Our Vertical and Horizontal God

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.”

– 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Theism means that a person believes in a God who is experienced individually and personally. This is true for us as Christians; however, the beauty of life in the Kingdom is that we also participate in the reality of Jesus through other people. We relate to Him vertically but we also relate horizontally — we triangulate in such a manner that we learn about who He is in community.

For example, in Christian marriage counseling, it is taught that as a husband and wife move toward God, they also move closer to each other. However, it is an often overlooked fact that the opposite is also true. As two human beings run the race of life together on a tight track and bond with each other, their potential to relate to their Heavenly Father also increases exponentially. In other words, individuals connecting deeply as friends can experience God’s love through the other person and then draw nearer to Him vertically as a result.

Yes, we experience God in solitude and silence during our private prayer times, but we also learn about Him from our spouse, children, best friends, next door neighbors and even through the process of reconciling with and loving our enemies. This is the incredible thing about life in the Kingdom of Heaven; since Jesus lives in us, we encounter His presence in a triangle, through both vertical and horizontal relationship. Isn’t that a cool thought?


God, thank you for revealing yourself to me both vertically and horizontally. I ask that you would strengthen the relationships in my life that have the potential to teach me more about who you are.


Which horizontal relationships in your life have the greatest vertical impact (i.e. teach you the most about God)?

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One Response

  1. I am not sure how to describe the relationship that tells me about my God. I often experience rejections or being taken for granted. When i ask why they just tell me you are so good. In any relationship, it never tells me a good thing but hurts and pain. I realise the safest relationship is only the relationship with God. My experience with friends who leave me for other friends who have in their life its because I don’t have really in life. I just realise that when they know that your family is not known they just turn their back. Reading this makes me doubts how is my relationship with God if my relationship with people seems not that good. With family yes i would say and i thank God for it. With the old ones yes better than those in my age level. How can i say i have a good relationship with both God and his people

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