When it comes to relationships, I strive to protect and maintain the unity within them. Why? Because relationships consist of people, and people matter to the heart of God (and to mine as well). Within His very being we see relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And relationships matter not only in heaven, but also here on earth (as God’s creation). God Himself has overwhelmed us with a relentless love that reconciles us to Him, which serves as a powerful demonstration of the importance of unity.
“Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:3-6
As Christians, we must invest well into the lives of the people God has given us because relationships matter. Yet, the idea of protecting unity within our relationships is commonly glazed over in today’s world. Often, we turn relationships into a means to achieve our own happiness. When they no longer work out for us, they are gently (or sometimes harshly) pushed aside.
What if we instead decided to honor God in our relationships? What if we took this privilege seriously as an opportunity to steward and invest in human hearts? I venture to guess that the resulting impact in our personal communities would be a harvest of rich fruit in the form of loyal, trustworthy, and honest friends. And God would be pleased.
Have you ever come across a person who has left behind a trail of broken hearts and bitter spirits? They can be found in ministry, the workplace, within your own group of friends, and, yes, even in dating relationships. What do you think has happened along the way? Likely, the culprits neglected their relationships by choosing not to fight and protect the unity within them. For many this is dangerously (and unfortunately) commonplace.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
After our relationship with Jesus Christ (our first priority), the second most important relationship that we will experience here on earth is in marriage. And you will have to fight hard to protect that union. With an almost holy-like maliciousness. The marriage covenant is the first place the enemy will try to attack. If he can create division, he can then create death (often in the form of a hard, bitter heart or the act of divorce). Porn creates division in the marriage union. Consistently choosing to hangout with friends over spending time with your mate creates division. Unforgiveness creates division. Criticism of your spouse (to others and/or to them personally) creates division. Constantly working long hours at the job creates division. Selfishness creates division. Being rude or mean to one another creates division.
“But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Luke 11:17
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
And (wait for this one)…thinking bad thoughts about your spouse (but never openly and prayerfully communicating) brings division. Disunity will always begin with a single thought in the mind. Always. Thoughts then rapidly build upon each other, and before long you find that you don’t really like the person you’re married to anymore.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” Romans 12:16
No career, ambition, life-long dream, or ministry vocation is ever worth pursuing in exchange for the marriage. If your marriage is less important to you than it is to God, then you may need to seriously reevaluate your heart. Unfortunately, many of you may find yourself living this truth as you read this today. Some of you have treated your spouses with such contempt and disdain that you see them as a bother (or thorn in your side) at times instead of the treasure that God has made them to be. Yet, the problem is not so much your spouse as it may be your own thinking.
I say this often, but I will say it again: you and I will never enter into a covenant with a ministry, a dream, or a vocation. If you are in any ministerial (or really any secular) position today and your marriage is hurting, then you need to drop everything that’s demanding so much of your time and energy to focus on that sacred relationship. Next to your walk with Christ, your marriage is of the utmost importance. In fact, marriage is the very representation of Christ’s relationship with the church. His love for us was more important to Jesus than life itself, and we must have the same mindset to protect unity within the covenant.
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Matthew 5:23-24
However, similar truths also apply to our friendships. Perhaps you have a friend that has hurt you or a family member that has disappointed you. Please heed to this warning: If you do not protect the relationship, then it will begin to die. A relationship is either growing or dying; it cannot stand still. Forgive the offense and do whatever you can to maintain unity with one another.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
God cares about relationships. Unity is incredibly important to Him, and He commands us to protect and defend the people that matter the most to us.
Join me tomorrow as I candidly share what God has taught me about specific steps we can take to protect unity within our communities. And please share this message with anyone that you believe could be encouraged by it. Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose today!
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