So yesterday I said we all stand at the mysterious edges of something called the Divine Frontier: the endless exploration of God himself, and our relationship with him. Let me explain further. This blew my mind when I first realized it.

We often talk about having “a personal relationship” with God. Some have pointed out that this phrase doesn’t make an appearance in scripture. And they’re right — we don’t have a personal relationship with God.

We have hundreds of them, mostly untapped and unexplored.

Think about it. A relationship is “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected…the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.” That’s right from the dictionary.

There are cause & effect relationships, like between smoking and cancer. There’s a relationship between mass and potential momentum. There’s a relationship between a daddy and a daughter, a husband and a wife, a coach and a football player. There’s even a relationship between an atheist and God. Right? Now notice this: Every relationship is different, is configured differently, has different rules and expectations, meets different needs, if at all. There’s a different bond between the husband and his wife than between he and his daughter. And even that relationship changes while he coaches her soccer team. Seriously. Think about this, it’s important.

You don’t just have one personal relationship with God. You’ve got more than you can count: Creator-creation, God-worshipper, Father-child, Shepherd-sheep, Savior-sinner, Lord-servant, Master-disciple, Potter-clay, Provider-needer… Vine-branches, Healer-sick, I could go on for pages and pages.

The Divine Frontier is an awareness of that truth, coupled with the realization that each one of those relationships is a different kind of connection, holds a different configuration, a different regard for each other, and requires a slightly different behavior to enjoy. Huh?

Yup. You can’t enjoy the Coach-player relationship unless you sign up for the soccer team and show up to practices and play by the rules. And you can’t truly benefit from the Vine-branches relationship unless you meditate on that reality and study John 15, which clearly teaches you how that particular relationship works. That’s why it’s there in the Bible. Why else?

And there are hundreds of those relationships unpacked in the Bible. True, it’s all just God and me, but that’s too vague, to unapproachable, too ethereal. So God created these other relationships as handles we could use to understand him… and us… and how that fits together. And as I said, that will take all of eternity to unpack.

See, God is not a one dimensional being. Or two, or three. He’s not just a “Savior-Miracle-working-Healer,” like Pentecostals focus on. Or a “Theology-teaching-Sage” like some conservative schools teach. Picking two or three of our favorites paints a caricature of God. Relating to the caricature over the long haul can be devastating, not just because he’s so much more, but also because reducing him to something so small and manageable sets us up for disappointment when he acts outside our little box.

The Divine Frontier. The final frontier. Go for it!