As promised in the last post, this week we are diving into connecting with others. Did you know God created human beings for relationship? Relationship with Him—as we saw last week in our look at our connection to the Vine—and relationship with others. God doesn’t intend His children to be loners.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Genesis 2:18, 21-24
God Himself instituted marriage between a man and a woman. He has blessed me with almost thirty-eight years of wedded bliss with my high school sweetheart, Hershel. Well, not always bliss—let’s be real. If you’re married, you understand.
Along with some amazingly wonderful times together over the years, we’ve also endured some equally difficult times. Had I listened to my flesh during those hard times, rather than the Lord, I wouldn’t still be married today. Marriage is hard. Can I get an amen?
We’re all unique individuals with differing personalities and ideas on nearly every situation a couple faces—finances, parenting, where to live, who to spend holidays with, what house or car to buy, where to eat dinner, and even which way the toilet paper should roll. Some of these differences are minor and cause mild disagreements, and others are serious and can lead to the breakdown of the relationship.
Working through our differences when life is moving along fairly smoothly is hard enough, but throw in an illness, job loss, a major move, a wayward child—and you fill in the blank—coming to an agreement can be downright impossible. This is when our relationship to The Vine is even more important. Without connection to God and a willingness to humble ourselves and give grace to our partner, pride can prevent the marriage from growing and flourishing. Humility is God’s design for His children.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. Ephesians 4:2-4
This scripture not only applies to marriage, but to people within the church. God not only created us for the marriage relationship, but to connect with other believers. Fellowship with like-minded Christians is vital to our walk with Christ.
But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
I’ve heard it said that America is no longer a Christian nation, that we are now in the age where a generation of children have no living relatives who were ever active in a local church. That’s a sad state of affairs. Not only are children missing out on the solid foundation of truth attending a Bible-believing church provides, they are growing up without the blessing of fellowship with a group of people who care for them with Christ’s love, a network of support to rally together when the rocky times come.
And adults who aren’t connected to a local church are missing out on that, too.
Maybe in the church world you’ve heard the term “one another passages.” The Greek term for one another is used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses, with 47 of those giving specific instructions to followers of Jesus. I found this information, along with a list of the verses, at this website if you’d like to check them out.
The bottom line is, we can’t live out the one another commands if we aren’t connected to other believers. As an introvert, sometimes this is a challenge for me. I’m prone to curling up in my corner chair in my bedroom and shutting out the world. But that’s not God’s design for me, or for you.
Relationships are too important to God, and to our spiritual well-being, to ignore the clear commands of Scripture. And when I obey the Lord and put myself out there with others, I’m always glad I did. The joy and blessing of sweet friendship with God’s people can’t be beat.
So, what will you do in response?
Join the conversation. Are you connected to a local church family? How has staying linked with others helped you grow in your walk with the Lord? Do you think you would be where you are spiritually today without the fellowship of other believers? What advice can you offer to those struggling in their marriage, or to build relationships with others?