Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cultivating God-honoring Relationships ~ by Isabella

Why maintaining Christ-focused relationships is so important...

John 13:34-35 says that others will know we're Christians by our love.  Others are watching us, and the way we interact with our parents, siblings, friends, and others, speaks so much louder than we think.

We, dear sisters, were created to bring God glory (Isaiah 43:1-3 &7).  We were created for Him!  We must find our all in all in Him (Psalm 107:9), first, and have a close relationship with Him, before we can have good relationships with others.

We as Christians are called to be set-apart...others should see a difference in our lives.  Having Christ-focused, Christ-honoring relationships – basically, how we interact with others - is one of the biggest things that sets us apart and points others to Christ.

The Lord's Work in my heart...

Quite a few years back, I was really having a hard time in the area of relationships... In fact, if you were to have asked me if I had any friends, I would have said “no” at one point.  I struggled a lot with fear of man, and it really effected my interactions and ultimately my relationship with others, more than I would have thought it would.  Though this time of "pulling back" so to speak, was really hard, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Through this time, Jesus drew me so much closer to Himself and truly became my best friend, and then I started getting really close with my family. I realized how selfish being worried about what others think of me really was.  So, I started looking around looking for ways to reach out, and be more worried about blessing others.  Now if you were to ask me that question, my answer would be quite different.  The Lord has really worked in my heart in the area of having good relationships with others and keeping Him the focus of it, rather than others or me.  

Where to start...and the results of letting Jesus be the focus...

The ultimate goal of any relationship should be to point others to be a "giver" rather than a "taker". (Jn. 15:13)  It's amazing how blessed we are when we truly try to apply this.  It’s like Acts 20:35 says, “…it is more blessed to give than to receive.”  It's so, so true.  I have been so incredibly blessed when I've tried to point others to Jesus and let Him be the focus – and also, looking for ways to bless others rather than seeing what I can get out of it.  Something that's really helped me in the area of having good Christ-centered relationships is, to "Mirror Jesus".  I'll ask myself: “What would Jesus, do, say etc. in this situation?”  He is our ultimate example.  It's really up to us weather or not we will receive His grace and have Christ-glorifying relationships with those around us.  :)

Friends...are such a sweet gift God's given us. One thing to remember as we pursue relationships is...though we should be friendly and Christ-like to everyone, we need to be careful who our best friends are.  Because who we spend time with, we'll become like. (Prov. 12:20) I've seen when I let Jesus be the center of a friendship, as 1 Cor. 3:11 says, that I am so richly blessed, right along with them.  And ultimately God is glorified! 

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