Life Coaching For Christians

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Empowering Relationships

by Omaudi Reid

Humankind is a relational being. We were created to relate to God and to others. Relationships can and should be deeply enhance our way of living.. Children's relationship with parents brings nurture and growth. Siblings can be a tremendous support for each other throughout life. And married couples can be great partners through the journey of life. We all need relationships that empower our lives. In this article, we will talk about the relationships that are crucial to our spiritual lives, that bring spiritual growth.

It goes without saying that a vital relationship with Christ is the number one priority in our Christian life. In His image we are being transformed daily through the work of the Holy Spirit. By his power we are delivered daily from the sins and evils that would hinder us from being effective children of God. And in that Christ suffered temptations and overcame, He is able to help us in our temptations. He identifies with our weaknesses and sorrows, and is well able to stand with us through any difficulty. So we can boldly come to him in prayer.
However any true relationship with God will overflow into relationships with others. Or to put it another way, the Spirit of God moves us to build relationships with others in the body of Christ. And through these relationships God appoints means of edification.

The most basic of these relationships are formed in fellowship with other believers. Unlike commonly thought and practiced by many, fellowship is more than just going to church, or being a church member. Truly, it means to be an active, interacting member in the church body. Thus, to be empowered in fellowship, we must be a part of a community of Christians that actively practices the "one-another" scriptures.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

In the above scripture believers are encouraged to assemble themselves together. But to stop at that is to miss the point of the assembling. Verse twenty-four tells us to "consider one another", and verse 25 says to "exhort one another". Fellowship involves mutual encouragement, edification and ministering one to another. We ought to be actively engaged in encouraging, and receiving encouragement from our brother and sisters in Christ.
Within fellowships, God often opens the door to ministry partnerships. This is when God brings together different forms of ministry gifts to mutually empower and equip each other. For example, when Saul, the first king of Israel, was anointed to be king, he met a company of prophets; upon meeting them, the Spirit of prophecy came upon him, and he began to prophesy. By being in company with the prophetic gift, God imparted the same manifestation in the life of Saul. (I Samuel 10:5-10)

The body of Christ is diverse, with different gifts. When we partner together, and use our gifts to encourage each other, we are empowered to do greater things for the kingdom of God. And spiritual gifts are added to our lives. (Romans 1:11-12) Ephesians 4:11-12 lists the equipping ministries in the body of Christ: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. They equip the body to do the work of the ministry. Romans 12:4-8 lists ministry gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers to use to advance the work of the ministry. I Corinthians 12:4-11 lists the charismatic gifts, which the Holy Spirit gives as He will for the benefit of the body of Christ. No member is greater than another member of the body of Christ because of their gifts. Rather, God gives them for us to edify each other in love.

Instead of avoiding each other due to different gifts of the Spirit, we ought to work together for the building up of the body of Christ.

Beyond fellowship and ministry partnerships, God may allow us to have friendship with others. Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and David were close friends. As a sign of their friendship, Jonathan gave David his own robe, and royal garments, including his sword. By clothing David with his own royal garments, he was in effect showing that David was like a brother to him. Only those of royal blood should be allowed to wear a prince's garments; Jonathan was saying, David you're like a brother to me, you should be wearing royal garment. (I Samuel 18:1-4) True friends care for each other like brothers.

I Samuel 18:1 .. the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

A true friend will stick by you through all the circumstances of life.(Proverbs 17:17 He or she will faithfully and lovingly confront you when you are wrong. (Proverbs 27:6) Good friends bring cheer to the heart; they help you maintain an optimistic and encouraging perspective. (Proverbs 27:9)

Iron sharpens iron. No two people are exactly alike; thus, friends can strengthen you in your areas of weakness, while you strengthen them in their weaknesses. Two good friends who are focused on fulfilling God's will, can help keep each other focused on their destiny in life.
To make good friends, one must be friendly.(Proverbs 18:24) And, we should carefully choose who we allow to be close to us.

So far we mainly have been exploring linear relationships between people. God also wants us to have leaders over us and be leaders to others. To grow in Christ, and understand the calling of God, God will place spiritual parents in the life of believers. Spiritual parents are those who take up the responsibility to disciple a believer in the faith, or to mentor them in their spiritual growth and calling. This may be an older believer leading a new believer into a mature relationship with Christ. It may be a pastor or some other kind of church leader.

The spiritual parent does some or all of the following: disciples a new believer until they become mature in the faith (Galatians 4:19, I Corinthians 4:15); unleashes another believers potential and spiritual gifts through a mentoring relationship (II Timothy 1:1-6); they will warn you of danger (I Corinthians 4:14); they will patiently work with you to maturity (Galatians 4:19).
Using the term "spiritual parent" is a means of showing the kind of nurturing relationship the believer and that mentor has. (I Thessalonians 2:1-10) It does not mean that the spiritual parent has any kind of ownership over another believer. At different periods of a believer’s life, they may have this kind of relationship with a different spiritual leader. As a new believer, a spiritual parent would be a discipler. Later in a believer’s life, a spiritual parent may lead in giving birth to a new ministry, or provide crucial guidance in a spiritual challenge.
Within this relationship, having a spiritual parent as a discipler is very important. Every believer should have a period where a more mature believer disciples them in the fundamentals of their relationship with Christ. If you are a new believer, seek a mature believer in your church to mentor you in your new found faith. Believers who understand and have experienced the rudiments of the Christian faith should seek to disciple new believers in the faith. All believers are called to disciple others. (Matthew 28:19-20)

God provides other vertical relationships in our lives that may not be as involved like the spiritual parent relationship. God may place these instructors in our lives at different periods. They include counselors who counsel for specific situations; someone who gives a word of advice; a teacher who instructs us; or a stranger who gives us a word that affects our lives. God brings people like this in our lives, but we often don't recognize their significance. God may allow you to bring instructions to the lives of others. Take the time to share with other the things you have learned. (Titus 2:2-7, 2 Timothy 2:2)

All relationships are mutual. We must recognize the role God has given us in a relationship; you may be there to receive, or to give. We really should always be giving and receiving. Giving encouragement in fellowship, and receiving encouragement; being empowered by another's ministry, and empowering others with your gifts; leading others to maturity in Christ, and following the spiritual leadership of another; receiving insights from others around you, and giving insights to change someone's life. Strong and healthy relationships helps us to overcome temptation, and conquer trials.

..............About the Author..............
Omaudi Reid is the owner of HarvestersOnline, and author of
Creating Unbreakable Bonds. Passionate for God, he has been preaching and teaching for several years. He is happily married to Guerline Reid with three children. Find out more about him here.


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