I love being able to apply Scripture, God’s infallible, eternal breath of truth, to my life – every day, right where I am. It is always applicable and sufficient.
As I was sitting at Panera this morning, I read this: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the god and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:5-7
Here is what I learned:
Strategies that work for relationships: Holy Spirit (via the Apostle Paul)
1. God strengths us to endure. We can’t endure in relationships on our own. We are sinners. We live in a broken-down house (pulling that analogy from Paul Tripp). We will get tired. We will want to give up. But, God never changes. He is eternal. And you know what, the Holy Spirit (who is God, therefore is eternal and enduring) lives in us – and allows us to endure.
2. God encourages us. We don’t need pep talks, or Oprah, or Dr. Phil, or self-motivational tapes (or CDs or podcasts). We have the Word, we have the very breath of the eternal God to encourages us as we face despair and discouragement from relationships.
3. Through God (being our endurance and encouragement) we can live in harmony with one another. Your dinner table does not have to be a war zone. Your marriage does not have to be difficult. Your relationship with friends, your children, your boss – does not have to look like those who do not have Christ. We can live in harmony because we have been brought into harmony with God the Father through the blood of Christ.
4. The reason we are to live in harmony with one another is to glorify God. It is not so that the world sees how great our marriage (and/or) relationships are or that we don’t have any troubles in this life: but the main outcome of this is that Christ will be glorified. How we do marriage and relationships different from non-believers should be such a LIGHT to the world that they would run to us because of the attraction of the Gospel (if God opens their eyes). Let us live our relationships in such a way that they would glorify Christ!
5. We only do all of this because of the Gospel. Reproach doesn’t work. I learned this in a relationship with a friend – and I’m applying that to my marriage. You can’t do it. You fail miserably. Christ didn’t reproach us. He bore our reproach. While we were still enemies with God – Christ came near. He came down to us. He became incarnate. He died on the cross for us. He wanted a relationships with us. Don’t let reproach, sin, unforgiveness, and bitterness, and unmet expectations affect and kill your relationships.
See…I am learning.