Revive Me, Week 37– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord
Fight for Relationships
Perhaps you’ve seen some status posts or memes that convey a “that’s their problem” mentality. They’ll say things like:
Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.
I’m tired of fighting. For once I want to be fought for.
Life is short. Only surround yourself with people who get you.
Relationships are worth fighting for but not if only one is fighting.
These comments are sad, aren’t they? They reveal a short-sightedness that comes from thinking like the world. Relationships are worth fighting for. They’re important to God and should be to us as well. I’m not talking about relationships that are unwholesome (1 Cor. 15:33). I’m talking about:
Being willing to swallow our pride to work through hurt feelings with a sister in Christ
Drumming up the courage to form friendships with our neighbors
Continuing to be kind to those who have been thoughtless or mean
Honoring our parents even if they’ve let us down
Putting our spouse’s needs before our own, every day
Giving ourselves, offering our time, opening our hearts to our church family without burning out or getting huffy if we don’t feel our efforts are being reciprocated
God wants us to fight for good relationships. He wants US to make the first move to show others we care. Read Romans 12:9-21.
Suggestions for the Week:
Break down Rom. 12:9-21 phrase by phrase. List a practical way to demonstrate each command.
Is there a strained relationship in your life? Have you done your part to work through it? Pray about it and reach out again.
Check your heart. Is pride keeping you from making things right with someone? Have you been lazy in your efforts to show love?
Begin to form a new relationship this week. Choose a neighbor, an elderly person or nursing home resident, a new Christian, etc.
Any fellow control freaks out there? With my sons growing up and going their own way, I’ve found myself struggling more with worry. My nightly prayers are filled with urgent requests for God to guide and protect my sons. Why the fear all of a sudden? I think it’s because I no longer have control. When the boys were little, I controlled everything…what they ate, when they went to bed, who their pals were. Now I have to figure out how to let go and truly turn them over to God. It dawns on me that I should’ve been doing more of that all along.
All this worrying is exhausting.
There’s the good kind of tired that comes from laboring for the Lord. Then there’s the tired-of-it-all that comes from running ahead of the Lord.
Parenting isn’t the only area that’s effected by the need to control. If my marriage gets rocky, I need to ask if I’m trying to lead or undermining my husband’s leadership. If I’m frustrated with my church family, it’s time to do some personal soul searching. Is my heart guilty of setting a standard for righteousness? If I’m honest, I’ll recognize what’s at the root of the control problem:
Pride. It gets in the way of acting wisely (Prov. 11:2).
Lack of trust. It assumes that I’m the only one who can get it right (Prov. 26:12).
Either ignorance of God’s plan or ignoring God’s plan. It takes the reigns from the One who knows best (Psa. 18:30).
When I’m overwrought with worry, I need to come down off my high horse. I’m acting as if I’m in the one in charge of keeping order instead of God. When I feel anxiety stealing my joy, it’s time to humble myself, let go through prayer, study God’s Word to learn His will, and trust.
Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Neal and I had the privilege of spending some time with a man who is a talented, well-known speaker, TV evangelist, university board member, and very beloved preacher, husband, and grandfather. This distinguished man spoke of a time when he would retire and have someone take his place. When I made some comment about the difficulty of finding a man brave enough to try and fill his big shoes, he said, “Ain’t no big deal.” He was absolutely serious. He wasn’t being falsely modest, but rather giving me a glimpse of the deep humility that has earned him the love and respect of all who know him. He really is a great man who has done great things and who is admired by a great many, but in his own eyes he “ain’t no big deal.” Just think how having that same kind of attitude could affect our own lives:
When I am slighted or rejected…
When I am ignored, neglected, overlooked…
When I am criticized…
When I don’t get the recognition I think I deserve…
Ain’t no big deal. If we are seeking to be servants of Christ, then HIS notice is all we need or crave. And He does notice (Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13). Genuine humility affects other times in our lives, too:
When I am praised or lifted up…
When I am sought after…
When I am awarded…
When I am thanked…
Ain’t no big deal. While those feel-good moments can be gratifying, we know that everything we do is through God’s power and ability for the purpose of growing the kingdom. And prayerfully, we do it all for HIS glory (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:3). Neither vainglory nor false humility belong in Christian hearts.
Prayer for Today: Thank you, Lord, for exposing us to such a humble servant of Yours. May we all strive to have that genuine mind of Christ.