You were created for relationships. First, your relationship with God impacts everything else in your life. A relationship with God only comes through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, His own Son, on the cross. Committing your life to Jesus then calls you to live differently in your relationship with others. As Christ-followers, we are called to a life of love, grace, and forgiveness. Will you advance in your relationship with God and with others in 2022? Make a commitment today to grow in your relationship with God and with those around you.
Getting Right in our Relationships
Relationships. They're a big deal, right? Every one of us has relationships in our lives – with our family members, our significant other, our friends, our coworkers, and many more. Some are built-in, like our families or our coworkers. Others are some that we've chosen to build, like our friends or significant other. Whatever the relationship, though, we can all probably agree that they can be a lot of hard work.
God created us for relationships; ultimately, that's what our lives are all about. He created us to love Him first then others second. That means that our love for others should be kind, self-sacrificial, forgiving... a lot like Jesus' love for us. Relational health should matter to us because it matters to God. We're called to live a life of love that overflows into all of our interactions with others.
What the Bible Says in Ephesians 4 & 5
The Bible talks a lot about relationships - because relationships matter to God. He created them for us to enjoy and to glorify Him through, and He’s given us many different tools and wisdom to help us to handle conflict, love others well, and respect those with whom we’re in a relationship with. In Ephesians 4, we read, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Out of the overflow of our love for God and the impact that He’s had on our lives, we can, consequently, love others in the way that He loves us. We can be kind and compassionate. We can forgive each other. We can be gracious, caring, and Christ-like in our interactions, and, in turn, point others to the God who has shown us all these things and more.
As Christians, God has called us to be different in every single way, and that includes in our friendships. The world will show us relationships that are centered around what the other person can do for you. Rather than unconditional, they are dependent upon what that person is getting out of the relationship. If we are going to be a friend, a spouse, a coworker, a fill in the blank, then we are to show love in all circumstances and in all relationships. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us… (Ephesians 5:1-2) We can follow the example of our perfect Father who showed us what a friend really looks like.
Above all, however, our number one relationship must be our relationship with God. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). That means we love Him first, and we love Him wholly. As our Creator, this is how God designed it to be. He’s the King of our hearts, and He’s on the throne of our lives. When we keep Him as our priority, then our relationships with other people, as a result, become more positive and more healthy. Just as with anything, when we follow God’s design for relationships, our faith advances, and our witness of Christ to others advances, too.
Is Jesus on the Throne of your Life?
Have you made Jesus on the throne of your life? For some, that may sound like a foreign concept or something that you haven’t wrestled with before. For others, your inclination will be to answer, “Of course!” But, when you look a little deeper, you start to think about if He really is number one in your heart. This is crucial to our spiritual and relational health because we cannot have Christ-centered relationships that are designed how God created them to be until we put Jesus in the place that He belongs.
Once we have Jesus first in our hearts, then we can love others like He does. We can show compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience in our interactions with others. We can keep from allowing people or relationships to become idols in our lives. We can love others well, even those who can be difficult to love at times.
Jesus changes everything. And He wants to change our relationships. He longs for us to have healthy, God-glorifying relationships that challenge non-believers to wonder who our God is. Relationships are such a sweet gift from the Lord – that is, when we have healthy ones. So, it’s time for us to let Jesus take control of our hearts and our relationships. Don’t wait another day to let Him do that in your life.