Relate or Influence

” For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John3:11 ESV

love lead

What do you seek from your relationships? Friendship? Love? Intimacy? Or do you simply use people for your personal agenda?

The older I become the more thankful I am for the friends and family in my world. What I realize now more than ever is that I didn’t go about asking them to change for me nor I for them. Instead, we accept each other as who we are and learn to appreciate each other as God created and gifted us. Whereas in the workplace in those early years, I made the immature mistake of wanting to change others. The focus was on influencing them by whatever means at my disposal. My goal wasn’t to build a mutual, beneficial, unconditional relationship, but to accomplish my agenda for the day.

Isn’t that how many of us relate with others? We either accept them for who they are or we try to influence them to change. That includes our children, parents, siblings, and yes our mates.

The other day I overheard a young woman who was recently married state that she loves her husband but there are a few things she is going to have to change about him if they are going to have a successful marriage. It brought back memories of my early married days when there were certain habits that my wife had (and still has) that I was going to change. Likewise, she would admit that there were many habits that I had (and still have) that she was going to change. Thankfully, we learned early enough that one can’t successfully change the other person from the outside-in. Instead we focused on building up the relationship rather than persuade the other person to our point of view.

Think about your relationships. Is the goal to mutually enjoy the love, friendship and maybe even the intimacy of marriage? Or is the goal to influence the other person to change for your sake?

I am always amazed at how Jesus related with other people. Have you ever noticed that His tenancy was to first relate with people by actually taking the time to love them and respect them for who they were? When verbally attacked, he would defend himself with the appropriate answer. The only time he emotionally exploded was in the temple with the money changers and again with the self-righteous religious leaders who constantly tried to trap him (even then it could be debated that he was practicing tough love techniques). Otherwise, he spent his time solving people’s problems. He healed them. He ate with them. He partied with them. And as a rabbi, he taught them.

His primary focus was to first love the people wherever he went. His influence came later through the people who he invested time with during his 3 1/2 year ministry. His influence was a byproduct of his relationship. He loved first; and then let his love be the influence that transformed lives in and through others. Isn’t that a good plan for all of us to follow?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Separation

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-8 ESV

separate 1

Sometimes people remark that I may confuse the issue because of little details that don’t tie up all the loose ends. For example, the concept of sin and separation from God.

I grew up believing when I sinned God was angry at me. That sin was repulsive to God. That He would turn His back to me. That sin prevented God from blessing me. In some ways, it seemed that Sin was bigger than God. That God didn’t want to have anything to do with me because of that sin I committed last night without even being aware of it. Somewhere, someplace I was led to believe that I was the problem of sin. That when I sinned, God separated Himself from me.

It now amazes me more than ever what happens when the truth becomes known. For example, Father/Son/Spirit God is truly greater than any sin ever committed or known on planet earth. Jesus, who represents God on earth for humanity to witness, walked among sinners. He worked, played, and ate with sinners. He deliberately spent time with them. He didn’t separate himself from sinners. Instead he conquered sin for us.

When we sin, God doesn’t walk away from us. He doesn’t turn his back to us. Instead, he pursues us even more so. He knows the ramifications of sin. He witnessed it with Satan. Yet He still allowed Satan to hang around heaven (Job 1:6). When Adam and Eve sinned, He didn’t walk away from them. Instead he came looking for them. It was they who hid from God. It was they who became afraid and sought to hide from God.

When we sin, we hurt ourselves. We hurt those around us. Our mates, children, parents, friends, and associates all are recipients of sin’s poison. God doesn’t turn away from us. Those around us may, but God doesn’t. He wants us to realize his forgiveness. And because of his forgiveness, he wants us to repent. He wants us to be truly thankful for what He does for us. Showering us with constant grace and care.

Whenever the nation Israel fell into the practice of idolatry, God would patiently wait for the proper moment before he would intercede and bring the nation back into the fold. Whenever we sin, God likewise waits patiently for us before he intercedes and brings us back to him. When King David committed adultery and murder, God used the prophet Nathan to bring the sin to his attention. When realizing his sin, David quickly repented. God didn’t disown David. Instead, He helped David to grow in maturity and responsibility. He does the same for you and me today.

Sin doesn’t separate us from God. It blinds us from seeing God. It may block God’s Spirit from freely flowing through us. But God is always there. He loves us. Wants what is best for us. In some ways, He uses sin to help us appreciate and grow in his grace. Like King David, when we are convicted of sin, we quickly repent. In repentance, we are thankful for the life He shares with us, His grace, His mercy, and everything else he has reserved for us.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

Fiat Character

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 3:3-5

 character 6

Wouldn’t it be great if our character could be molded and built overnight? Rather than having to discipline our thoughts, attitudes, and habits over years of practice, why couldn’t we take a pill and have instant Godly character?  We know that is not reality.  So if someone offers you such a “pill” or shortcut, beware. Only God’s love and grace is there for us to experience the downside of character building.

When God created man and women, He did so after his image and likeness (Gn. 1:26).  Of all of God’s creation, only humanity has the ability to reason, imagine, and create.  These characteristics are patterned after God’s likeness. Yet man also, because of the sin virus, is blacken with spiritual cancer. He needs healing. That healing comes to us via Jesus Christ. He sends the Holy Spirit into our lives to heal and restore our hearts and minds. Our participation involves building our Will through the choices we make. It requires obedience. Most often it requires obedience through the tough difficult times of life. Even Jesus learned through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

Paul writes that the purpose of life is for us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:24). When the Bible speaks about image it doesn’t mean that everyone looks like Him. What it means is that we resemble His character and spirit. That character and spirit comes through the trials and tests that life presents. It doesn’t come via a pill. It doesn’t come by taking a class. It doesn’t come by joining a church. It only comes when we allow His Spirit to lead us, transform us, and walk with us through the challenges of life.

So forget about fiat character. Instead, learn to walk with the Triune God as He restores creation back to His original intent. That includes you, me, and all of creation.

Perseverance.  Endurance. Faithfulness. They may not be glorious words in a self-esteemed society, yet they are the marathon characteristics of a “little Christ” in today’s world.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.