Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘broken lives’

Going Along To Get Along Kills

Relationships continue to weigh on my heart.  The longing of God for each of us to connect to Him (and one another) with depth and honesty beats loudly in my mind.  The tendency of humanity is to settle for much less than God desires in our relationship with Him and with others.  Truly connected relationships are what our own hearts long for as well.  Contrary to the secular refrain, no one wants to be ‘tolerated.’  We want to be understood, valued and enjoyed.  So does God.

“Tolerance” is the cry of the world; “Treasured” is the cry written by God. 

Connected relationships are better described as partnerships chosen by those involved.  If there is no choice, their is no real relationship.  It is the explanation of that oft-asked question, “Why did God give free will if He knew sin would be the result?”  Without choice, we could not be in a real, connected relationship with God.   If our human relationships aren’t sweetened by choice–if we are dictators to others–we isolate ourselves.  If we simply go along to get what we want (or avoid conflict), everyone loses.  Choosing connected relationships brings richness to life!

Yet, all around us we see chaos and disconnection.  Homes are destroyed by divorce, churches split and our political system spews nastiness continually.  No one wants the reality we see, so how have we deteriorated to such a mess? I can answer with my own confession, and I think it speaks for the majority:

I often trade CONNECTION for whatever is easier.  You, see I like comfort; the easy road is typically my go-to choice.

Sometimes the easy road actually is a good choice, but  “Good is the enemy of best.” We fall to the temptation to ‘go along to get along.’ We sacrifice what we know is right because that is the expedient thing to do.  That is how Jesus was consigned to the Cross in 30 A.D.  We do the same when we trade God’s desires for the easy road.

Going through the motions may get the job done…but settling is always a travesty.

The work of relationships takes us out of our comfort zones and easy chairs.  Understanding the cast of characters that compel us to choose the easy route sheds light that helps us embrace the challenge.

  • Sometimes we are not clear on what is actually being asked by a relationship partner.  We must be willing to do the hard work to figure out what is needed.  Relationships are not about what we get out of them–or what we do for others.  However, when we love, we value others and are valued which means we do things for each other!
  • Other times we simply cannot do what is being asked and don’t clearly communicate our reluctance–or our needs.  Here we have two parallel paths to walk.  We need to work on our communication AND build up our strength.  If the ‘ask’ is reasonable and beneficial for both but we haven’t developed the skills–it is time to work on those skills!
  • Sometimes we simply are not willing to do what is needed.  This is particularly common as we age and grow weary.  A modicum of maturity restrains our reactions so our relationships appear okay–and sometimes we believe the lie ourselves. Dis-connected hearts, though, are a sham that will eventually implode!   Simply going through the motions (or doing what we’ve always done) does not satisfy our hearts or God’s.  Settling is the beginning of a dying relationship. Recognizing the danger and valuing what God values will blast this darkness away.

Healthy relationships matter!  Make a commitment to do the work of building unity.  Ephesians 4:1-3 offers great wisdom:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

We have an incredible calling.  We have an amazing God who shows us how to relate to others.  Christ who left the glories and comforts of heaven to redeem those who would reject Him is our Savior–and our example.  Living surrendered to Him will sweeten every relationship.  In fact, until we are solid in our connection with God, we will try to make other relationships do what only He can do.  He is our source.  Plug in and invite others to join!

For more practical tips, visit:  ABCs of Relationships.

 

 

Let’s Look Like Jesus: Tender Hearted

Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.   (2 Kings 22:19)

In the passage above, young King Josiah wept as he heard the Word of God read.  He wept for the failures of himself and his people to obey the LORD God.  That passion for obedience to God is founded upon confidence in His goodness–the ‘rightness’ of God’s commands.

Jesus’ words as translated in the New Living Translation convey the idea well:

“I know that His commands will bring eternal life…” (John 12:50).

Jesus came that those who believed on Him would have abundant, unending life.  Obedience to God and abundant living are integrally entwined!

Despite Jesus’ passion for obedience, He says He did not come to judge.  He did weep at the stubbornness and unbelief of those He came to save, though.  In Isaiah it was prophesied that the Messiah would be despised and rejected–yet would not open His mouth.

Jesus simply stayed focused on the Father’s will and completed His task–deliverance of all who would believe to abundant, eternal life!  King Josiah offers us a similar example:  he mourned his own failures as well as those of his people.  Then, he set out to obey all that was made known to him.  We will do well to imitate their examples.

There is much to mourn in this our world today:  false gods abound (wealth, prestige, pleasure); pagan religions are flourishing; immorality is glorified.  When we allow the Spirit to convict us of our own shortcomings, we will be awed by His mercy.  When we worship Him, the heartbreak of the damage of sin to the world around us will move us to tears.  Harsh judgment and criticism of others will not soften hearts to the mercy of God; however, confession of our own shortcomings, repentance and determined obedience will witness to God’s glory.  Weeping for the lives damaged and destroyed by sin prepares us to serve those who are held captive in darkness.  Sorrow for sin aligns our hearts with God’s own heart.

May our hearts be broken for the damage to lives darkened by sin;  may we be so awed by God’s glory that we will lift Jesus up for all to see!

What do you see in the world around you that makes you sad…makes your heart break?
 
What does God have to say about it? 
 
How can you help others to see God’s sorrow and His solution for the problem?

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)

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