Strengthening Our Relationship With God
We have many relationships in our lives, but there is one that is the greatest, and most important of all: Our relationship with God. Stephanie Nickel explains how our relationship with Him, influences and strengthens our relationship with others.
Our Many Relationships
Over the last four days, we have talked about relationships with siblings, friends, those in authority, and even our enemies. Last week we discussed honouring our parents. I chose this order because this is the typical order in which children interact with others: first with their parents, then with their siblings, etc. Today I want to talk about the most important relationship of all, our relationship with God.
Our Relationship With God
Our right relationship with the Lord begins when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 says,
“To all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Some people believe this is where their relationship with God begins and ends, but it is actually just the beginning.
When we become followers of Jesus Christ, God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within us. His Spirit motivates and enables us to obey the commands and directives in His Word.
Our Relationship With God Strengthens Our Other Relationships
We are able to honour our parents—even when they are less than perfect.
We are able to learn from the good and the bad examples in the Scriptures of how we should interact with our siblings—and others. We discussed God’s plan for Joseph’s life and his unwise decision to flaunt the dreams he had.
When it comes to friendship, we discussed John 15:13, which says,
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Only by God’s grace can we put others first. We must learn from Jesus’ example:
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,” as it says in Philippians 2:4-7.
We may not be called to physically lay down our lives, but there are many ways we can do so figuratively on a day-to-day basis.
God raises up authorities, from parents to church and world leaders. They don’t always make God-honouring decisions, but we can learn from the Scriptures how the Lord wants us to interact with these men and women. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can humble ourselves in the way that God desires.
God’s Strength Helps Us Love Others
Having right relationships with any of these individuals is difficult at times. We are all sinners and prone to selfishness. When two or more such people are interacting with one another, it can lead to anything from minor disagreements to out and out hostility.
But as it says in 2 Peter 1:3,
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” We can walk in obedience—even when it’s difficult.
Even if we can see the benefit in learning to live peacefully with family, friends, and authorities, no one but God Himself can equip us to love and pray for our enemies. We bristle at the very thought of doing so.
A while back I referred to our tendency to approach the Lord’s directives with a “yes, but” attitude.
“Yes, God wants me to love my enemies, but He can’t possibly mean the people who are making my life unbearable.”
“Yes, I know He wants me to pray for them, but the only prayers I can formulate are that God would get them back for what they’ve done to me.”
I could give you lots of others examples, but you get the idea. And we definitely need God’s strength and power to truly love anyone, especially our enemies.
How Do We Strengthen Our Relationship With God?
So, if our relationship with the Lord is the most important relationship of all, how do we strengthen it?
As I said, first we must accept the fact that we are sinners and that Jesus paid the price for our sin and that He rose victorious over sin and death. We must surrender our life to Him and ask Him to be our Saviour.
We must dig into God’s Word and study it regularly. (This is important even before we surrender our lives to the Lord. It is in the pages of the Bible that we get to know God, His plans, and His purposes.)
We must “pray without ceasing,” as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
We must fellowship with other believers and mature in Christ together.
We must reach out to others in love. After all, to love God and to love others are the two greatest commandments.
As parents, we must do these things individually, as a couple, and as a family whenever possible.
As is the case with any relationship, our relationship with God grows stronger when we spend time with Him. Reading His Word, praying, and fellowshipping are three ways we can do so.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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