JOHN SHIRK – This week’s Relationship-Building Principles examine how inviting God’s presence into our lives is healthy for our relationships.
Where God’s Presence is welcome, there is love.
First John 4, verses 7 and 8 are all about love, and how God’s love motivates us to reach out to others.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Then we learn what kind of love the Apostle John is talking about. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
The love of Jesus was demonstrated through His service and sacrifice. There was no doubting that the expression of His love at the cross was authentic. God was demonstrating his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Having faith in Jesus gives us access to this power to love others selflessly and sincerely, with the heart of service and sacrifice.
Having the love of God is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 13:5.
Love “is not easily angered.”
God’s love serves to temper our anger when patience is tested. We are not prone to emotional outbursts when guided by God’s love.
That is not to say that we are never angered. Jesus vented His anger when He saw God’s house of worship turned into a den of robbers. There are some injustices in this world that should upset us to the point of doing something about it.
However, when we are motivated by love, we are not easily angered or easily offended when someone disappoints us. We stay calm and cool. If there are differences to work out, love compels us to use conversations rather than shouting matches to address them. James 1:19 instructs us to “be slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
Being slow to become angry is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 13:5.
“Love is not self-seeking.”
Sin is an “I” centered word. So is Pride. Selfish desires get in the way of thriving relationships.
The focus of true love goes beyond ourselves. In the context of our relationship with God, the focus is on bringing glory to God. In the context of our relationship with others, the focus is on blessing them with encouragement, a servant’s heart, and edifying words.
Joy can be an acronym for “Jesus, Others, Yourself”. With those priorities in that order, the door is open for us to experience the joy of living out the Gospel.
Focusing beyond ourselves is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from First Corinthians 13:4.
“Love is patient, love is kind.”
With love, we recognize that people are in process. They have room for growing in maturity and character development, just as we have room for growth in these areas. With patience, we give our friends and neighbors time and opportunity to grow. We work with them so that they might develop into the kind of person that God calls them to be. Jesus is our ultimate example of patience. Mark 16 says that as the disciples went out and preached the Gospel, the Lord worked with them. He was working with men who had room for growth.
With love, we also exercise kindness. This means that we have a friendly disposition in our relationships. We show consideration for the needs of others, and seek to be a blessing in their lives. There is great influence in kindness. Romans 2:4 talks about God’s kindness leading us toward repentance. Lives can change in dramatic ways when kindness is expressed in our relationships.
Patience and kindness are qualities that benefit our marriages, family relationships, and friendships.
Exercising patience and kindness is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 14:22.
“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.”
Plans indicate our intentions to act. This verse is referring to the principle of sowing and reaping.
If we sow evil plans, we will stray off course from God’s intended will for our lives, and the outcome leads to confusion, dissension, and pain. Someone gets hurt when evil plans are carried out. If our plans are evil, God’s remedy is for us to turn back before we carry out those plans.
If the Lord directs our plans, those plans will be consistent with love and faithfulness, and good fruit will flow out of our actions. A generous person who refreshes others will be refreshed. What we send out is often what comes back. Those who plan what is good open the door for thriving relationships and for the name of the Lord to be honored.
Making plans that are good in the eyes of the Lord is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – God’s people are called to live in community. The evidence of that can be found in the “One another” statements of the Bible. This week’s relationship-building principles have been taking a look at some of these “one another” statements to better understand how God wants us to relate with other members of God’s family.
First John 3:11 says, “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
Love is at the heart of the “one another” commands in the Bible. These specific commands scattered throughout the New Testament include: “Encourage one another, serve one another, forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another, accept one another as Christ accepted you, spur one another on toward love and good deeds, honor one another above yourselves, live in harmony with one another, offer hospitality to one another without grumbling, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, instruct one another. Be kind and compassionate to one another.
These specific “one another” statements are useful to help us examine whether or not we are walking in love as God calls us to love.
Loving God’s family with a godly attitude is a vital relationship-building principles to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
God’s people are called to live in community. The evidence of that can be found in the “One another” statements of the Bible. This week’s relationship-building principles take a look at some of these “one another” statements to better understand how God wants us to relate with other members of God’s family.
Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Hebrews 13:1.
“Keep on loving one other as brothers and sisters.”
The command to love one another is given at least 12 times in the New International Version of the Bible. Here, the emphasis on love is to be consistent in expressing love for God’s people as family members. Sometimes, family members have conflict, but when the love of God is our guiding influence, these conflicts are opportunities to grow more mature personally, and grow closer in community.
Every new day is an opportunity to connect with a person in our church community and show them the love of Jesus. It could be through a phone conversation, a visit to the hospital, or a service opportunity. As long as we are serving the Lord, we will hear the Holy Spirit whisper in our conscience that there is more love to share with others. Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
Persistent love for others is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK -2015 is the Year of Connection at WJTL. We will examine God’s insights into healthy relationships. Listen for Relationship-Building Principles throughout the upcoming year.
Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 17:17.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Real friends are not just fair-weather friends who love you when you are healthy, wealthy, and wise. Real friends are also supportive in your times of need, when you are in the hospital, when you have lost your job, or when you have lost a loved one. That is when the value of real friendships is felt. That is the kind of friend that God wants us to be for others. That is the kind of friend Jesus is for us. He talked about real friendship this way in John 15:12 and 13:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Less than 24 hours later, Jesus was hanging on the cross, reaching out with love, dying for our sins, offering forgiveness and eternal life to those who will receive His gift of grace.
Real friendship is a vital-relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on freedom in Christ.
Jesus said in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
There are reasons to cherish our political freedoms to vote, to speak out, and to publicly express our worship for God.
However, the greatest form of freedom is the kind that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Here are some of the ways that Jesus sets us free.
In Christ we are set free to love people as He loves us. Galatians 5:13 talks about using our freedom to serve one another in love.
In Christ, we are set free from the penalty of our sin through God’s forgiveness. Romans 8:1 says “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
In Christ, we are set free to know the truth of God’s will and do it. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Following God is our pathway to real and lasting freedom.
Freedom in Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on God’s pleasure when our faith is expressed in love.
Hebrews 13:16 offers this reminder: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”
Doing good may involve a wide range of services including: mowing an elderly couple’s lawn, visiting a friend in the hospital, or taking some food to the new neighbor who just moved in next door. There are various ways to express God’s love with acts of kindness.
The Bible acknowledges that when we do good deeds, and share our resources with others, there will be personal sacrifice. It may involve a sacrifice of time or money, or energy that we decided to spend for the well-being of someone else instead of ourselves. God takes notice of our activities that involve personal sacrifice.
Hebrews 6:10 says, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
When God is pleased by our faith expressed in love, that is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the power of God’s love.
According to First John 4:9, “this is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
God took the initiative to reach out to us with His love. The fact that He sent His one and only Son into the world reveals that He gave His very best for us. He knew what we were lacking, and provided the gift that we needed. Jesus is the expression of God’s love for us. He laid down his life as a sacrifice for our sins.
The power of God’s love frees us from bondage to sin and enables us to live in the freedom of His will for the purpose of His glory. If we say “yes” to Jesus as God’s plan to save us, then He will become our greatest joy and delight. We will learn to love Him more and more, and we will grow in love for other people, because God is love. His love transforms lives.
The power of God’s love is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.