Healthy, Devoted Relationships

Healthy Relationships

God desires devoted relationships, but He also desires healthy relationships. Care deeply about the soul and heart and life and future of others. Help to protect them from the enemy. Work to make them to be aware of satan's devices. But make sure that in no way, shape, or form you control them and tell them what to do. Even if you succeed in protecting them from some initial harm, you cannot hold their hand forever. They must have their own relationship with God—and a devoted relationship with you, too. This is not an either-or situation. You can have both. But you will not have a real relationship with another person, with love and trust and forgiveness and joy and adventure, as long as the relationship is based on pushing buttons of "Do this; don't do that. I'll give you a principle for this and a principle for that. Remember all these principles and you'll be a good little Christian."

Principles are important. The Word of God was written for our learning so that we could believe and therefore have Life to the full. It's imperative that the seed of God—His eternal immutable Word—be written in our hearts. We're supposed to help each other know and plant that seed. We're even supposed to admonish one another daily with the Word of God so that none are hardened and deceived by sin. But don't confuse admonishing with telling people what to do. That is not a healthy, devoted relationship. That's an unhealthy, immature, devoted relationship.

Don't shy away from loving each other and caring. Try to throw a body block if you know somebody who's about to go out and hurt themselves spiritually. But make sure that after you've stood them up straight, reasoned with them from the Word of God, and shown them the heart of Jesus, that you get out of the way and let them make their own decision about whether what you are saying is really the Word of God. Let them ask themselves, "Is this really what God's saying? Am I really willing to go forward? Should I reconsider? Should I fast about it first?" Allow them to face God Himself and to make those choices after you've tried to help.

The Word of God is useful for teaching and correcting and rebuking and training in righteousness so that the man of God might be fully equipped. So use the Word in all of those ways. But in the end, let others face God and decide. Make them face God and decide. Don't let them lean on you to the point where they don't have to face Him.

Healthy, devoted relationships—they will prepare and equip you to deal with the pressures, the pain, the agony, the failures, the temptations on "level one," as well as with the total assault of the enemy as he pours out his wrath on "level two." We're going to need those relationships. But they will have to be not just devoted relationships, but healthy, devoted relationships if we are to outwit and totally humiliate satan.

We need Calvary relationships: going to the cross for one another, not telling one another what to do.

I'm not saying that unhealthy stuff is happening now. But there can be a tendency for any of us, when we see somebody who's really about to make a mess of things, to think, "I know that I need to be devoted enough to this person to try to stop them from destroying themselves," but then to panic.

The right response likewise can't be, "Oh, let the Holy Spirit take care of it." Meanwhile, while most are sitting back, a third of the teenage girls in youth groups have either got pregnant by age fifteen or have got themselves in serious enough trouble that they easily could have been pregnant. Satan has totally ransacked Christendom while people have said, "Let the Holy Spirit do it." Well, the Bible that the Holy Spirit wrote says things like:

  1. "Admonish one another daily so that none are hardened and deceived by sin." (Hebrews 3:13)
  2. "How can people have faith in the Lord and ask Him to save them, if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?" (Romans 10:14)
  3. "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
  4. "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." (2 Corinthians 1:21)

So relationships are absolutely necessary, according to the Word of God. But at the same time, be sure that you don't cross the line into being overbearing and robbing them of their own chance to meet God and to make choices before Him. Then be there for them to love them and help them pick up the pieces. Do be thoroughly involved, but don't panic when somebody is about to make a mistake and therefore rob them of an opportunity to face God and make their own choices.

There'll be times when you'll need to be really animated with them, we'll say, in the application of the Word of God. Certain brothers and I have had some great times together—highly animated times in the Word of God. Many of us have done the same at different times. And that's okay. But in the end, you need to push people away from you and towards God, having thoroughly "equipped them for every good work" to the best of your ability. Let them face God and make their own choices. What changes the heart is to behold Him and then to be transfigured with ever-increasing glory by the Lord, who is the Spirit. The seed of God is the Word, and we need to allow Him to give the increase to it. Okay?

Healthy, devoted relationships—it's an important topic. Consider what's yet to come, the wrath that will be poured out against God's people, perhaps towards the end of our generation, maybe right in the middle of the next generation. We're just going to have to be ready for it. So make sure you have devoted relationships, but also make sure they're healthy, not the counterfeit of being overbearing or controlling relationships.

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