Strategy 10: Your Relationships (Fervent Bible Study Blog #11)
I had half of this blog completed this morning, then I needed to go to the chiropractor and run errands. My errands led me right next to my church. The Holy Spirit started tugging on my heart to stop for prayer. After all, they have invited us to do so on social media and, well, my head felt like it was going to explode last night while I was reading this chapter. I decided it was time to do what James 5 calls us to and seek the prayers of the leaders of the church.
One of the female pastors sat with me, listened to the story of my accident, and then prayed over me. It was an awesome prayer. A prayer filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. I thanked her, and as we made conversation on the way to the door, she said something that made me pause. That’s when I admitted I’d been struggling with more than physical pain. She did what any good leader and sister in Christ would do. She led me back to sit down and asked me to share. As I did, she didn’t condemn. She shared the truth with me. I cringed inside every time she said “You know that” because I do know. I just haven’t been living it.
“Your relationships with others will never be right until your relationship with God is right.” The words left her lips, but they were straight from the Holy Spirit. And I knew the moment she said them, that’s what God wanted to remind me of through this chapter.
In the last two years of trials and turmoil, I haven’t cherished relationships as I should. Not my relationship with God, not my relationship with my husband, not my relationships with others at my church or with my friends. I could list a dozen reasons why, yet those don’t matter now. What matters is that I make a change.
Pastor Jess encouraged me to do one thing a day toward a better relationship with God and one thing a day to improve my relationship with my husband. On the way home, I put on my worship songs and I didn’t just sing them. I sang them to the Lord. The tears came with Control by Tenth Avenue North. The entire song spoke to my struggles, but the chorus broke me.
“God, You don’t need me, but somehow You want me.
Oh how You love me, somehow that frees me to take my hands off of my life and the way it should go.
God, You don’t need me, but somehow You want me.
Oh how You love me, somehow that frees me to open my hands up and give you control.”
Surrendered to Him, I came home and fought with my husband. Yep, you read correctly. I cried, yelled, and then felt awful. Obviously I hadn’t surrendered control to the Lord. So, I asked for my husband’s forgiveness and we prayed together.
Friends, we aren’t perfect. We are all sinners saved by grace. We are going to blow it time and time again. Then we ask for God’s forgiveness, other people’s forgiveness if necessary, and we move on to make it better.
“Prayer helps us stay focused on bigger things, on much more eternal things than the petty stuff that threatens to puff itself up beyond its actual size and becomes some huge deal it doesn’t deserve to be. In prayer we experience the kind of hard-fought key that unites us in an army of soldiers for Christ.” (Shirer 173)
We need to stay in that place of prayer and in His Word to cultivate a right relationship with God so we can have godly relationships with others.
I’ve had several women tell me they just don’t have close relationships, especially with ladies in the church. My response? Pray! Ask God to bring them. God wants us to do life with one another.
“Together, we are a mighty force. Satan knows that.
And by remaining united, we let him feel that.” (Shirer 171)
I started praying that five years ago. We ended up moving churches and it took me a year to make a friend. But from the first day, I felt noticed at church. I felt welcome and loved. As one year rolled into two, I became a leader at Bible study and drew closer to several women, like Pastor Jess, who love me enough not only to listen to me but to help me strive to be all God wants me to be. It’s because of how people like Jess pour into my life that I can say to you, my friend, I care about you. I want the best God has for you. And the best is drawing close to Him and His people. The cool thing about that prayer I prayed? He didn’t just bring me friends at church. He brought me a group of writer friends. Only one lives in California, but we have grown such a strong bond they were the first people I texted after my best friend and my dad died. They felt my grief even though they never knew Tammy or my dad because they know me so well. Their hearts were breaking for me.
I pray you will take the time to thank God for His love and the love of others. If your relationship with the Lord is lacking, do one thing a day to improve it. If your relationship with another person is not what it should be, do one thing a day to mend it. If you lack people who love you and will “do life” with you, pray for the Lord to bring those people. If you aren’t going to church, I’m praying you will find a body of believers who will surround you and pour into your life as you pour into the lives of others. Your job is to start going to church.
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We win, my friend. We win because God is our Father and He does the fighting for us. It’s time to show Satan that we are victorious in the lives we lead, united with other believers in Christ.
Quotes not from the Bible are taken from:
Shirer, Priscilla. “Fervent.” B & H Publishing Group, 2015.