Formed by Love (metaphormed by love), by David Harwood

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

Inspired Metaphors

Over the last twenty years I’ve shared on metaphors that reveal our relationship to God. Here are fifteen: “children and priests and heirs and bride and brothers, and friends and joint-heirs and kingdom and subjects and regents and rulers and representatives and temple and body and co-workers and army … “

One underemphasized reality is that no one metaphor is sufficient to describe the totality of who we are to God.

His love is multifaceted. We were successfully created to experience the holy multifaceted love we attract.

Father values us as friends. We are sought after as a bride. He loves living within us as His body, or His temple. In the same way Jesus is loved so, also, are we and we are invested with the same ambassadorial authority because He loves us in the same way He loved the Messiah.

This is difficult to digest: we are friend-bride-body-temple-ambassador creations. All at once. All at the same time. Personally, I cannot take it all in, but I don’t have to because God does not emphasize every metaphor at the same time.

Fashioned by the Word

Here’s a way I’ve experienced the hand of God forming my life. At times it seems to me that the Lord highlights one particular metaphor’s relevance. By faith I determine to respond to whatever the Spirit of the Lord is apparently emphasizing in my life.

If, in good conscience, I believe the Messiah is stressing the metaphor of friendship, then I seek to see myself as His friend and interact with Him as a friend. If the Spirit seems to stress the relationship of “child to the Father” I adjust my heart to that emphasis.

I relate as a friend. I talk to Him as a friend talks to another. I walk with Him as a friend. I expect His friendship in my life. I trust Him as a I trust a good friend. In fact, I relate to Him as if He were my best friend. I meditate on friendship. I consider how it is recorded in the Scriptures He befriended others. I place myself in those sacred narratives. I sing about it, write songs about it, pray from that perspective.

The same is true in the Father-child relationship. In fact, at times I’ve seen the Lord underscore various stages of growth. Does He want me to rely upon Him as a child-apprentice who only does what he sees Father doing? Am I supposed to see myself as a toddler in whom my Father is delighting? Am I a child who needs help and see Him as the Father who is helping? What about mature children? Doesn’t a deeply appreciated adult child have a different relationship with his father then a beloved baby? As in human relationships, the foundation of paternal love remains the same but the relationship grows and the dynamics of familial interactions change.

His hand forms my personality and character as I respond to revelation.

Why not experiment? Ask the Lord for some direction, “How do You want me to relate to You at this time? What metaphor would you like me to live in? Please show me.” You may be surprised at how He answers.