Truth and Love: The Key to Relationships
Purity 445 06/15/2021 Purity 445 Podcast
Today’s photo of Lake George comes from a friend’s recent boating excursion with their child as they decided to dedicate the day to seeing the beauty of the lake and to spending some quality one on one time with their son. As awesome as a day on the lake can be by oneself, it can be even better when two people can put their troubles and personal agenda’s aside and just take delight in the sights to behold and in one another’s company.
God is a personal God and He designed us to be in relationship with one another. Relationships can be beneficial because they can help us meet each other’s needs, but they also allow us to share our experiences and love with one another. By the way, this is what our relationship with God is supposed to look like too. He meets our needs, but He also wants you to share your experiences and love with Him.
But anyway, all relationships can thrive when the parties are honest with one another and I’m not just talking about facts and figures, I’m talking about thoughts and emotions too.
Many of our relationship problems come from dishonesty or from misunderstanding one another’s motivations. We can’t read one another’s minds. So taking time to talk with one another about what’s going on in life, and in our hearts and minds, can help us to avoid misunderstandings and bring us closer together.
I attend a group this evening whose core is based on honesty and mutual support. The forum allows for people to take off their masks and to speak honestly about their situations, thoughts, and emotions. As we have continued to meet and be vulnerable with one another, a real sense of community has developed.
In recovery circles, they say we are only as sick as our secrets. Although all the problems and situations the members of the group are facing haven’t necessarily been solved in the six weeks we have been meeting, I believe that we are all a little bit healthier than where we were when we started, because if nothing else, we have a support that we didn’t have before. The word says that one of the benefits of confession is healing and the Lord is using our group to make that happen.
And that’s the key to successful relationships: the truth, according to God, and love.
We can’t be truly honest without God because He is the author of truth. He determines what is right and true. However, God is also love. He doesn’t use the truth to hurt us, but He will lovingly guide us to align our lives with His truth because it is the way we were made to be. Living according to His truth is the best way to live.
Telling the truth is sometimes called “keeping it real” and we can’t be right with God, or each other, and not be real.
I know from experience that God will make you be real to be right with Him and I also know that to keep the peace and harmony we have with God that we have to keep on “keeping it real” by being honest with Him and continuing to live according to His wisdom.
Likewise, to keep the peace and harmony we have with others we must find that fine balance of truth and love. That’s a lot harder with people than it is with God, because people are less than perfect. We are all on different paths of understanding and maturity and we differ in the amount of truth and love that we are capable of. Some people don’t have the truth. Some people can’t handle the truth. And others won’t or can’t accept the truth.
So in all our relationships, we must remember the Lord’s command to love one another. We may have to adjust the amount of truth we dispense but we can always love as Christ did.
Jesus told us to love our enemies but the love we show our enemies may look very different from the love we show to our close friends or family. To keep peace we must use the wisdom and compassion the Lord has given us to find the balance of love and truth in each relationship we face.
We won’t do it perfectly, but we can learn as we go. God will show us the way and He will be with us as we take each step into our new lives in Christ.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Today’s verse is every Christians call to action from Jesus Himself. I
It also shows me that the Lord has a sense of humor as it was only yesterday that my “random” draw of the verse of the day drew Matthew 28:20. So it appears that we are going backwards in the book of Matthew!
But seriously, I believe the Lord interacts with our daily experience because He is sovereign and is in relationship with us. As a sovereign God, He is over and above all creation, directing the course of history for His purposes, and that includes the part we play in His plan too.
As He one day called me out of darkness and unbelief and has since been guiding me to increasing levels of sanctification and understanding, I choose to believe that His presence in my life never ends. So when I, or you, if you also believe the Lord is with you, receive a Bible verse, message, or theme, that keeps on coming up in our experience, I choose to believe that the Lord is telling me something.
So what is the Lord telling us? Well, we are to go make disciples. That means we will have to speak about our faith and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to other people. We should take every opportunity to let others know, with our words and actions, that we represent the kingdom of God and are ambassadors for Christ. We are to live our lives in a way that people know we are Christians that live by faith.
