Making Room for Relationships

John 15:7-17

Jesus tells us we can have whatever we ask on one condition: that we abide in his love. Abiding in his love means to dwell within the shelter of his loving character. His love is our home, the place we are welcomed, safe and our needs are met. From this place of being totally encompassed by the love of Jesus, what could possible be missing from our life that we would need to ask for? The answer: relationships.

The relationship Jesus experienced with his father is the model for our relationships, with God and with one another. Our scripture today paints a picture of such friendships.

Healthy and fruitful relationships require a connection to a source of love that is greater than our human affections. When we are convinced that we are completely loved and totally provided for, we are free to love the other without a hidden agenda. We can offer ourselves in love to the other for who they are, not who we need them to be. Love abounds. How can you ground yourself in God’s great and abiding love for you? Make the conscious decision to offer yourself in love to someone today, without expectation of return. How does this feel?

Jesus’ love led him to lay down his life for his friends. That probably won’t be the case in our relationships, but sacrifices will need to be made. Putting another’s interest above our own (Phil 2) means we may not get our way. Ouch. But we love in the same manner of Jesus when we suffer such self denial. In what way can you lay down your life for your friend? (Letting them choose the restaurant, giving them the comfortable chair.) Practice this today and notice how it impacts the nature of your friendship.

Jesus shared with his friends all he had heard from his Father, we should also share with one another the way God is working in our hearts. Take the risk of moving a casual conversation to a deeper level, tell a friend what God is teaching you about the life of the Kingdom. This is the path to deeper, more fruitful friendships.

We are not God, we do not have the capacity to love all people equally; but we can choose a few friends who we can commit to loving as best we can, offering them a physical reminder of God’s tender and present love. As has been said, we can be “Jesus with skin on.” Who can you choose to love?

Jesus said, “This is my commandment that you love one another.” Such loving relationships produce fruit that will last throughout eternity.

With you on the journey,

Debby

Written for CBC’s weekly devotional thought.

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7 thoughts on “Making Room for Relationships

  1. Your line from the first paragraph gives me food for thought, “Abiding in his love means to dwell within the shelter of his loving character” and your application challenges help me flesh it out. Self denial can be difficult Thanks.

  2. This is great, Debby. I’m actually preaching from Romans 13-15 on becoming a loving church, and this speaks right to that. I’m also looking to publish a book on this topic of relationships (http://igg.me/at/The-Treasure-of-Heaven/x/3766832). I think the line that hit me was, “Healthy and fruitful relationships require a connection to a source of love that is greater than our human affections.” Too true. Our relationship with our Father must come first. It is the source of love for all our other relationships: family, friends, neighbors, and even enemies. Good words! Thank you.

    -Michael
    http://www.mahayward.com

  3. I really like your thought that we are are free to love without a hidden agenda when we realize how greatly we are loved by God. I often see that people have one of two paradigms one of abundance and one of scarcity. When you have a solid identity in Christ, when you truly understand God’s love, you have a paradigm of abundance- you know that you have everything to give and nothing to loose. Those that aren’t grounded live with a paradigm of scarcity. They have a constant feeling of need are look to others to fill it.

    Great post. Insightful.

    • I like your insight into abundance, your reply, along with Debby’s post, has made me rethink how my relationships, especially in my work place operate out of scarcity. It is a good challenge to see abundance and practice sacrificial love in situations in which my instinct is to compete.

  4. Neat to read this after just celebrating my wedding anniversary and telling my husband he could pick the restaurant since I usually do :) I never would have thought of that as self-denial, but I’m grateful to see God working in me even when I’m not fully aware of it! Thanks Debby for this post!

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