Relationships: What We Were Created For
The answer lies in a personal relationship to Jesus Christ…We can ever remain powerless, as were the disciples, by trying to do God’s work not in concentration on His power, but by ideas drawn from our own temperament. We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him… This is your line of service — to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there?Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Disguising Godly Relationships
Several years ago, I was asked to speak for the final three weeks of a four-week series at a large men’s gathering. The general topic was “Men, Lust/Porn and Relationships.” Craig Gross of XXX Church kicked off the first week. Usual attendance at this weekly gathering ran about 250-300. During this series there were 450-500 men each week.
After teaching my first week on pursuing a loving relationship with God (which is where all discipleship and relationships must begin), I followed up the next week with how to build a Godly, fulfilling marriage and family. I was challenging the men to be sure they were prioritizing their lives, marriage, spouse and family according to God’s covenant order (the scope of my soon to be available book in eBook and Kindle versions).
In the middle of sharing, The Spirit laid a question on my heart about an upcoming Promise Keepers (PK) conference that was just three weeks away: “How many of you are planning to attend the PK Conference in a couple of weekends?”
Let me just say, I’m a big PK fan, as were many in the group. Nearly two-thirds of the 450+ in attendance excitedly raised their hands showing their commitment to be Godly men. The Spirit immediately prompted me to ask a follow up question. My initial thought was, “REALLY? You want me to ask that?” Yet I knew why He was prompting me to do so. “OK,” I silently agreed and took a deep breath (the follow up question and responses included in a future post)…
The Currency of Christ’s Kingdom: Loving Relationships
One of the more poignant questions we need to ask is “How are we doing when it comes to building loving relationships as His disciples—first with The Lord Himself, then in our homes and families, and then in His Church?” We will follow this up in future posts with an even more potent question.
Unfortunately, you’ll find the circumstances in the rest of the true story above (future post) all too prevalent in our culture and churches today. And while this story was focused on men, it applies to women as well.
As you contemplate the story, let me simply say: If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, then help those whom it does fit. That is discipleship!
The currency of the culture is obviously money, but money is only a means to an end. It allows us to obtain, afford, or satisfy ourselves with fame, stuff, security and/or pleasure—or avoid those things that don’t offer these and can cause pain or loss. The latter elements (fame, stuff, security, pleasure) serve as the real “currency” of the world and they are always at the expense of our relationship with others.
The currency of Christ’s Kingdom is loving relationships and they are nearly always built at the expense of the stuff of this world! What are you investing in…people and relationships or pleasure, success and stuff?
Our discipleship response to Christ must be lived out in relationship, and not just in relationship to Him as Lord. It is to be lived out in such a way that being His disciple is to impact and influence every other person and relationship in our lives.
However, God’s Word is also very clear (Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Jeremiah 20:12-13; Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31) that His covenant order has a distinct priority in how we are to live in relationship with Him and with others for the greatest impact when it comes to His Kingdom currency—loving relationships.
Unfortunately, the enemy knows all to well the contrast of these two currencies. Throughout time and history—but never as prevalent as in our day and time—his greatest weapon against, and destroyer of, loving relationships is “porneia” (Greek word from where we get “pornography,” rooted in our selfish lustful desires and the cheap satisfaction thereof, particularly with regard to sex).
I once heard that Hugh Hefner said, “The reason I’ve been so successful in this business (porn) is because the Church has done such a horrible job with sexuality!” I’ve searched to no avail to find out if he actually said it. Whether he did or not, the statement is accurate and this must change.
It’s not enough for the church to simply speak for marriage, purity, and moral relationships based on God’s Word. We must hold Christ followers accountable to this as a priority if we are to see loving relationships across the board. We also must be willing to boldly speak and stand against relational and sexual immorality in all forms and be able to do so with grace, gentleness, and respect. Only then will we see loving relationships, healthy marriages and families, and strong churches.
Much more on this to come in future posts, podcasts and videos.
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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – How can our obedience to the greatest commands from Christ help us build His Kingdom? How might it help us, as His disciples and His Church, overcome the injustice and oppression in our culture?
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – 1) Spend time every day (begin with just 5 – 10 minutes) with The Lord and in His Word to know, worship and love Him. 2) Ask Him to show you who you are as a new creation in Christ and learn to be humble, content and able to love who He has recreated you to be. 3) Build or rebuild your relationships in humility based on Christ’s example. 4) Look for people who are hurting, oppressed or rejected and be intentional about building relationships with them just as Christ our Lord did.