain old control. Control opposes love, it opposes trust, and is opposite to the very nature of God. For God to be God, each Person of the Trinity is committing to controlling themselves into the values of the relationship. BUT they are also beautifully trusting each other to do the same. Trust is the currency of relationship. The deeper the trust, the deeper the relationship.
Control is only necessary when one is unwilling to extend trust. Control and trust cannot co-exist. For the existence of one is the absence of the other. Where control repels, breaks, and damages trust, self-control creates an environment where trust thrives abundantly. Within the Trinity we find the most pure form of trust. At no level of their relationship does control exist. Each person totally trusting, each Person refusing to control the other, each Person completely free, each Person finding them self within the connection they share with the Other. Each person finding their "who-ness" in the other.
May we learn to value vulnerability and divine dependance just as our God does. May we experience the joy of discovering ourselves within relationship. May we have the courage to chose self-control and extend trust so others have the opportunity to do the same!
How does this reality of Divine Dependence within God change and challenge you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.