Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Joddi-Jay Babcock

Joddi-Jay BabcockJoddi-Jay Babcock is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God with over 25 years of church and non-profit organizational experience. She and her husband, Jonathan, reside in Grandview, Washington, where they have pastored Family Life Church for the past 16 years. They raised five children, and are the proud grandparents of twin girls. Joddi-Jay earned her Masters in Organizational Leadership, and is the Executive Director of Life Choices Yakima. In her free time, Joddi-Jay likes to write. Her blog is found at ThriveLeadershipResources.com

 

I confess…I am a hard core introvert. I like my alone time. I used to think I was made for hermit living. Nothing sounded better than a life of solitude. No people. No distractions. Just Jesus and me.

You see, I loved Jesus and what He had done in me. In fact, I remember thinking as a young bride of 18 that I was a pretty good Christian. I had trusted Christ a few years earlier and had experienced a dramatic turnaround. The Lord had healed some very broken places in my heart, and I was truly changed. I grew dramatically in faith, and was amazed at the transformation that had occurred. I had become a nice, loving, and patient person. I allowed the qualities of the Holy Spirit to shine through me most of the time.

God uses relationshipsHowever, when my children came along, my faith was seriously tested. In the context of daily relationships, I found it difficult to maintain a stable Spirit-led walk. I caught myself thinking often, “If it weren’t for my kids, I would be a good Christian.” Later my thoughts morphed to, “If it weren’t for this congregation, I would be a good minister.” But people were not the problem. My thoughts needed to be renewed.

There is a time for solitude, to step back from the demands of life. But I had seriously underestimated the power of relationships. Believe it or not, in spite of the challenges that close proximity produces, we were created for relationships.

Consider the creation story in Genesis. After Adam was created, God said it was not good for man to be alone. This was before the fall. Adam was in the unblemished perfection of the garden where he enjoyed communion with the Father, and yet God said it was not good for him to be alone. Wasn’t walking with God enough? Even in this paradise, Adam needed human relationship. Eve was created for companionship and intimacy. Unfortunately after the fall, relationship was still necessary, but had fallen from God’s original design.

We’ve all experienced the double edged sword of relationships. Relationships can be beautiful, inspiring, inviting, healing. They can also be difficult, stressful, painful, broken. No matter what the quality of our relationships, God will masterfully use them for our transformation, to help us live and love like Jesus…if we let Him.

God uses relationships to reveal what’s inside us. “God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me” (Psalm 51:10 ISV). It’s easy to be kind or loving when we’re alone. However, when we encounter people who rub us the wrong way, we can see the areas where we do not allow the Holy Spirit to control us. A response of impatience or harshness tells us that we need more of Jesus. Negative reactions show us the condition of our heart.

God uses relationships to help us grow. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). Mature believers offer their wisdom from walking with Jesus. Young believers inspire us by their passion. Doing life with others can be a source of encouragement as we learn better ways to follow Jesus. Even difficult people can be examples of what not to do.

What does God want to do in your life through relationships? What is He revealing about your inner self? How is He challenging you to grow?

 


 

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