When our children get along and play well together, life is so much more enjoyable than when they are not getting along. Duh, right? Last Saturday, I walked outside and saw my wife and kids playing together in the snow, and my heart was made happy. They were having fun, and life was good.
Relationships matter, and when our relationships are good, life is good. Rarely can I think of exceptions, as there is perhaps no greater dictator of our contentment than the status of our relationships. When times are tough financially or politically or physically, those storms can be weathered when our relationships are healthy. On the flip side, though, even if everything else in our lives is great (health, job, weather, political climate, sports, etc.), we will find very little enjoyment in all that greatness if any of our most important relationships are broken.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Hebrews 13:1-19 on how “Jesus Calls for Better Relationships.” Genuine faith in Jesus Christ impacts our relationships in a way that should bless and encourage us and bless and encourage others. If we truly know and follow Jesus, our relationships should honor Him. The way we behave and relate to others is important, and the Bible is full of instructions emphasizing this.
Jesus declared, in fact, that the entire law of God is summed up by relationships – our love for God and our love for others (see Matthew 22:37-40).
How are your relationships? How is your faith impacting your relationships? Whether we recognize and admit it or not, faith impacts relationships for the better or for the worse.
WHAT WE NEED
As the author of Hebrews made clear, we need to “run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a). Prioritizing our relationship with Jesus will, in turn, improve our attitude and behavior toward others. Does that mean everyone will love and appreciate us? Of course not. What happens when we put Jesus first, though, is a resulting love and concern for others that only His Holy Spirit working in our hearts can generate.
Our relationships with others are better when our relationship with Jesus is sincere and faithful. Jesus calls for better relationships, and so when we know Him and strive to live and walk according to His Word, our relationships will reflect that.
Because we are all sinners, healthy relationships are not a given. Lasting, healthy relationships require hard work and commitment, and I believe there is no greater indication of the curse of sin in this world than broken relationships. First and foremost, of course, our relationship with God is broken until we trust in and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.
The curse of sin affects other relationships, too, though – all relationships. Thus, we need to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus and continuously ask for His help, that we will treat others the way we would like to be treated. We need to depend on Him to enable us to live according to His Word, which calls for better relationships.
What relationships in your life can be better? What can and will you do to fix them? Really, rather, will you ask the Lord for help and obey His Word in how you think, speak, and act? Let us do better by turning to Him first!