I know sharing our faith can be difficult when we focus on how we feel or how we may be perceived by others, but the key to sharing our faith is to just speak the truth about what the Lord has done in our lives and the lives of other Christians that you know.
Revelation says we overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony, so quote John 3:16 and explain that Jesus was sent to save us. After you do that, tell people how He saved you and what He has done in your life. Leave the results up to God and whether they accept Christ as Savior or not, be pleased that you were faithful to God’s command.
Our lives of faith are walking expressions of God’s mercy, grace, and love. All we have to do is tell people our story and be prepared to have the Lord use us for His glory.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 3.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support His work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Theology Before Practicality
The experiences of Claire and Derek illustrate the importance of establishing our Christian lives on what we believe instead of how we behave. We need a firm grip on the truth of God's Word before we will experience much success at practical Christianity. We need to understand who we are as a result of who God is and what He has done. A fruitful Christian life is the result of living by faith according to what God said is true.
The problem is that we try to base our spiritual growth and maturity on practical sections of the Scriptures and spend too little time internalizing the doctrinal sections. For example, Paul's letters tend to fall into two major parts. The first part is generally called the doctrinal section, such as Romans 1-8; Ephes. 1-3; Col. 1-2 and so on. These sections reveal what we need to know about God, ourselves, sin and salvation. The second half of the letters is the practical section: Romans 12-15; Ephes. 4-6; Col. 3-4 and so on. These passages describe what we need to do to live our faith in daily experience.
In our zeal to correct the problems in our lives, we skip the doctrinal first half and jump to the practical second half of God's Word. We want a quick fix, a rule or instruction we can apply like a Band-Aid to make things better. We don't have time to wade through the deep theological concepts of Scripture; we want a practical solution and we want it now.
Perhaps you have already discovered that a Band-Aid approach to daily living doesn't work. Why not? Because you need an adequate foundation of truth to live a practical life of faith. How can you hope to "stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Ephes. 6:11) if you have not internalized that you are already victoriously "raised . . . up with Him, and seated . . . with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (Ephes. 2:6)?
How can you rejoice in hope and persevere in tribulation (see Romans 12:12) without the confidence of knowing you have been justified by faith and "have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1)? When your basic belief system about God and yourself is shaky, your day-to-day behavior system will be shaky. When your belief system is intact and your relationship with God is based on truth, however, you will have very little trouble working out the practical aspects of daily Christianity.
Positional and Progressive Sanctification
Most Christians are aware that salvation for the believer is past, present and future tense. By that, I mean we have been saved (past tense; see Ephes. 2:4, 5, 8), we are being saved (present tense; see 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15) and someday we shall fully be saved from the wrath that is to come (future tense; see Romans 5:9, 10; Romans 13:11). We have not yet experienced the totality of salvation, but I believe we can have the assurance of it.
Paul says, "You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory" (Ephes. 1:13, 14). John says, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).
In reference to the believer, sanctification is also past, present and future tense. We have been sanctified (past tense, see 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Peter 1:3, 4), we are being sanctified (present tense, see Romans 6:22; 2 Cor. 7:1) and we shall someday be fully sanctified (future tense, see 1 Thes. 3:12, 13; 1 Thes. 5:23, 24). The doctrine of sanctification begins at our new birth and ends in our glorification. Past-tense sanctification is usually referred to as positional sanctification, and refers to the position or the status the believer has in Christ. Present-tense sanctification is referred to as progressive or experiential sanctification.
The positional truth of who we are in Christ is real truth and it is the only basis for the progressive sanctification that follows. Just as the past reality of salvation is the basis for the present-tense working out of our salvation, so is our position in Christ the basis for our growth in Christ. In other words, we are not trying to become children of God; we are already children of God who are becoming like Christ.
It is my firm belief that if we fully appropriated the first half of Paul's Epistles, which establish us in Christ, we would naturally (or supernaturally) live the second half. For a comprehensive study of sanctification see The Common Made Holy, which I had the privilege to coauthor with Dr. Robert Saucy.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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