Relationships are a major area of our lives. We can’t do anything without it involving other people! And the quality of our relationships has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. You won’t succeed at school, work, or life unless you interact well with others.
This is also true in our relationship with God. Our relationships with others play an important role in our spiritual growth. They challenge us to demonstrate Christ-like character and display evidence of the Spirit’s activity in our lives.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is, “‘Love the Lord your God’…And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39). He also said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Our love for God is expressed in our love for others. Our submission to Jesus is shown in our love for other believers. And the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are manifested in our actions and attitudes toward others.
Relationships are an integral part of our discipleship! Nothing tests our character as constantly as dealing with other people. Thus, relationships gauge our spiritual health by revealing whether we treat others the way Jesus would treat them.
Jesus Had Relationships
Jesus had the same relationships that we have today. And He managed Himself perfectly in all of them. In all that he thought, said, and did toward others, He never disobeyed or dishonored God.
Jesus had a mother and stepfather. And although He knew at a young age who His true Father was, He respected His earthly parents. Luke 2:51 says, “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.”
He had younger siblings and friends. Although few interactions with them are recorded, we can be sure He obeyed Paul’s command: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
He had enemies. This is difficult, because He often condemned them and threatened to judge them. Even so, we can be sure He obeyed His own teaching: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
He even has a spouse! He wasn’t married during His earthly life, but the New Testament often calls the church His bride. Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). So He can relate to us even in marriage!
The only relationship He didn’t have was the parent-child relationship. Because He never married, He never had children. But the Bible is full of instructions for parents. We can be sure that if He was a parent, He would have perfectly obeyed them.
Jesus Changes Our Relationships
Discipleship is an intensely personal process. It transforms the way we treat people on a daily basis. It changes how we are toward our parents, siblings, spouse, children, boss, co-workers, friends, enemies, etc.
Jesus sets the pattern for our relationships. As the Holy Spirit remakes us in His image, this will express itself through how we treat others. We must constantly ask ourselves, “Am I treating the people in my life the way Jesus would?”
Do you find it easy or difficult to treat others the way Jesus would? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
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