JESUS ON RELATIONSHIPS (9 Truths to Build Incredible Relationships)
Jesus was the Master relationship builder. He gives us the secret to all relationships, beginning with our relationship with God. Consider the back story. A Scribe was impressed with the way Jesus addressed His critics. Trying to entrap Him, he asked, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus quoted the Shema, a statement of faith found in Deuteronomy 6:4:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). These verses of Scripture demonstrate that there are two primary relationships in life—vertical and horizontal, God and people. They are in chronological order; loving God is first and foremost; which then allows you to love others the way God intends for you to love them.
Jesus first focuses on the vertical relationship, your relationship with God. He tells us we are to love the Lord God. This love is a supernatural love that comes only when a man is born again. You are to enthusiastically love God with your emotions, your will, and your mind, always considering ways you can express that love to Him; and with your body, using your body to glorify Him.
Then Jesus focuses on our horizontal relationships, our relationship with others. Your neighbor is anyone and everyone. You are to demonstrate the love of God to everyone you meet.From these two verses there are nine practical principles for building incredible relationships:
- There are Two Relationships in Life—Vertical and Horizontal
Those two relationships are with God and others. Men, it is God and your wife; God and your children; God and your friends; and God and the people with whom you work. That means everything else—circumstances, problems, things, money, schedules, is not as important as relationships.
- The Vertical Relationship Must Have Priority
Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. If this doesn’t have priority, there will be problems in the horizontal relationships. No one must come ahead of God or instead of God. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
- The Vertical Relationship Determines Your Horizontal Relationships
What you do with God impacts your relationship with others. If there is a horizontal issue, with someone; check first to determine if your relationship with God is right. When you love God the way Jesus says to, you will be your best with your relationships, beginning with your wife and children. With a right vertical relationship, you have the capacity to love and forgive others.
- The Vertical Relationship is Best Demonstrated in Your Horizontal Relationships
Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). If you want to know how much someone loves God, observe the way he treats others. If I truly love God, it will be evident in the way I treat others. If you treat people unfairly, take advantage of them, aren’t kind to them, gossip about them, am jealous of them, it indicates a vertical problem.
- The Vertical Relationship Gives You Power to Deal With Relationships that Are Strained or Broken
When you are right with God, you have the grace, wisdom and sensitivity to deal with broken and strained relationships. He gives you divine insight into what to say, what not to say, and the timing of saying it.
- If a Horizontal Relationship Takes Priority Over the Vertical Relationship Expect Trouble
If you put your wife, children, or friendships ahead of God, that relationship will experience difficulties that would not happen if God had been placed first.
C.S. Lewis said: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving toward the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased” (PreachingToday.com).
- The Vertical Relationship Must Be Maintained or Else it will Get Weaker
There is a continual pull away from this vertical relationship—your relationships with God. You have to daily maintain this relationship through an open Bible, a bended knee, confessing sin, being controlled with the Holy Spirit, being in God’s House on Sunday, surrounding yourself with Godly influences, and guarding your heart against Satan’s temptations.
- The Right Vertical Relationship Gives You A Concern for the Spiritual Condition of Those in Your Horizontal Relationships
When the vertical is right, you will be concerned about those in your world, your sphere of influence. You will be concerned about their eternal destiny. You will pray for them. You will help them see Jesus. You will love them into understanding their need for Jesus Christ.
- The Right Vertical Relationships Gives You the Proper Perspective of You
Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus isn’t talking about selfishness or a me-first attitude. He is speaking about a healthy self-love that realizes God loves you and you are valuable in His sight and that you matter. You have a unique purpose designed by Him. When you have the right vertical relationship, you won’t be self-centered. It won’t be all about you. You won’t hate yourself or desire to hurt yourself when the vertical relationship is right.
Today, review these nine truths and ask yourself, “Which one’s do I need to work on?” Applying these principles will bring you some incredible relationships.