August 3, 2020

Strengthening Your Relationships

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

After months of confinement to working from home, time and relationships can become the most challenged. We’ve looked at making the best use of our time but what about our relationships? How do you target relationships so that you can hit the bull’s eye when it comes to personal and meaningful relationships? Distracted relationships become disconnected relationships, and disconnected relationships derail and fall off the tracks. The writer of Hebrews gives us the secret to strengthening our relationships in this passage.

First, focus on Christ to meet your deepest needs. The Bible says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. …” (Vs. 2a) The Everyday Version puts it like this, “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” In other words, don’t look to another human being to make you happy. Focus on Jesus. When you focus on Jesus to meet your deepest needs, it takes the pressure off of the relationship with your spouse or others. Only Christ can meet your deepest needs. Your focus will determine what you follow after. It will become a magnet that will attract you to it. You get to choose your focus but once you choose, it will draw you to it. If you focus on Jesus, He will draw you to Himself and enrich your relationships.

Second, get rid of distracting targets. Hebrews goes on to say, “So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way.” (Vs. 1b TEV) When we allow distracting targets to cloud our focus, we begin to aim at the wrong ones. Psalm 4:2b asks, “How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?” There are only two targets worth aiming at – loving God and loving others. That means our primary target is relationships. Are you focusing on your relationship with God and your relationships with others? Have you allowed distracting targets to deceive you into thinking that they are more important than God and others? At the end of your life all that will matter to you and me are faith, family, and friends.

Third, eliminate poison arrows. Look again at the counsel of Hebrews. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” (Vs. 1b NIV) Destructive and hurtful words are like poison arrows. They hit the target but leave bitterness and pain that can be lethal. James 3:8 says, “… no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” If we are to hit the bull’s eye God designed for our relationships, we must eliminate poison verbal arrows. So, how do we handle conflict? We’ll look at seven rules for using conflict to strengthen our deepest relationships in tomorrow’s blog.