Relationships are the foundation of life. We were created by God for a relationship with Him, and we see in Genesis that God knows that man alone is not good, so Adam and Eve had each other as a gift for relationship.
Our primary goal in life is to have a relationship with God that leads to healthy relationships with others all rooted in our number one relationship – the one with our Heavenly Father. As we receive (accept) the love from God, His love pours into us an overflow that will pour out into those around us.
Unfortunately, this system is a bit broken in our culture. One reason is because we don’t truly receive the loving-commitment from God and another reason is because of the broken relationships we’ve had in this broken world. Because of these two breakdowns in relationship (with God and with others) we don’t have an abundance of loving pouring out, we have an overflow of doubt and insecurities. We walk around wondering (subconsciously) “am I enough”, “am I likable”, “do I matter”?
We’ve ended up with an overflow of people looking to others for acceptance and worth instead of going to others and loving them and telling them they matter because we already know our worth is in God alone. So, we live in a state of depletion, because we’ve missed the number 1 relationship – the one with God.
We need a change of relationship that builds others up, one that creates life and courage in others, one that reflects God to the broken-hearted all around us wondering if they are important. The LORD will supply us with all we need, we don’t have to live like the world – but instead show the world where our worth comes form. Let’s be a network of people who love each other.
God’s design to have us loving and building each other up increases positive feelings as we give to others creating the rush the keeps us moving on mission and on purpose. Because we have not been living this way we have a world filled with people feeling a lack of love. With this lack of love comes a soul longing – that should lead us back to God, but instead it leads to addictions of many kinds (food, alcohol, tv, technology) and it’s all rooted in a lack of love.
Setting Boundaries in Relationships
The world is revolves around friendships, dating/marriage to the right person, setting boundaries loving and forgiving those that hurt us so that we don’t live bitter and angry, accepting the people for where they are on their individual sanctification path with God. We are all on our own journey with God and healthy relationships support and build up each other on that path, not try to fill the parts of others that are meant for God.
This is a good opportunity to talk a bit about health boundaries in relationships. We are who we spend time with. We need to be sure what we show love to everyone, but that the majority of our time is spent with people who do not live in toxic thoughts and actions or are self-focused.
Scripture is filled with examples of how we need to be careful with whom we associate with because of the ability to influence and be influenced. People change people. So, as much as we are called to use our gifts to point to God we need to be sure that we follow a 75/35 rule and return to like minded and God-fearing people every time we enter into situations that are toxic and against scripture. We need re-callibration time so that we don’t get so focused on changing people that we don’t realize they are changing us.
God changes people we don’t. We need to stop being other people’s ‘holy spirit’. For example: If you end up thinking someone should change so much that you nag them – you’re doing harm not good (to yourself and them).
How Relationships Impact Eating
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that with poor relationships comes poor eating. I can’t think of anything else in life that makes me eat worse than when I’ve had a fight with my husband, or I think someone is mad at me.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with allRomans 12:18
So, again, relationships are the foundation of life on this earth. Having healthy relationships is a huge key to our health, diet, weight and life. Our number one purpose
in all of life is to have a relationship with God. To spend time with Him, to get to know His character, His values, His purposes and to let His character transform us into being obedient to Him and making Him known to others as we spend time with people. Letting His presence radiate from us because we have done our co-operation work of
being filled by Him so much that He overflows from us. By the way, this is not something that we do, but something He does through us as we move into relationship with Him.
Don’t Let People Become the Distraction
Relationships are the foundation of life and what we are created for, however if we’re not careful our family, friends, spouses, kids can become our god and distract us from our mission. Its so comfortable to be with and around people that treat us good and feels perfect, but we’re called to make disciples. Sure, we can do that within our family and friend groups, but if they keep us from pursing God’s mission further than our close group, they are a distraction.
There is also a truth in who we spend time with and how people shape people. If we spend our time in a toxic environment, we can be crushing our mission because our hearts are too burdened to reach out. If we focus so much on the opinions of others that we lose site of God’s purpose and creation of us, we end up allowing those
relationships to become distractions too.
It’s so important we have people, but our number one focus should always always always be God. From there we have the endurance to run the race set before us. We have the courage to build and live on the God’s foundation without building a false one
anchored in the opinions of this world and can live set apart for God.
Applying the Fruit to Relationship Struggles
The fruits of the Spirit, so beautiful and something I strive to live in. For some reason I was under the false belief that I’d never attain them and that they are just the hope to live with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That these fruits, this character wasn’t something I’d attain on this side of Heaven. That’s a lie!
The Holy Spirit lives within us and that means so does the character of God. So, with this truth I’ve begun to apply it to how I interact with my husband, children, friends, strangers….
I use to get irritated quickly (heck I still do often times) but I’m trying to rewire my mind so that I respond to difficult situations with the fruits of the Spirit. When I am in a situation where I’d usually lose my cool, I pause and think – what fruit of the Spirit can I show in this situation.
This change of thinking wasn’t easy and I still struggle with it a little, but after months of intentional focus on pausing and asking myself this question – what fruit can I show, my default is to pause first. My flesh response is often time very very poor and self-focused, but when I slow my reponse and obey the word in being – quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, I’m able to do a few things.
- Listen to what is happening within the other person instead of going off of my thoughts of the situation, because often times I’m wrong in my assumptions.
- I’m able to keep my internal posture toward peace and being a disciple of God
- I’m able to make a correction with love and calmness which allows for growth and connection between me and the person
When we let our flesh and assumptions rule we create a huge barrier between us and the other person, when we approach situations with peace and trust in the LORD applying His fruits to the people we interact with – growth is all that will happen. (if not in the other person, for sure in you as you lean into the power that lives within you)
This doesn’t mean we are pushovers, this means we trust the LORD so much that nothing will make us live in a state of defensiveness.
Scripture to Support your Mind Renewal
1 Corinthians 16:14 – Let all that you do be in love.
Ephesians 4:2-3 – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Matthew 20:28 – even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many
James 1:19 – Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
2 Timothy 2:24 – And the LORD’S servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil (spiritual immaturity)
1 Peter 2:15 – For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.