I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Not just romantic ones, but friendships, family, roommates, and any other relationship that we may find ourselves in. “God is a relational God” was something I’ve heard growing up. I always understood it to mean that God wants a relationship with me. While that is true, I also believe that it means that God will use relationships to grow us in our journey.
I was talking with a friend yesterday about different types of relationships. Between the two of us, God, and my dad we discussed a lot of things and I feel like wisdom and understanding were flowing so I thought I’d share the conversation highlights/lessons learned here for all to benefit…
Friends with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4)
Situation: A friend of mine (who doesn’t believe in God) told me: “You know I completely support you becoming stronger in faith, but I honestly was just trying to have a good old-fashioned friendship conversation with some friend advice. You kind of caught me off guard to see that you think it’s a heart issue that I need to pray on. I love our friend conversations, but sometimes I rather you not always put religion in the mix of them. Like I said before I completely support your current path, and if that means we need to limit our conversations about things then I understand.
Lesson Learned: Something we WILL all have to deal with at some point is the fact that the closer you draw to God in your relationship with him, the more the divide is going to be felt by those who are not Christians…it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT because you still love people, but it’s part of the personal choice that God gives us to know him. The Bible says that we are a fragrance to those who love God but a stench to those who don’t. It is ultimately going to be their choice…but you have to remember that any rejection (no matter how much it hurts) is not of you, but of God…
God is our First Love (Revelation 2:4)
Situation: What are realistic expectations in romantic relationships? It’s really hard for me sometimes to know what is a realistic expectation for me to have of a person I’m dating vs what I should be expecting to get from God…I feel like there is overlap in some areas…but I don’t know what are things I should be bringing to my boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s attention to fulfill those desires vs God’s attention to fulfill those desires.
Lesson Learned: “Before marriage – you get it all from God and then it is shared with each other. After marriage – you get more of God through each other.” What I take that to mean, is that you need to get everything from God at this point. Instead of bringing those things to boyfriends/girlfriends to change, tell God about your frustrations, what you need, etc. and see how he fulfills it…he may move on your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s heart or he may meet that need in your relationship with him. As things progress it may shift some…it comes down to seeking God first in how to address the need. God may tell you to talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend about it. I think the idea is more that you look to God to guide, lead and develop the relationship instead of SOLELY looking to your boyfriend/girlfriend to fix those areas
God’s Strength is Made Perfect in Our Weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Situation: My past experiences; combined with what I witness in other Christian friend’s relationships is what I use to “benchmark” certain things. Plus, I am such a strong “feeler” that sometimes I think my emotions can get to the best of me. (The strong “feeler” part came out of a personality profile)
Lesson Learned: This is the one thing I DON”T like about those personality profiles…just because we are one way naturally doesn’t mean that God will always use our strengths to guide us…the Bible says that He is made perfect in our WEAKNESS, not our strengths…which is where a lot of people misjudge what God’s plans are because they don’t fit in with what we expect or with how we are…this is why it’s crucial that we learn to be led by the Spirit and walk with God daily…because as we do, His thoughts become our thoughts and His ways become our ways…it’s the only way we can truly live this life well. And we WILL make mistakes and screw things up…because we’re human…but in those times, God’s faithfulness and grace covers and he is able to step in and make things work together for our good…because we love Him and are called according to his purposes
God brings relationships of all kinds into our lives to teach us things and to grow us…we don’t have the same vantage point that God does though and by keeping God first, it allows Him to “use” people (in the good way) to fulfill those things…I think too, by always seeking God for the next step in how to address something, it protects our heart because it puts the responsibility on Him and not on us for how things go in our lives…as long as we are obedient, His grace, mercy, love, faithfulness, etc. will cover us and protect us in all things.