Strengthening Core Relationships / Day 3

BIBLE READING

Ephesians 4: 3-6

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Proverbs 13: 20

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

1 Thessalonians 1: 3

We remember before our God and Father....your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10: 23

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

REFLECTION

I remember as a Christian teenager, if there was one subject that was almost guaranteed to attract young people into our youth group, it was dating relationships. We were given all sorts of advice, some more helpful (and applied!) than others. One helpful nugget I do recall, was that we should focus completely on serving and pursuing Jesus, then look to our right and left, and choose someone who was also moving in the same direction. Like I say, not the worst advice a young person can receive. 

In fact, this might be helpful wisdom for all of us, at every stage of life. Choose to do life and build a future with people who are going in the same direction as you are. That is not to say that we only form relationships with people who we are in total agreement with on every important issue. But when it comes to those who we will open our lives to in trust, vulnerability and journey with over the long term, there has to be a commonality of purpose and a clarity of direction.

As Amos 3: 3 says: "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" or as The Message puts it: "Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?" In others words, you can't get closer to someone by walking in the opposite direction. You only end up with 'irreconcilable differences'.

Also note that it is possible to be moving but not to have any sense of direction. Your life can be full of busyness and activity, but lack purpose. Direction is somewhere we choose to go, not drift towards. And our direction will always determine our destination. If you end up somewhere you don't like, look back at your journey and ask yourself where you took a wrong turn. Often it will be connected to an influential relationship in your life.  

In Luke 9: 51 we read that Jesus "...set his face to go to Jerusalem." He was utterly determined in his direction.

Paul said this about his own sense of purpose: "...one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3: 14) Paul had a destination he was aiming for, he had a finish line in sight. He brought people around him who would assist him on his journey. 

We too need people who will journey with us, friends who will go the distance, companions who will help direct us towards our destiny. If our relationships are to withstand the constant pressures of life and endure the inevitable storms we all face, then, above all else, they must be moving in a direction of hope - hope in God, hope in each other, hope for the future.  May we be "prisoners of hope" (Zech 9: 12) secured and bound together by our "one hope" in Christ that can weather any storm and overcome every opposition.