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Gauging Relationships

Proverbs 18:24 MSG [24] Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [3] eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

What do you want your relationships to look like?  I have experienced unhealthy relationships and I do not care to revisit, so I am very choosy about the type of people I allow close access to my life.  Experiencing the bad really helps you to grow and helps you to know what to avoid (if you learn your lesson well enough).  If you find yourself still involving yourself with bad relationships and you vowed that you would never do it again, you should pray and really seek God about the condition of your heart.  Ask him for what is necessary for your healing, so that you can move forward and know what healthy looks like.  I know when I think of a good and healthy relationship I think of being like-minded (Proverbs 13:20-21 MSG [20] Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. [21] Disaster entraps sinners, but God-loyal people get a good life.  1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV [33] Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”). I also think of the words  respect, communication, honoring or validating someone’s feelings, quality time, selfless boundaries, not being jealous, loving someone where they are (emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.) and having the patience to help them through with love to the next level in life.

John 15:13 ESV [13] Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 17:17 MSG [17] Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

Matthew 7:12 MSG [12] “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

There are many types of relationships.  There are marriages, friendships, partnerships (i.e. business), etc.  These relationships need care and tending.  You cannot function in auto pilot, you have to engage with the people you are in relationship with and show them that you are available.  You know that a person is not truly engaged when you talk until you are blue in the face and they make no effort to change what you just spoke about.  Honoring each other’s feelings goes a long way.  It is natural to get upset but if you feel that you can’t control yourself, it’s best to leave the situation and come back to it, but before you do it communicate in a calm way that, that is what you are doing, don’t just walk away.  What I am writing is ideal and something many, many of us are not perfect at but we still should make every effort to go into everyday looking for God’s best in our own actions, what we say to others, how we view ourselves and respective relationships, etc.

In relationships, if you want the best possible there will sacrifice.  Examples of sacrifice are spending quality time and effective communication.  I say that these are examples of sacrifice because in order to do these things effectively you would need to sacrifice your time and efforts to perform them.  You may not naturally be a great communicator or you feel like love can be shown by just buying that person something, but that other person may not feel that way.  Since this other person that you are in relationship with needs those things and you deeply care, you will make the necessary sacrifices to meet them where they are and make them feel like you want to keep them in your life.  God is a great example for sacrifice and through communication with him we can further learn on an individual level how to get better.

When communicating with God He teaches us.  He is very good at communicating with us how we understand.  Me for example:  I am a quieter person (at times) and I process things differently than others because of course we are all unique.  The type of relationships we build with God mirror the relationships we have here on earth.  God speaks to me in a direct firm voice, but quiet and stern.  I get clear, step by step instructions because that is the way I think and pray.  Naturally I am a very black and white thinker, but I am also optimistic.  He helps me to be more flexible with those same step by step instructions.  I am genuine and I seek that, so small talk is not my thing.  God knows my ticks as well as He knows yours.  I think of James 4:8 because when we draw close to God, He will in turn draw close to us.  He desires a deep and intimate relationship with you; He’s not into the small talk.  He was willing to sacrifice His only son Jesus for us give us the opportunity to come back into relationship with him, would you make that sacrifice for someone?  Think about how much you love your children or family members.  God was willing to do that for us and that shows us how important our interpersonal relationships should be.  What is important to God should be important to us, since relationship is so important to Him, it should be important to us in our everyday lives.  Relationships are important to God and the way that he communicates with you and how you process it helps you to understand yourself and what you require on a deeper level.  When you pray and God talks back, really take it in.  Take in how He sounds, how He gives you instruction and in the manner He says it.  He knows you as an individual and what you will respond to, so take notice because He is showing you what is necessary in how to communicate effectively.  In God’s character I realize that He is slow to anger, there isn’t confusion, He is true love and He is structured.  Those are huge things that we should implement into our other relationships.

God’s relationship is the first relationship you should focus on.  Focusing on a relationship with Him first will order the rest.  If you want the very best to come out of your 2018 God should be your focus.  This year could set you up for even more greatness for the rest of your life, but make sure your relationships are in order and that God is the first priority.  God’s deepest desire is for a closer walk with you, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus if He didn’t care about you.  We have to make every effort to get closer to him through reading our Bibles and prayer.  Personally I can say that reading my Bible really helped me in learning more about His character and His voice, so if these are things you struggle with pray for understanding, then open your Bible and read, then pray for help in application of what you read.   Set a time in your day where you commit to sitting down, praying and reading your Bible, give God your sacrifice.

John 3:16-18 MSG [16-18] “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

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