Discovering God’s unconditional love, developing an intimate relationship with Him and being empowered by grace to compassionately love others represent the three elements that comprise relational spirituality, a concept that is vital for effective Christian leadership. Viewing life through an eternal lens is also an important ingredient for successful living and leadership. Furthermore, walking in the power of the Spirit is essential for spiritual growth as well as effectively leading others in their God-given destiny.
Relational spirituality is rooted in the biblical truth that God is a relational being and growing in an intimate relationship with Him, seeing ourselves as He sees us, and expressing our love for Him by loving others compassionately encompass the essence of this concept. Boa points out that a complete love for God opens the door to understand the biblical perspective of self-love, which in turn empowers the believer to become “others-centered.” Grasping the depth of all three elements that comprise the relational spirituality concept not only impacted my Christian leadership style but also changed my life forever. While growing up in a communist nation that always tried to infiltrate an atheistic agenda into the people’s minds, my family took me to church and instilled in me the religious values of Eastern Orthodoxy. I was instructed from a very young age how important good deeds are for God, and fearing the punishment of heaven caused me to always strive for good works and a display of perfect behavior. I was never aware that God loved me and my belief in Him was rooted in fear. This mindset progressively led me to later reject church and religion, and I embraced an atheistic perspective to life. Such decision brought freedom in my life, but in the same time confusion and lack of purpose. Not believing in God was liberating, because I did not have to obey any rules any more. But having no God emptied my life of any real purpose of existing and I was not finding peace in this conviction either. My soul was struggling for years to find answers to this dilemma, and one day I discovered God’s amazing grace and that saved my life. God, in His infinite love for me, sent a person my way to tell me how much He loves me and that His loyal love for me is “causeless, measureless, and ceaseless.” Nobody ever told me that God actually loves me and cares for me. When I chose Christ to be my Lord and Savior, I understood the profoundness of God’s unconditional love for me, and also for humanity. My response to His love was to give my life to Him completely, and to love Him completely. The truth that I “belong to Christ” and that nothing I do “can cause God to love [me] more, and nothing [I] I do can cause God to love [me] less” changed me from the inside out forever.
Boa, K. (2001). Conformed to His image: Biblical and practical approaches to spiritual formation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.