Valuable relationships with friends and family are rare things and should be well guarded and protected, not taken for granted,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” (John 10:10)
and that especially goes for relationships. How do we guard and protect those good relationships? Say yes to the things of God, and no to the things not of Him. ~ Penny Raine
In the past few months I have received several, many, prayer requests regarding ruined relationships. Most had to do with husbands leaving their wives, out of the blue for a wayward woman, but not all. Some had hidden lives and it had been going on for a while. Some had hidden identities, second personalities it seemed. Some were typical but most were completely out of character. And not only are marriages being targeted but family relationships too. Seems like an outside force pulling folks away. Not only does it seem that way, that is exactly what it is. We have to recognize which relationships are God honoring and valuable, and protect those even if it means removing others.
The enemy fights to keep people divided against each other because he knows that when the right people connect, they will ruin his kingdom! We take authority over the enemy and his tactics to divide! Nothing will stop you in this season child of God. You are more then a Conqueror through Jesus Christ! ~ Charlie Shamp
So if the enemy of our souls is busy trying to ruin our relationships it should be pretty easy to recognize the tactics right? That adulterous woman or that drug dealing buddy, or that deceiving so called friend is not really just behaving innocently? They are driven by a force. One that aims to ultimately ruin your relationship with your loved ones AND the God you serve. We all make choices every day, We are either for God or we are against Him. And the minute one turns against Him, they quickly want to drag others off with them.
Mothers bear children and wives marry husbands, yet none of these relationships just grow automatically. They require work, effort and a lot of self sacrifice. They are never healthy one sided. Relationships are like valuable gold. And they will quickly be stolen if we don’t protect them. And once they are damaged they often do not recover because one or both parties is ashamed, or feels guilty. When only one person in the relationship is doing all the trying sooner or later they will wear out and give up. And then things drift apart, and then get shallow, and then you barely know each other. You can still talk, but there is no more heart in it. And then they are gone. And it was like a plant that God Himself had planted, but it withers up and dies. And bears no fruit.
He has a plan for our relationships. Plans to grow His Kingdom. Plans to multiply His love. Plans to heal and restore and replenish His people. But we have to want it. Not just want it but WANT IT!
Sadly enough we sometimes, often times will have to forfeit the relationships, that really aren’t real anyway, that are harmful or even toxic to benefit the ones that are fruitful. So called friends and family that say they are for Jesus but their lives and actions show differently are a hazard to real relationships. We cannot possibly walk with someone who is going a different direction. If I am headed to Nashville and my friend is headed to Huntsville we will be going in different directions, and cannot be walking together unless one of us changes direction. One of us will have to change plans. One of us will have to detour. We may be able to pull over and sit still and chat for a moment, but neither will get anywhere that way.
Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so? ~ Amos 3:3
Sometimes in order to save and protect those valuable relationships we must do a little pruning. And if we are willing to do that, even though it hurts, we will produce fruit.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ~ John 15:2
For 20 something years I walked in bondage with some relationships. I felt obligated to make it work. They were side relationships, it was not a covenant with God relationship like a marriage. But it was close to home. I cried out to the Lord one day and asked, “why oh why was it so hard???” His reply? He said because He never asked me to do it. Wow, instant freedom. But I have had to fight to keep it. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, sometimes we have to make choices that are not popular, sometimes, no, nearly always we will be persecuted and given a hard time. We often have a warped view of what relationships are supposed to be.
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” ~Matthew 12:48-50
Sadly enough the bible promises us there will be divisions. We need to be ready, we need to have already made up our minds whom we serve and why.
From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” ~ Luke 12:52-54
As much as we want our loved ones to follow and serve Christ right alongside of us, they each have a free will. they each have a choice. And so do we, some of them will choose not to, we have a choice to hang back with them and forfeit our future in Heavenly places, and sacrifice the love of God for the esteem of men, and our own self pride, or we can patiently serve Christ keep moving forward without them and wait it out. If we are serving Jesus we have all the time in eternity. If not time is running out. And all the good times on earth are not worth that. Redeem your time, make it worthwhile. Reach out a hand to those who are lost but do not stand still on the side of the road too long waiting on them to follow, if you do they will convince you to go their way, trust God to do His part. Do not suppose you can do it better than Him.
Have you ever noticed in the story of the prodigal son, it was only after everyone left him that he turned to the father?