“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” — 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NIV
Many of us have probably heard about the importance of having a strong relationship with God. When our heart is pointed toward God and our relationship with Him is right, this will overflow into other relationships in our lives and impact how we treat others. This applies to all different types of relationships such as personal relationships with family members, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, classmates or significant others.
It is essential that we prioritize God in our relationships, no matter the connection. He should be the most important person in our lives and His word can help guide us on how to love and respect others. Through deepening our relationship with Him, we can better care about those around us.
Putting God First
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” — Galatians 2:20, NIV
When we become Christians, God’s wishes take precedence over our own desires. He becomes a priority in our lives. Relationships, if we do not have our firm foundation, can draw us away from this priority.
Perhaps, we join a new group of friends and suddenly spend all of our time hanging out with them instead of spending time in God’s presence. Or maybe, we devote all our time to our significant other and forget to fellowship with other believers at church outside of our relationship. No matter the situation, we have to remember we need to prioritize God and His will for our lives.
We can remember God’s word found in Mark 12:30-31, “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.” This shows us what is most important in life, both of which involve relationships.
Building Christ-Centered Relationships
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” — Colossians 3:12-14, NIV
Not all relationships muddle our priorities; in fact, many relationships can also push us to grow deeper in our faith. We may have a friend, family member or significant other who encourages us when we are struggling and loves us like Jesus. These people are a blessing and can make a difference in our lives. As Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
How can we build Christ-centered relationships? Well, we must first evaluate ourselves. Are we focused on Christ and striving to follow him? Are we loving and caring for others the way the Bible tells us to? If not, we can pray to develop these qualities and practice being more Christlike.
Developing Christ-centered relationships also requires us to surround ourselves with those who are striving to do the same. However, we do need to keep in mind that the Bible tells us to treat those with love who do not have the same ideals or who may step on our nerves. Relationships of all kinds take effort and love on our part. If we are struggling with this, there is no better place to turn to than the Bible, which offers wisdom on how to treat others.
Following God in Relationships
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV
When you have someone or a group of people who are committed to strengthening one another, this can greatly help us at different points of our lives. Perhaps, we are in a low point where we are sad or hurt, we can rely on our people to lift us up. Maybe, we are making mistakes, and someone needs to help us realize the risk or a better route. Even in the good times, these people are of great value.
Ecclesiastes 4 uses different examples of the power of relationships when people work together. When we as Christians are willing to follow God and put Him first in regard to our relationships, we are honoring Him and also able to love others better than we ever could without His help.
Do you want to form relationships in a community of likeminded individuals who are seeking God? Grand Canyon University offers on-campus and online degrees that allow you to reach your educational aspirations from a university with a Christian identity and mission. To learn more, click on the Request Info button.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.