by Dixie Bowman
Sentry Magazine, December 2000
Earthly relationships often inspire and encourage us as we live our lives as Christians. While this is not another article about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, I would fail in my effort to write concerning relationships if I did not first mention the most intimate association of mankind, and one which God regards as second only to our relationship with Him: He, Himself compares this holy relationship to that of Christ and the church, (Ephesians 5:22-29).
Other earthly connections may suffer occasionally, but God has allowed no lack of duty in the marriage, (I Corinthians 7:35). There have been some excellent articles written regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage, based on the revelation of God's word. I will only emphasize once again that God authorized but one reason for divorce, (Mathew 5:32; Mark 19:9). The innocent party is then free to marry if he or she chooses. Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 7:2-3) that if the husband or wife be dead, the other mate is loosed from the law that bound them as husband and wife. He also taught in I Corinthians 7:39, that if the surviving partner married another, it must be "in the Lord."
It is sorrowful that some will lose their souls because they failed to honor this most sacred of relationships. If both the husband and wife would strive to put God first in their marriage, they would reap the rewards of living, sharing, and giving in the way God intended. It's simply called God's way.
If you are a parent, you have come to understand what the psalmist meant when he taught that children were a blessing of the Lord, (Psalms 127:3- 5). The blessings continue through our children's children, (Proverbs 19:18). The parent-child relationship carries with it grave responsibilities. The scriptures are filled with both instructions and warnings to both parents and children (Proverbs 1:8; 3:1; 4:1; 22:6; Ephesians 6:1, 4; Colossians 3:20; I Timothy 3:4), to name a few.
As a mother of five, the privilege of bearing children, and the opportunity to nurture and teach them has been the most fulfilling part of my life. I would gladly do it all over again if that were possible. There is nothing as thrilling as holding your little one in your arms, knowing how very helpless and dependent upon you it is. As children grow their needs change, but your love and concern for them only intensify. By the time they become adults, they need us less, but it seems we need them more. It is gratifying at this point that while they are still your children, hopefully now they will become your friends.
The relationship shared between those of like precious faith is special beyond words. While it may be possible to have friendships with those who are not children of God, those associations can never be complete. Everything Christian friends say and do is based on their faith, therefore, there is little they cannot fellowship. You may have a friend you run or bike with. You can discuss many subjects and enjoy your mutual sport together. You may even be able to discuss Jesus with that individual. You may discover very quickly that you can't, but the opportunity is before you. Don't ignore it. A soul is at stake. A soul may be saved.
Having been a member of the body of Christ for thirty years, my husband and I have had the joy of establishing Christian friends all over this country. When we travel, worshipping in other cities, it is such a delight finding those who know some of the same Christians that we do. It is like going home. Heaven will be like that, and so much more.
The relationship we have with fellow Christians is one that never changes, as long as we remain true to the Lord. As the lyrics of the song read, "sweeter as the years go by." Regardless of how much time has elapsed between visits, it is always the same. We continue to share our faults and pray for one another (James 5:16), exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13), admonish one another (Romans 15:14), teach one another (Titus 2.3), and share our rich love for our God and His dear son (Philippians 2:2). There's no way we can partake of those same blessings with nonbelievers.
Our most important relationship is the one we experience with our Heavenly Father whom we have been reconciled through Jesus, the Christ, (Romans 5:10). This relationship does not come without concentrated effort on our parts. To know God we must continuously study His word and make an application (II Timothy 2:15).
We hopefully recall Jesus, our savior and redeemer daily, but oftentimes forget He is also our best friend. When singing, "What a friend we have in Jesus, or "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus," I am ashamed that I forget my access to Him as my dearest and closest friend. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:13-14). In John 14:15, Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." He continues that thought in I John 5:3, as He said His commandments were not grievous.
Most of us have given great thought to whether or not we would actually give our life for someone else. For our children, yes, without hesitation. For our husband or wife, I would hope so. Perhaps for a close friend. Brothers and sisters, Jesus died for the ungodly, (Romans 5:6). I could never do that. Yes, we say, but Jesus was the son of the Most High. Indeed he was, but he was also flesh and blood, like you and me (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:16-18). He who was perfect became sin for you and me (II Corinthians 5:21). He endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2).
There are times I despair of this life and long to be with the Lord. I am so grateful that I have a relationship with God and His son Jesus. As faithful Christians we all have so much to look forward to, (I Corinthians 2:9). While we wait, Jehovah God wants us to experience and enjoy all the relationships of this present life. Continue to find pleasure and fulfillment with your husband or wife, your children and grandchildren, and your Christian friends. The great love of God and Christ Jesus enables us to possess a commonality in earthly relationships that will hopefully sustain each of us until the day when we will "meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17). Let us indeed comfort one another with these words.