I want you to picture a cross. It's just two pieces of wood, right? One piece is vertical, one piece is horizontal. Seems simple. But think about the representation of those two pieces.
The vertical piece represents our relationship with God and the horizontal piece represents your earthly relationships. There is a necessary correlation between the two and why they are so important to connect. Our vertical relationship and horizontal relationships are meant to work hand in hand.
Your Vertical Relationship
Think about your relationship with God. No matter where you stand, everyone has a relationship with God. Where we are in that relationship is truly up to us. HE does not move. It is WE who grow nearer or further from Him.
Now, think of your relationship with God. The way you talk, pray, seek to know Him, and the way look to Him for guidance and steps of obedience. Those things are considered as your "vertical" relationship. We are to love God in all aspects of life because He is our Heavenly Father and knows us better than we know ourselves.
Mark 12:30 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
When your vertical relationship is not in place or is wavering, all of your earthly relationships, whether you know it or acknowledge it, are held up or let down by the condition of your vertical relationship with God.
No other symbol is like the cross. It's a simple symbol consisting of two pieces of wood, one vertical and the other horizontal—successfully branded as our eternal hope and everlasting life.
John 13:34-35 says "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."
Intertwining both relationships:
Imagine a cross suddenly without the vertical portion. What happens to the horizontal part of the cross? It falls to the ground. Now imagine the cross suddenly without the horizontal part of the cross? Then it is left as a vertical piece of wood aiming toward the sky.
The cross is both vertical and horizontal because we need both to live how God intended. Vertically, we have to have a connection and relationship with Christ. Horizontally, we are made to be in community with others and have relationships with one another. Without a relationship with God our earthly relationships will fail. Without our earthly friendships, we are missing out on a huge part of life that God intends for us to take part in.
Sometimes we life is going great and we are doing well in all our relationships, while sometimes we do both of them half-heartedly. But what we need to strive for, is to be at the center of the cross where we are committed to loving both.
We have to love vertically so that in turn, we can love horizontally and show Christ's love to those around us. Now, our love will not be near as strong as His because His love is unchanging and never failing. BUT we are called to love like Jesus and that is loving without boundaries. We are not called to be perfect, but to be set apart.
That universal symbol not only conveys a message of what is to come but also what life truly should display: a cross.
Jesus said, "Take up your cross every day, and follow me" (Luke (9:23).
So take up that cross of loving vertically and horizontally. Your relationship with God affects your relationships with the people around you. So just think: how can I better my relationship with God so that my earthly relationships can be more fruitful?
1 John 4:7-12, 19 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us…We love because he first loved us.