In his book With, Skye Jethani does a masterful job of describing the various paradigms which can determine the nature of our relationship with God. After describing the four major ones employed by Christians (life over God, life under God, life from God, and life for God) – as well as their faults and fallacies – Jethani goes on to suggest an alternative that better describes the Father’s heart: life with God.

It is true that Jesus is Lord, and we are responsible to obey him. And there are plenty of exhortations to live for his glory.

It is also true that God has given us principles and promises that help us navigate life in a holy way, as well as invitations to ask what we will so the Father can answer.

But one of the truest things about the Trinity (if one can say such a thing) is that they are relational. God has defined himself as love, and love is a relational concept. Our Shepherd wants to do life and ministry with us.

Our role as under-shepherds is neither passive (with Jesus calling all the shots and doing all the work) nor coercive (with us telling Jesus what he should be doing, and us trying to get him to do it). It is a partnership, a relationship that requires both of our involvements.