We all have people in our lives. Unless you live on a remote mountain somewhere, you must have relationships. So how do you know when a relationship will be good for you?
How can you make the most of each one?
I heard once that there are three types of relationships in the world.
- Those who will help you,
- Those who will hurt you and
- Those who just don’t matter at all.
God’s Word has an even better way of defining relationships that cuts to the heart.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Here are the people who will hurt you. What a mind picture! Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Wow. We’ve all met these people. They come in with pleasant words and a soft way but if you disagree, things get heated fast. They go from sweet-natured to mean, back biting, and gossiping or worse. These people are hard to identify with our five senses because their life is all about fooling the five senses. They smell good, look good, and act the part. So how do you avoid them? Well….we know a guy. Our Father in Heaven sees their heart. He knows if it’s black and calloused over, or if it’s made of gold. All we have to do is ask Him. Here is a helpful exercise to do during a morning “quiet time”.
- Make a list of all your significant relationships. Ask God point blank if the relationship is good for you. The key is to go to God with an unassuming and open heart. Let Him explain Himself. Remember He LOVES YOU. HE wants you blessed up and loved up, not wounded and bleeding.
- People change too. So do this exercise on a regular basis.
The rest of this section of verses is a great Litmus test for relationships of all kinds.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” vs 16-20
Verse 16 is a figure of speech called a Proverb, in other words; its a statement explaining a statement that almost everyone uses. Jesus said it here about false teachers. How many of us learn from the relationships in our lives? Almost all! Today we go to our network of social media and ask everything from what kind of spice to add to our chicken to who is a good political candidate. We are surrounded by self-proclaimed teachers and peer pressure. We also have developed social anxieties, phobias, and more from what we were taught by our peers. So how do we identify the good from the bad? How can we discern sheep from wolves?
By asking God first, then by their fruit.
Is this person lifting me up, empowering me, bringing positive perspectives and God’s love into my mind and life? Do they take me back to His Word when there’s a question? Do they challenge me to stretch my believing and have faith in God? Or….
Do they talk negative about their peers? Do they criticize and complain about anything or all things? Do they gossip? (dangerous stuff there.) Do they tear down, dissect and blame others for their condition in life?
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
FRUITS are the direct result of influence. I’ve had people who I walk away from and say, “Wow, I’m so depressed now. Why is that?” They didn’t point out one positive, they gossiped or they had a disease known as bowel optate. That’s where their outlook is connected to their bowels and they have a poopy attitude.
Relationships can be one of the biggest joys in my life or the biggest heartaches, but many times, that depends on ME.
Have you ever heard the phrase, birds of a feather flock together? We attract the kinds of people that we are most like and get along with. If I find that most of my relationships are a huge disappointment, it may be time to take a look at my reflection. How can I change things and become a person that helps people? How can I, in my relationships, lift people up? How can I change things so my fruit is pure, fun and shining bright with the love of God?
I can’t think of a better way than putting my head in the Word of God. God is the ultimate lifter. God is the Author of Light. When we look to Him our minds, hearts and lives are lightened too. This simple fact empowers and edifies us bigger than we’ve ever known. A strong relationship with God will take me to new levels in all the relationships in my life. Light dispels darkness. The “wolves” in my life will, at first, try to separate me from God but I just keep going back to Him. I stay faithful. The wolves will either have to leave or let God into their lives too. Then I can say this beautiful Psalm.
“3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited [me] in the night; thou hast tried me, [and] shalt find nothing; I am purposed [that] my mouth shall not transgress. 4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept [me from] the paths of the destroyer. 5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, [that] my footsteps slip not. 6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, [and hear ] my speech. 7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust [in thee] from those that rise up [against them]. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” Psalms 17:3-8
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Once we’ve developed our relationship with God, we’ll recognize the wolves coming a mile away and be able to avoid them. We’ll also be able to pour love and joy into the relationships we still have because we know that they are the people whose fruit is good. We’ll be making the most of every one of those relationships from here till eternity.
God bless you today.
Come join me Saturday November 2nd to learn some of the keys to walking with God such as;
- How to hear God’s voice.
- How to know God is working within you.
- And, How to operate your gift of Holy Spirit.
Click below to sign up for the $5.00 webinar and receive a free copy of my eBook, “5 Basics for Growth”.