Thoughts on Gospel-Changed Relationships
Has the Gospel changed your heart? Then your relationships will change because you will work hard with the Lord's strength to do what you know is right. It's part of being in the family. Every family has duties and responsibilities and expectations.
Why are our relationships sometimes so tough? I think it's because we don't think through the biblical implications and expectations. God expects something of us. We are not puppets. We will and think and do according to our desire. God wants us to desire what is good and right and true. He wants us to forget about ourselves and think about how to bless others.
At the heart of Gospel-Changed relationships are Gospel-changed people who actively and energetically seek what is best for the family of God. We are representatives of Jesus Christ, ambassadors for Christ. A representative, ambassador, does not seek his own pleasure but what is best for his constituency. Our captain is Jesus. Our calling is clear. Our constituency is the body of Christ. Specifically those whom you are closely aligned and affiliated with.
The implications are staggering when you consider them: Do this and live. Do that and die. Do what is right and be blessed. Do what is wrong and be disciplined or cursed. Notice the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3:14–21. God's power is working mightily in believers. You basically have to want this. Don't work against it. Don't hinder God's work. Don't quench the Spirit.
You choose which thought you entertain. You choose which words come out of your mouth. You choose what action you take. You either refuse to do what's right or you embrace the truth and let it transform you and all of your interactions. It's amazing how many things come down to surrender and yielding in the Christian life. And it is astounding how many of our issues and quandaries and conflicts have to do with disobedience. If we had just done what was right to begin with.
Sure there are many times when someone else will not be at peace with you. But even in those cases, if we would humble ourselves and go out of our way to make peace, we can often win them over and reconcile. Countless relationships in the body of Christ remain fractured because the injured party doesn't want to lay down their life and deny themselves. Of course the perpetrator of the evil isn't denying themself, but the victim can. Well, that's weak you say, that doesn't make any sense. Exactly. But it's the Gospel way.
God calls, chooses, unifies people from every tribe, nation, and language to worship Jesus Christ forever (Eph. 1:4-6; Rev. 5:9-10). As the Gospel brings us into fellowship with Christ and His Church (Eph. 4:1), our relationships are radically reoriented according to God's will revealed in God's Word (Eph. 3:14-19; 5:15-21). Our love for one another is how the watching world knows we belong to Christ (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-11, 19-21).
Therefore, we are to actively pursue peace and build one another up (Rom. 14:19), serve one another (Gal. 5:13), bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2), encourage one another (1 Thess. 4:18), and even exhort and admonish one another (Col. 3:16, 2 Tim. 4:2). God wants you, out of love for Christ, because Christ love you, to live up to his standards. The whole Christian life is summed up in this… Becoming who you are. Conformity not out of fear but out of love for Jesus Christ. Wanting to live a life that is pleasing to God.