Bible passages to know: Psalm 23:6; Romans 12:9-10; Ephesians 5:15-21; Colossians 1:9-14
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10
Life is all about relationships, to the people around us, family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, career, to those we will meet, and of course to Christ as Lord. From the time of our birth, we are in them deep, totally dependent on our Mother unable to do anything, let alone feed ourselves or wipe our rear without an interpersonal relationship. Our need for relationships will span all of our lives and then into eternity with our Lord God. So, we should do all we can, to make them happen well to our best ability.
The problem is, most of us are not very good at them. We have been hurt, so we hurt others. We then become fearful, so we push people away. We can be too needy or not discerning and take on the wrong people who hurt us. And so forth. Nevertheless, God desires us to have fantastic, fulfilling relationships, ones that benefit one another filled with love and joy. Though, in our brokenness, we will either to embrace others with eagerness, or become fearful and alone. One path may make us content; the other, bitter. These trepidations are a natural defense mechanism warning us away from dangerous situations. But, we get stuck in them. Added to that, is our personality and uniqueness. Further on, is our background and fears are all the various attitudes of our culture and the desires of our will, all diverging and converging with one another, causing chaos and conflicts. Meanwhile, Christ is seeking us, beckoning us to follow Him onto a path of solid, lasting relationships. Where there is love and Fruit so we can develop close friendships, understand and give real authentic love. In so doing, build great friendships that last, find the right spouse, and even develop a healthy marriage, family, and legacy.
Consequently, relationships are very important. Yet, there are other activities and goals that preoccupy us in life, such as our careers, cars, hobbies, education, money, pets, and having fun. And there is the artificial relationship building of social media. Consider this thought: when you are at the end of your sojourn on this earth, what will you have received from it? What will you take with you? Will it be that successful career? What about that hobby that took all of your time? Would it be the wealth that you accumulated? I am not saying these things are not important to pursue; rather, they are just a few of the various means to do what really is important, and that is, building relationships! The reason for, and meaning of life is, and God’s Will is, relationships—with God and then with each other!
Therefore, we need to reformat the hard drive of our mind and will, by seeking what Christ has for us, and less focus on our hurts and fears. More on Him, less of me. And we do this in prayer and being in His most precious Word. Then, we will have the right way to proceed into developing our friendships and significant others. So, we can be prepared to come through life, not only with the right decisions, but with the tools, character, listening skills, and ability to make godly, Christ-centered relationships work, filled with God’s blessings and purpose! Even if you have done it all wrong, so to speak, God can, and will turn it around when your attention becomes focused upon Christ, His precepts, from His Word (John 3:30; Eph. 1:8; 4:13; 5:1; Col. 3:2).
I urge you to seek God’s Will by recognizing God’s love for you first. That you are special and deeply loved by Christ, He lived and died for you. In that way, you will be able to apply Biblical principles to help you with a proper perspective, we are to have is a desire for what God wants, not just what we want. Our focus is to be with Him, because He has the best plan for us! Our plans will only lead us to make the wrong decisions and miss out on the best opportunities and situations He has for us (Prov. 8:17; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:1).
Additionally, if you are married, you can use the principles of His Word to spruce up your marriage with a romantic makeover through self-discovery and character with love and respect in action. You can take a look at what you may have done wrong, and then correct it by removing your false thinking and bad behaviors (1 Cor. 7:1-11; 39-40).
The goal—from finding friendships to finding and keeping the “love of your life”—is to live in undivided surrender and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Lord, meaning that He is in charge of all areas of our lives. He is our first and primary love! That means your life must reflect the supremacy and glory of God, and serve as an example in a world of temptation and evil. Since He represented us in life and death, and imparts to us His grace, this is our driving force, our number one reason in life and in eternity to come. Because of what He has done for us, we should have the desire to assemble our lives to glorify Him. That means to also strive toward our best in the fullness of relationships. We have to be willing to take this to heart: His Will supersedes ours; His Way is the best, whereas our will and desires are limited in our understanding and knowledge. By surrendering our Will to His Will, we can build a foundation of trust, reliance, and obedience. These actions become the foundation upon which to build the rest of the house of character, values, and fortitude, of all of who we are to be, and where a Christ-centered relationship can live and grow (Phil. 3:1-14).
