Thursday, April 29, 2010

Out or IN?

I’m not much of a blogger, but I wanted to share this with you. It’s something that God has placed on my heart. And if you feel led or feel it would help, please pass it on! My hope is that it will spur our relationship with God a step further!

Are you Out or In?

While I think that it is extremely important to grow in our relationship with God more each day, we do not want to use God as an excuse. Praying to walk and focus on God daily is essential, but at the same time we must be open and available to receive His blessings along the way! It seems very easy to say “I can’t do this right now because I need to focus on God.” But what if God is trying to bless your walk with Him by giving you help in a fellow believer or a relationship? I know I have stumbled in to this many times…used God as an out rather than an in.

A couple of summers ago I had made up my mind that relationships, whether romantic or friends, was not going to help me in my walk with God. I had been hurt so many times over the years that I lost count and became numb to them. I used my hopeful relationship with God as an excuse to check out of humanity completely. If people were going to be hurtful and not care…then why would I subject myself to them? WOW! Writing this now, looking back, I realized I missed the whole point! I acted extremely selfish! I thought only about what hurt me, not what God could still bless me with if I kept my heart open and trusted His will and plan.

So in my attempt to cancel out the pain from this world, I really cancelled out any chance of trusting God and allowing Him to move in my life. This doesn’t mean that human relationships aren’t hard. To say that would be to deny reality. We do need to look to God through them and pray for Him to guide us a long. But we also need to make sure that we are not shutting out human relationships because God could be blessing us with them or using us to bless others! I think this is so important to hold on to!!!!!

Back in Genesis 2 verse 7, God created man to walk in fellowship with Him and to do His will. And it was Good! The God said ”It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Gen.2: 18. So God created a companion. While this is the first illustration of the bond of marriage, it is also the first illustration of human relationships. Until sin entered in to makes things so complicated in these earthly lives we lead, we got a glimpse of what our relationships should look like!

In a recent BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) lesson we were looking at John 19 and I was overwhelmingly moved with conviction over the picture of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ in His last moments on the cross. This is the perfect picture of not only our Savior, but our loving friend and companion! In his last breaths he was not concerned with the earthly pain that enveloped and crippled his body...He was taking care of the ones He loved. The friends and cherished ones that had walked with him and the ones that would walk with him in the future (us). He looked upon his mother and John, the disciple whom He loved, and took time to entrust them to each other's care, blessing each of their lives. He prayed, interceding for our sins so that we can forever walk in relationship with Him!

The question that I ask myself, once I dry my eyes, is "Do my relationships embody or show the smallest measurement of my relationship with Christ?" Do I love and want to bless others before thinking of myself? Even when I find myself in a difficult place? Even when the hurt invades my wounded areas? Even when the easy thing to do is to check out and use God instead of being used by Him?

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New International Version) says "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

The cord of three is the two people and God intertwined in the middle. Showing the strength of each persons relationship to God and with each other altogether. This is the strongest type of cord. However, if just one strand is cut the whole things losses it's strength and begins to fray.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (New International Version)

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

If you take yourself out of relationships and stumble on your journey, who will be there to help you up and support you....better yet who could YOU be there for to help and support?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (New International Version)

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."

Relationships are not all about what we are supposed to get, but also what we are supposed to give. If we check out of relationships or only go through the motions, are we truly allowing God to use us or to bless us? This goes for all relationships: parent/child, siblings, cousins, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. I don't know about you, but I think that being able to bless others and be blessed by others is a win/win to God and you! I still can't believe how unaware I truly was. How self-directed and concerned I was about myself and my own hurts.

I encourage you to invest in the people in your life, being open to letting God use you to bless someone else or God using someone to bless you! Don't shut out a relationship using God as an excuse!!! Although God is to be our Main Focus and MUST come first, He also wants us to walk with each other along the way!

Mark 12:29-31 (New International Version)

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."

Beth Moore put it this way, " We were created by God precisely for relationship, so disconnection is not the answer."

Relationships: Are you Out.....or are you IN?