A recent article by Chuck Swindoll encouraged that we all need three people in our lives:
1) "Someone who has gone before us" --- someone who has mentored and discipled us. A person who has encouraged us, corrected us, helped us identify our strengths and weaknesses, and who by their own life, has been a role model and led the way for us.
2) "Someone who now walks along side of us to help share the burdens." Someone we can share our hearts with: our trials, temptations, failures and successes with. Someone to pray with. Someone for mutual encouragement and accountability;
3) And "someone we can mentor and disciple." Someone we can "pay it forward" with and invest our lives into. We need them as much as they need us for our own personal growth.
So it's time to personally take stock --- do we have these three people in our lives, and if not, why not? And remember the following pointers I've learned over the years before entering into any of these relationships:
First, "Unless two agree, how shall they walk together." (Amos 3:3) This is the biblical basis of all relationships. Don't strive trying to create a relationship where God isn't putting one together --- it has to work for both of you.
Second, Jesus chose His own disciples --- after much prayer. Be prayerful about relationships we enter into;
Third, Jesus chose His disciple. they didn't choose Him. But, they had the freedom to accept or reject the offer. Don't allow others to force us into relationships we're not comfortable with or aren't a natural "fit." Manipulation, coercion and codependency are never a good basis for healthy relationships.
Fourth, Jesus had differing levels of intimacy with others:
There were "His detractors;" some who even faked friendship but were looking to hurt Him or His plans. It was a relationship based upon deception and malice.
Next, there were "the multitudes" who came and went, depending upon if they felt they were getting something out of Jesus and having their own "needs" met. It was all a one-way relationship --- Jesus gave and they took.
Next, there were "the seventy" who faithfully followed Him around desiring to learn while supporting His ministry. It was a mutually, beneficial relationship.
Next there were "the Twelve" whom He chose to take deeper and pour Himself into.
And lastly, there were "the Three" with whom He was the most intimate with (Peter, James and John)..
May I suggest that our own relationships will be similar, and it's a wise individual who knows which group both they and others are relationally members of? It can save us much pain and frustration in misinterpreting relational intimacy, and disappointment in not getting our own unrealistic, unmet expectations met.
Those who have gone before us --- those who walk along side of us --- and those we can invest ourselves into. Now, who comes to mind as we think about these three types of relationships. Are we as invested in them as they are to us? Are they invested in us as much as we a are to them?
We serve an All-wise, All-powerful and All-good God --- life is short --- and sin and neglect have serious consequences!
Pastor Bob Morgan is the founding pastor of HCCF. His pastor's "heart-cry" is to see God glorified through the liberating power of the Gospel by leading people to freedom in Christ, and positive, biblical life-change.