As human beings, we thrive when we’re in happy, joyful relationships with others. This is important to God, because He never created us to be alone. God wants us to have joy in all our relationships; this is possible when we accept His love for us. He can bless all our friendships with our loved ones when we first develop a relationship with Him.
God makes no secret of how He feels about us. “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8, NIV). His love knows no limits or time constraints. He wants to be present in our relationships at all times. Sensing His presence is what gives us our joy.
Relationships can be formed for many different reasons, but not all of them are the right reasons. Some people become friends out of insecurity, emotional neediness, or a need to dominate others. None of these have godly love as the driving force. Successful relationships are guided by the Word of God. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV).
God wants the fruit of the Spirit to grow in all our relationships. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). These are qualities that are absent in many worldly relationships. Putting Him, instead of ourselves, in the center brings forth these qualities for all to see. Believers who know their God are in a unique position to demonstrate successful relationships to the world.
This is what God offers us; we’re blessed with successful relationships when we build them on Jesus Christ. By contrast, many of the toxic relationships we see around us are not built on godly values, but on worldly values. Getting trapped in the strife and negativity these relationships produce is bad for the spirit and the soul. “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28, NLT). Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re gossiping and causing trouble; these are the kinds of people we need to stay away from.
Strife, jealousy, and envy greatly damage healthy relationships; we must avoid them at all cost. These emotions divide families and end friendships. The quality of our lives will be much better when we’re alert enough to see them brewing and actively avoid them.
We can start off with the best of intentions but fall in with the wrong crowd. Spending too much time with people who don’t have a godly mindset drags us down. This is spiritually dangerous to the Christian. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV). The world is hostile to God; we therefore must always be on our guard against evil influences corrupting our relationships.
The world is full of emotional hazards and dangers to the believer. Using God’s Word as a shield against them gives us the advantage. Practicing diligence in this area by pursuing a relationship with Jesus, first and foremost, positions us for intangible rewards the world will never know.