You will then be able to make healthy and wise decisions because of the Lord, through His Word and the Holy Spirit, is your Guide. As opposed to what the media, friends, your passions, emotions, and a smartphone may dictate. Because you are seeking His truth, you will be able to discern how to go about your life, your direction and plan, even who is right for you. Following these timeless Biblical precepts will help you make the right decisions, and avoid making the wrong ones. If for some reason, you decide God’s ways are not for you, be forewarned; as you lose yourself into the jungle realm of wrong decisions, you may never receive what He has and what is best for you. Thus, you may face the unpleasant prospect of venturing into a life of misery and strife. So, why do that?
If you are thinking, wait, I might get hurt, or, I have been rejected after I spent so much of my time and energy on, or I am not good at making friends, and so on. Well, take to heart this valuable point; you did not waste your time. And yes, we will be hurt, because we live in a sin-filled world. So, instead of repeating our previous patterns, or turning into an old grump, or throwing the proverbial pity-party, we can move forward. Receiving God’s healing, getting professional help if needed. Giving love and time to others, even when we do not get anything back or even if we get hate thrown back at us, is never a waste of time. Emulating and fostering real love is never a waste, because we follow Christ and His example! Love is not about our conditions or sensations; it is about Christ working in us. Remember, God has born your hurt, too! And your witness is at hand, seen by people you may never know about!
Take heed of this: When actual love is well practiced, our relationships are certain to succeed. When we practice real authentic love, we are both trusting and obeying our Lord, doing His prime will. God’s love must be our model for life!
So, how do I do this?
Brace yourselves, it is not hard! It is about, get in, then trust and obey. Get in His Word, know what it says, and apply it. It is that simple. To really work this: Do not merely get into God’s Word, allow His Word to get into you! Carefully read, know and seek to memorize these passages. Write them down on cards and keep them with you. Read them into your voice recorder and play over and over. Do this one passage at a time. This will be your template to reset your relational operating system:
Bible passages on building healthy relationships: Psalm 23:6; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 4:2-3; 5:15-21; Colossians 1:9-14; 3:12-14; 1 Peter 3:8; 5:6-7; 1 John 4:7-11
The first thing we must see is that God does care, and has a plan for you, even when you cannot see it. So, be willing to learn and develop your Fruit and character. Study the Word, seek wisdom, be prudent, and lean on the strength of the Lord! These things do not come to you by chance; they come from knowing and following Christ (Philp. 3:10-14)!
So, be challenged to search the Scriptures and see what Christ has for you. First look up the passages above. The focus is on timeless values that last, and that work. Remember this: without the right attitude and perspective on life, without glorifying God and following His Will to unfold in and through you, you will not find or build real, quality relationships in your life! You will only find misery and loneliness that leads to anger and bitterness. You will be taking a big gamble on what is priceless and precious.
For deeper insights and self-study, after you look up these passages and thoroughly digest them, ask yourself or in a small group: 1. What does this mean? 2. How can I be changed because of these precepts? And… then do it! 3. How will these precepts affect and effect my life? 4. What gets in the way of His Way? The Bible holds the truth for life today, including how and with whom you should be building a life with.
Questions to ponder:
- Read Galatians 5:16-26; notice there are two sets of Fruits. How has the first set, the rotten ones, affected your life? How has the second set, the ones from the Holy Spirit, affected you and others around you?
- Carefully read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Then, read it and replace the word “love” and “it’ with your name. How did it make you feel? Motivate you? To convict you? What would this mean to your close significant others if you did this more and better?
- What are some ways you can take the precepts from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-23 to “affect” (impact) you to become a greater “effect” (result) to you and those around you?
- Keep reading the above passages, asking our Lord, what do I need to learn and apply from this?
May the Lord richly bless and keep you in His loving arms, and bless you in your relationship to God and others!
© 2004, 2017, Rev. R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Discipleship Tools, http://www.intothyword.org, http://www.churchleadership.org, http://www.discipleshiptools.org, http://www.heartafterchrist.org