Growing Your God-Given Relationships

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? Did any of them concern relationships in your life?

A lot of times, our goals for the new year focus solely on ourselves—we want to lose weight, eat better, or get a promotion at work. However, our relationships are some of the most important things in our lives, yet we often neglect to actively work toward improving them.

It’s never too late to make a New Year’s resolution, especially when it’s something God calls us to do (namely, love others!). Here are some items to think about as you seek to improve your relationships this year.

Friendships

Relationships with your friends are some of the most important in your life! However, oftentimes, our friendships can fall into negativity and gossip. We might spend our time hanging out talking about others, or complaining about our current life circumstances. As Proverbs 16:28 says, “A whisperer [gossipper] separates close friends.” Gossip does not breed godly friendships, and it does not show others the same love that God has shown us.

Improvements to consider:

  • Share the Gospel with one non-Christian friend
  • Make an agreement with your friends to not gossip
  • Seek out a new friendship

Romantic Relationships

For those of us who are in a romantic relationship, that relationship is often the most important one in our life! Our significant other is often the person we spend the most time with, but with the busyness of life, we might not be as spiritually connected to that person as we wish. Talks of who does the dishes or who puts the kids to bed can take precedence over deeper spiritual conversations.

Many people have the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 read at their wedding, and these words are a good reminder for us to love our significant other and prioritize our relationship with him or her and with God.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Improvements to consider:

  • Start (or continue) praying and reading the Bible together
  • Write down goals you want to accomplish as a couple
  • Attend a small-group Bible study together

Familial Relationships

Relationships with your family are some of the most complex. Often strained, taxing, or difficult to maintain, our relationships with those we are related to can be some of the most challenging. However, no matter our family history, God calls us to love those He has placed in our lives, despite our disagreements.

As Paul says to the Ephesians:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (6:1–4)

(Note that, of course, this does not apply to every family situation. For those who have experienced abuse at the hands of a family member, distance and boundaries are often best. Talk to your pastor if you need spiritual guidance on these situations.)

Improvements to consider:

  • If you have children of your own, read a short family devotion every night
  • Call or text your parents, siblings, and grandparents once a week
  • Set healthy boundaries

Professional Relationships

For those of us who work outside of our house, we likely have to manage many professional relationships—whether with subordinates, co-workers, or managers. Our call as God’s people is to love them no matter what, while still working hard and doing our job to the best of our ability. You may have to make difficult decisions, but you can still have a successful professional life as a Christian.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23–24)

Improvements to consider:

  • Set healthy work/life boundaries
  • If possible, talk to a co-worker about the Gospel
  • Pray for those you work with

Want to learn how to serve those in your life who are in different relationships with you? Learn from Jeffrey Leininger in his book Callings for Life
Check out Callings for Life

Picture of Hannah Hansen
Written by

Hannah Hansen

Hannah is a content marketing specialist at Blue Wheel Media. She currently lives in Michigan, but previously called St. Louis home when she was a copywriter at Concordia Publishing House. On most days, you’ll find her cooking new vegan recipes, running really slowly, and laughing far too loudly.

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