Jesus Destroys Bad Relationships
“I tell you the truth, Jesus said to them, ‘No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.'”
When you first read the above verse, it doesn’t make sense. Leave my wife? Leave my parents? Leave my children?
That seems counterproductive to the gospel.
I’ve read these verses before, and I always assumed that Jesus was talking about missionary work, which, you could use these three verses to teach about how important missionary work is. Fulfilling the Great Commission (“Go into all the world and preach the gospel” Mark 16:15), is very important! When this is complete, Jesus is returning!
But what’s neat about the Bible is that as you grow in your relationship with and maturity in Christ, He will speak to you differently each time you read His Word.
That happened to me this morning.
Sipping my coffee as I read, “leave everything and everyone for Christ to be rewarded on the deepest level possible,” that doesn’t just mean missionary work…it also means:
Make Jesus first, above every relationship–EVERY relationship. One last time, EVERY RELATIONSHIP. Yeah, every relationship.
This is the hard part. It’s hard because we want to have Jesus as “part” of each relationship we have (or at least we should, as Christians), but so often we refuse to make Him the main ingredient.
Jesus does not approve of this.
As we live out life each day, it’s so very easy to begin to find our identity in a certain person, or relationship; a slow fade occurs which results in us making not living for God how we should, because of a bad relationship. And oh, how we love bad relationships (insert sarcastic emoji here).
What is a bad relationship? It’s a link with another person which could be friendly, or non-friendly, but, IT IS NOT BASED ON THE APPROVAL OF GOD’S SPIRIT.
As indwellers of Christ, are we willing to have relationships how He approves?
For example, are we willing to be loving, guiding leaders for our children like God wants us to be? Or are we just trying to be friends with them while ignoring our God-given responsibility of pointing them to Jesus as to how to handle our problems? Are we not holding them accountable for irresponsible behavior just so they don’t reject us? That’s a bad relationship.
Christ wants to make it better, but we must put Him above even our children. Friend, if we have Christ as the center of our lives, and our parenting as a planet which rotates around Him, only then we will be the best parents we possibly can be!
Same in your marriage, the closer you get to Jesus, the more you will learn just how valuable you truly are. In turn, you stop accepting unacceptable behavior as “normal.”
God teaches you that it is not okay for your spouse to dishonor you socially or privately. He teaches you that it is 100% unacceptable for your spouse to refuse to contribute to your family, refuse to appreciate you, or to threaten you daily with divorce when you stand up to them.
He teaches you that it is NOT okay for your spouse to be physically or emotionally intimate with anyone other than you (male or female). You do NOT have to accept this bad behavior in this bad relationship!
Why? Because you are worth more than that treatment! Your value is immeasurable! Christ at the Cross proves this!
If you will realize that you are so important to God, that He just had to send Jesus here to make sure you are taken care of, then you’ll finally have the strength to confront your spouse about changes that MUST be made!
Frankly, He gives you armor. He gives you weapons (see Ephesians 6). This armor and these weapons allow you to fight a battle in a Christ-like way. When you stand up to unacceptable behavior in a bad marriage, respectfully, and lovingly; when bombs are bursting all around you, the enemy is screaming at you night and day…it may feel like you are being defeated, BUT YOU’RE NOT!
God is keeping you safe. God is using this for good things.
When you have Jesus as your identity, He teaches you that your spouse can no longer disrespect you or behave in ways that God does not approve of. This lesson of “standing up to those who use you,” or, “how to overcome codependency,” whether it’s your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, or ANY bad relationship, it requires courage.
Courage is what will change your life. And courage is not the absence of fear, but instead, moving forward despite fear.
So if you have a relationship which was built on completely unacceptable behavior, by either you, or the other person, then expect a nuclear blast to go off when you decide to allow Jesus to live through you. Jesus requires acceptable behavior in relationships for those whom He loves. That’s you.
If they aren’t on board with you and Jesus, then, as Jesus said above, they’ll be left behind. Sure, it will hurt to get rid of bad relationships, but you know what? Jesus has something better for you.
If they reject you and Jesus, please, understand this: That relationship was not wasted! Jesus will actually use the pain that was caused from that bad relationship for your purpose! That is, if you’ll give it to Him! He will also give wisdom, character, endurance, and strength! And eventually He’ll bless you with happy, healthy, whole relationships. Loving and respectful relationships…just like the one you have with Him.
A prayer for you: Good morning to you Heavenly Father! Thanks for waking me up today! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. I can attest to loved ones beginning to not like this new version of me because they could no longer control my actions by creating fear in me through their unacceptable behavior. You have made me brave! And you did this by teaching me my value! Please do the same for all who are reading this! Thank you for letting me see that my true strength is found in responding like Christ does, and praying for those who want to cause me harm because I won’t let them do what they’ve always done. For these people here, whether it’s their spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, parent, relative, neighbor, pastor, church member, someone at work, or school–I DON’T KNOW, BUT YOU DO–give them courage to STAND UP! Give them the courage to make the changes in their lives that YOU want them to make! Give them courage to put Jesus first and to STOP accepting unacceptable behavior, or even, conducting the unacceptable behavior themselves. We can do all things through Christ in us! He gives us the strength! Amen, amen, and aaaaaamen. Thank you Jesus.
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