I meant to share these words last week, but I could not find the words. I needed to be still, to listen, to pay attention. And I did.
Relationships break sometimes. If they do not break completely, and the good ones often do not, they have moments of brokenness laced in with the moments of wholeness.
We are seeing that in our country now more than ever.
Mankind will never love his neighbor perfectly (and we should not expect him to), but there is a big problem when he does not love his neighbor at all.
Brave men and women are rising up all over the world right now. Though many see a divide growing between peoples, races, religions, and political parties, I see something else.
I see reconciliation happening all over the world. I see people of kinds coming together to say that racism is wrong. They are choosing to love their neighbors, ALL of their neighbors.
Change is happening.
But at the heart of change is a change of the heart.
All change is temporary and superficial if change does not happen within us.
In the last blog, we talked about how to know that our love of self is not in a healthy place, that our relationship with ourselves is broken. But now we need to take a look at the relationship we have with God.
When our relationship with God is broken, we are broken.
The most obvious way to gauge how this relationship is doing is by paying attention to how we love others.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
I have not always loved well, I’ll admit.
I do have a selfish bone in my body, and it is a prominent one.
I rarely think of others’ needs before I think of my own, and I am not a very intentional friend. Loving self feels easy for the most part. Loving God has been my story and my song for as long as I can remember. But loving people? It does not come as easily to me.
How can my relationship with God be in a good place if I do not love people as I love my myself, as God has loved me?
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
I have had to look at my relationship with God under a microscope a bit lately. I have had to ask myself some hard questions, some uncomfortable questions. But the first step of change is awareness, and God is showing me things in my life and in my heart that are breaking instead of building. He is exposing what does not belong, and He is pruning it away.
And He is changing my heart.
I want us all to go on this same journey with God, to ask Him to show us the truth, to show us how our relationship with Him needs to change. To heal us. To restore.
So I simply want to help you see some of the major signs that our relationship with God is struggling. May we open our heart to change. May we commit to growth.
Because our relationship with God is the foundation of all other relationships. If we cannot allow Him to change our hearts, bigger change will never happen.
Signs our relationship with God is unhealthy
1. Little to no love for others: a focus only on self or choosing to love only some and not all people
2. Dishonesty with God: inability to share honestly with Him about what you feel and think
3. Seeking Him only during hard times: forgetting to be grateful in the beautiful moments
4. Lacking knowledge of who God is: a superficial idea of what and who He is and a lack of interest in finding out more
5. Reading and picking only the scriptures that align with what we want to believe: instead of believing the whole Bible as truth
6. Suffering (or missing) prayer life: the foundational practice of prayer is not a part of one’s life
7. Missing evidence, like the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control
8. Speaking only, no listening: a thriving prayer life involves speaking and listening
9. No belief in God: if there is no belief, no faith, there is no relationship with God
10. No life change: living and doing the same things as one did before following Jesus
You can probably think of a few more, but I want us all to reflect on each of these. I pray that Jesus exposes and changes and heals and draws near so that the foundation of all of our relationships is strong. I pray that our change goes deeper than we ever imagined so that outward and widespread change can happen.
I confess that my relationship with you
Is in need of your restoration and healing.
Will you draw me close?
Will you expose things in my life and in my heart
That are breaking instead of building?
Will you rebuild?
May our intimacy deepen.
May my heart change.
In Jesus’ Name,
Walk through each of these questions.
Go a step further and write one thing in the next couple of weeks that you can do to grow in each item.
1. How do I demonstrate my love for others (including those who do not love in return, those I am not close to, or those who are different than me)?
2. Am I honest with God in my prayer life about how I am doing?
3. Do I remember and thank God for who He is?
4. Do I know God? Do I try to know Him in a deeper way?
5. Do I read one verse at a time or the whole passage? Do I read all books of the Bible or just some that I like?
6. How often am I spending time in prayer?
7. Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in my life?
8. Do I spend time in silence in my times of prayer?
9. Do I believe that God is who He says, that Jesus died and rose for me?
10. Does my life look different from those who don’t believe? Am I still doing things that I did before I started following Jesus?
Here are some good resources to get you started. There are endless resources to help you grow, but I will share some of my favorite. *P.S. As an Amazon Affiliate, you are supporting me with purchasing from the links below.