26 Aug Just Plain Hard
For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Today is day 3 of “Setting Ourselves Apart IN…” Day 1 was in work and day 2 was in words.
We all have bonds with people who are different than we are, and sometimes those differences cause conflicts that seem insurmountable. That doesn’t mean that relating to people who are like us is any easier, though. We can share common interests, work, and even a common faith and still run into trouble.
When was the last time you saw your relationships as a way to worship? A way to glorify the God you profess?
Truthfully, it’s hard for me to answer that question. Too often, I see my relationships as a way to get something for myself – a way to bring myself satisfaction rather than a way to serve. But God’s plan for the way we relate to others is so much more, and, of course, so much better.
Like it or not, our relationships with people reflect our relationship with God.
If I were to list words describing how I’ve treated others just this week, it would look something like this:
Those words don’t just describe my behavior. They describe me. My actions reveal my heart, and my relationships are the truest test of my real character.
When God’s Word says things like, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,” (Eph. 4:2), I am convicted to my core. My failure to do these things is a failure to obey my Lord.
My failure to treat the people bearing God’s image as image-bearers is a message to the watching world, and it’s not the message I want them to see. It’s not the presentation of a gospel-changed life that they need.
Not only do I hurt other people in this way, but also God Himself. He grieves both for the people I hurt and for me. His plan for me involves growth in righteousness, and when I behave selfishly and rudely, righteousness could not be farther away.
Right treatment of others is worship to God, plain and simple. May we choose – daily – to let our relationships reflect His love.
Today’s Prayer: “Father, it is so easy to take our frustrations out on people, both those we know and those we don’t. Before we react, help us reflect. Before we speak, help us stop. Before we lash out, help us listen. Our own determination won’t be enough. We need Your Spirit in us to do what we can’t.”