C o m m u n i t y c h u r c h
New Disciple Lesson Week 10: Relationships.
Now, having begun to correct our understanding of our own worth before God (lesson 8) and our attitudes and relationship with ‘stuff’ or things (lesson 9), it is time to consider how we, who are in God’s Kingdom, will relate differently to God, to other Christians and to non-Christians than we did before we entered under Kingdom Rule. Each of these types of relationships would provide adequate material to form a whole course of study for each one. The purpose of this short lesson is, as much as anything, just to elevate your thinking and broaden your awareness that because you have entered the Kingdom of God and because you have been radically changed on the inside, you will find that you cannot relate to others the way you did in the past. As you walk in Christ (in newness of life) you will find that your old self is becoming less and a new self is emerging. You are becoming more like Christ (sanctification.) Therefore others may find it strange that you are not your ‘old self.’ Both you and they may have some struggles adjusting to this new being and the new relationship that of course must follow.
The most obvious of the changed relationships is your relationship with God. Before becoming a Kingdom Citizen, you were at enmity (like an enemy) with God. By submitting yourself to Christ’s Kingship, you have been transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of light and on the basis of your new citizenship, you find yourself at peace with God. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Being an enemy of God was the biggest problem that you had before . . . even if you never realized it. With this problem settled, you have access to a new peace from deep within your being. Now you are experiencing, not just imagining, what it is like to be at peace with God and have a personal, intimate relationship with Him.
The next most noticeable change in relationships might be with other people you have been close to that are still not Christians. Some will be amazed and pleased with your change. Others are likely to be highly skeptical and you may have to live ‘under the magnifying glass’ before them as they attempt to ‘disprove’ your claim to be a Christian. And then there will be others who will turn against you with great hostility. Although this may puzzle you, remember that in coming to Christ you have renounced and essentially betrayed the ways of this world which you used to serve. Because they are still committed to what you have turned against, there will be some who will consider your change as a personal betrayal and treat you so. Remember that God loves each of them and His desire is that each one of them would come to Him that they too might know that peace. Your ‘witness’ before them may be the most powerful and effective persuasion that they will be exposed to as evidence of the goodness of God and His Kingdom Rule. Do not grow wearing in bearing up under them, for you may, in time, see them join you in Christ’s Kingdom.
Maybe the most difficult in all our new relationships is with other Christians. This may come as a surprise to you. Although I am convinced that the Father would desire that all His children get along and treat each other right, it seems that we see too little of that in our lives, around the world or throughout time. There are some very real and understandable reasons for this that we will not even attempt to address now. Suffice it to say that there is much that you will learn in the days to come about how to rightly relate in the Family of God.
It is now important to stay close to God in prayer, study and worship. It is important to let God show you how to be rightly related with those who are not Christians. And as difficult as it might be at times, it is very important to stay ‘plugged in’ to the church as it is expressed in the world in your local congregation.
If you have questions, e-mail Bro. Eliot Roberts, pastor
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