The key to any successful relationship, whether it be marital, dating, paternal or friendship, is a personal relationship with God. For any relationship to survive our human faults, God needs to be not only in the center of the relationship, but the very heartbeat of it.
I’ve discovered that the less I love God, the less I love others. And the less I work on becoming Christlike, the more my relationships are affected by my faults.
“Is your love growing and becoming softer, brighter, more daring, and more visible? Or is it becoming more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable, and less available? This is a very important issue, for your Christianity is only as real as your love is.” —Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds
I’ve been reading about spiritual warfare lately as I’ve felt attacks in various areas of my life, including my dating relationship. I’ve been fighting my own battles with fear and anxiety that certainly affected our relationship, but my fiancé and I noticed other areas that left us vulnerable for attack.
We managed to let our faults take precedence over our communication, and that made us an easy target. God blesses us with an abundance of good things that Satan wants to destroy. Scripture tells us that he comes like a thief in the night to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).
In his book, Frangipane makes a statement that has stayed with me for over a week. He writes that “Satan dines on what we withhold from God.” Our issues that we fail to work on with God leave us vulnerable. Conflict grows out of the areas we fail to submit to God.
When we stare our faults in the face, humble ourselves, repent of them and submit them to God, they are no longer a foothold for Satan. In relationships, this means we admit when we’ve done wrong, and we work to change. We recognize the blame doesn’t always belong to the other person. We contribute to the mess.
We should be as bold as David in asking God to search our hearts and reveal any areas we haven’t submitted to God. We should ask God to keep making us more and more like Christ. When we humble ourselves, growth happens. There is less conflict and better communication. There is more honesty and less judgment.
Those areas we withhold or try to hide from God affect our ability to love and love well. I know I’ve discovered lately that I let fears, selfishness and conditional love obstruct my relationships from any growth, and it only gets better when I stare them down, tell them “no,” and submit them to God.
“You see, the kingdom of God is most perfectly revealed in our relationships to one another … The people who possess the kingdom of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other’s faults. They help each other become what God has called them to be: the living body of Jesus Christ.” —Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds
What weaknesses in your life have you noticed affecting your relationships? Submit them to God, ground yourself in solid Christian community, and watch your relationships thrive.