By: Jim Kaseman
Christianity is not a religious exercise, but rather living, growing relationships amongst God and His people. And, according to John 15:4-5 our marriage relationships (between Jesus, His church (bride), husbands, wives, brothers, sisters) are to be fruitful relationships (I Corinthians 12:25-27 and Ephesians 5:21-13).
However, in spite of God’s desire for successful relationships, too many Christians are in a backslidden condition with God, as well as separated and divorced from one another.
But, the good news is that we can take positive, preventive steps to insure a successful, fruitful walk with God and between one another.
1. Commitment/Marriage is Forever
Faithfulness is very important in the development of healthy, Godly relationships. As one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) faithfulness includes words such as commitment, vows, pledges and loyalty and trust.
Being trustworthy, faithful, committed, keeping ones promises and vows is all part of the “glue” that binds people together with God and one another. It also plays a very vital part in our “maturing” or “growing up.” Without commitment people don’t grow up, they remain as children constantly being
tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (and feelings I may add!).
2. “Bumps” in Life
Maturity in relationships is a never ending process. It involves a lot of ups and downs or “bumps” (Mark 4:14-20). Everybody, both Christians and non-Christians are confronted with problems or challenges in life. It’s all part of life here on earth until Jesus comes back for His church. Success or failure in our relationships depends on how well we handle the problems that confront us.
3. Don’t Blame God or Others
We need to examine our own hearts when things go wrong instead of habitually blaming God, others or circumstances. Because, many times (although not always) the “blame” lies with us (II Cor. 13:5).
However, to admit that the “blame” lies with us will take a teachable, noble, good and “honest heart” (Luke 8:15).
As long as we keep lying or deceiving ourselves and others, only “death” will be ministered to our relationships with God and others. It’s time to come clean and be totally honest with ourselves and others in all of our relationships. Then and only then will the life giving power of God be able to flow freely and bring healing and restoration! (James 1:22)
4. Spend Time Together
Jesus said that we were to abide in Him and He in us (John l5:l-4).”Abide” means to reside or live with.
Studies have shown a high correlation between time spent together sharing activities and common interests and lasting marriages and relationships.
In another study it was determined that it takes a man and woman 15 hours alone together to fall in love and after marriage 15 hours alone together to remain in love.
People have said for years, if you want a close walk with God you must spend time “alone with Him”. Likewise for human relationships to develop properly we must spend time alone with one another (husbands and wives, children and parents, etc.). Now, let’s stop talking and do it!
5. Communion/ Communication
Faith or trust in God comes by hearing His Word (Him) and faith or trust in one another comes by hearing one another speak to each other (Romans 10:17). That’s how God established for relationships to grow and develop.
Mind reading doesn’t work. It’s not monologue but dialogue!
Communion means sharing ones inner most thoughts and emotions. Communicating means talking and listening every day about everything. Your joys, sorrows, accomplishments and concerns. For example, sex and money are two of the biggest causes of divorce. It’s time for husband and wife to communicate clearly with one another concerning these issues and slam the door in the devil’s face and enjoy marriage and life!
6. Put Each Other First
Put God first and people second. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your wife as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40 and Ephesians 5:28).
Happy couples are each other’s best friends, always there for each other, to be counted on no matter what!
Jesus as our bridegroom is always there for us! Are we always there for Him? (Hebrews 13:5)
Are we as husbands and wives always there for each other? Would you change your plans and schedules for one another to be at each other’s side in need?
7. We Are Partners
We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). As Eve came out of Adam’s side, we, the church (Bride of Christ) have come out of Jesus’ side. As Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross, the Roman soldier pierced His side and the Blood of Jesus flowed paying the price for the Redemption of His
bride the church.
God is sovereign. And in His Sovereignty He (Jesus) made Himself head of his church (Body or Bride). The head can’t do anything without the body and the body can’t do anything without the head. We are partners together with Jesus and with one another.
A husband can’t reach his full potential without his wife and neither can the wife reach her full potential without her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-24 and Mark 16:20)
8. Love Must Be Nurtured
In healthy relationships, each one tries to please the other, whether it be in lovemaking (for married couples) or in carrying out daily routines. Little things mean a lot and we all have many opportunities to do things for each other spontaneously and thoughtfully. Such as complimenting one another, thanking each other, and remembering special occasions as we express our love towards God and one another. (Ephesians 5:33, John l0:l5, John 1:1-4, Matthew 25:35-40)
Healthy relationships are built on prayer and actions! Love is expressed not only in word but also with corresponding actions whether it be with God or one another (James 2:26b).
9. Be willing to Compromise
Nobody is perfect besides Jesus here on this earth. There is no such thing as a perfect husband, wife, church, pastor, boss, job, school, friend, etc. For healthy relationships each side must be willing to give and take. Be willing to compromise or meet in the middle somewhere. If just one side gets their way…both have lost!
In the long run, things usually even out if we’re willing to give a little in order to find a solution that works. This will prevent a lot of resentments and unforgiveness to get in between the relationship.
We work together as partners not lording over one another, respecting each other’s position in the body of Christ (I John 4:19, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 4:32b).
10. Walk in Forgiveness
In any human endeavor, no one is perfect! Therefore, in order for relationships to endure and be healthy we must ask for and give forgiveness. We must let go of past hurts, injuries real or perceived!
Ernest Hemingway, in his short story, “The Capitol of the World,” tells the story about a father and his teenage son who lived in Spain. Their relationship became strained, eventually shattered, and the son ran away from home. The father began a long journey in search of the lost and rebellious son, finally putting an ad in the Madrid newspaper as a last resort. His son’s name was Paco, a very common name in Spain. The ad simply read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the Madrid newspaper office tomorrow
at noon. All is forgiven. I love you.” As Hemingway writes, the next day at noon in front of the newspaper office there were “800 Pacos all seeking forgiveness!”
Unfortunately, there are too many people hurting in the Body of Christ. It’s time to let God’s healing power flow in the relationships in the Body of Christ. Healthy relationships don’t keep score and don’t hold grudges but walk in love and forgiveness.
11. Have Common Goals
When people work towards common goals (vision) together, it cements their sense of commitment to one another and a life together that goes beyond the next day, whether it be between people and God or amongst themselves.
The scriptures tell us that without a vision my people perish (Proverbs 29:18). That when any two are in agreement whatever they shall ask shall be done (Matthew 18:18-20). And how can two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3) It’s very important to flow together in harmony with common goals and purposes.
l2. Seek Help From Elders/Experts
We’re to submit to one another in the Lord and help one another as individual members in the body of Christ. We need and can help one another.
In Acts 15:6, “So the Apostles and Elders came together to consider thismatter.” There is safety in the counsel of many (Proverbs 11:14).
Have problems in your marriage? Why not call on experts for help? “But Jim, you don’t understand, I can’t afford $90.00 an hour for marriage counseling.” Well, can you afford divorce, alimony payments, losing your family and all that you have? Don’t let pride keep you from seeking help, whether it concern spiritual, financial, physical, relationship problems or whatever it might be.
No matter what the price, it’s worth paying in order to have healthy, Godly relationships with God and with one another.
Conclusion: Life is a challenge. Problems will confront us. However, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
And above all, don’t lose the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Learn to laugh in the midst of hardships.
We couldn’t be living in a more exciting time here on earth. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and enjoy our walk with Him and one another here on earth, as we continue to look forward to His soon return! Glory to God!
(The above material was published by Jim Kaseman Ministries.)
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