Day 8 – January 13

Philippians 2:1-4(NLT) Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

We all know that relationships can be the greatest joy in our lives or the greatest challenge. When it comes to relating to others, some do it well and others struggle. How are you doing in relating to others? It is true that some folks are difficult to relate to, but that should never give us an excuse to dismiss them completely.

We all need strength to relate to people. Our challenge is, that we sometimes look to people to meet a need that only God can meet. So, we get frustrated with people and begin to point our finger outward. We say things like “If they could just do this or that” or “They just don’t get it…” or “Why could they not be more…” You fill in the blanks. Here is a truth we all need to hold onto: “You cannot control how others relate to you, but you can completely control how you relate to others!”

The day we take full responsibility for our own way of relating, is the day we take a step towards maturity. Paul asks some pertinent rhetorical questions: “Is there encouragement because we belong to Christ?” The answer is obviously yes! Does His love comfort us? Yes! Is there fellowship with and through the Holy Spirit? Absolutely! Are your hearts tender and compassionate? That is the real question. If you find your encouragement, your comfort and fellowship in Christ Jesus, then you will have a tender and compassionate heart towards others!

Then what follows? Agreement, working together (Holy synergy), loving one another and fulfilling God’s purpose! That’s what we would term a healthy relationship. What kind of people produce such relationships? Unselfish, secure, humble, willing to yield and looking out for the interest of others! Not self-absorbed, me first, what about me kind of people. We need to find our encouragement, strength and fellowship in and through the Holy Spirit and humble ourselves to have thriving and life-giving relationships.

Remember others may hold onto their selfish way of relating, but that does not excuse you as a Christ follower to do the same. Are you willing to relate God’s way?

Prayer:

  • Ask the Lord to change you before asking Him to change others.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will show you the areas where you are expecting others to meet a need that only God can. Write them down, for reflection, inspection and repentance.
  • Pray for a heart of tender compassion and the strength and willingness to put others first.
  • Pray for the people whom you find most difficult to relate to, ask the Lord to bless them!