ODJ: Healthy Together

April 24, 2018 

READ: 1 Peter 1:8-25 

You have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God (v.23).

My friend Jen and I are looking forward to meeting in Atlanta for a much-anticipated reunion. Our friendship formed over a short span of time, but the bond has remained strong despite the distance that separates us. Anne, in the novel Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery said it best: “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” My friendship with Jen reminds me that true kinship is powerful because relationships were designed to reflect God’s kingdom.

Quite often our struggles with sin are in response to the relational needs or influences in our lives. When we experience Jesus’ love, however, our tendency to seek fulfilment through destructive behaviour decreases as we grow in intimacy with Him (1 Peter 1:14). So too our relationships can bear the mark of the Holy Spirit’s work within us.

We were created for great joy in our relationships, foremost in our relationship with God (v.8). Healthy human connections that strengthen our faith don’t simply happen. Instead, we need to diligently form relationships that will help us and others grow in Jesus. If a relationship has separated us from a distinct life with Christ, we’ve allowed it to do so (vv.15-17). One of the strongest markers of the Spirit’s work in us is our ability to love others without compromising the wholeness that has come into our own lives through “the precious blood of Christ” (v.19).

“People are like grass” (v.24)—we’re mortal and will pass away—and only what has been birthed in Christ remains. As we pursue relationships here on earth, let’s reflect the values of God’s eternal kingdom (vv.22-23,25).

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: 2 Kings 2:13-25

Read 2 Cor. 6:14-18 and consider the difference between extending love to friends who don’t follow Christ and “team[ing] up” with them. 
How can you ensure your relationships are truly healthy and life-giving? How can you establish appropriate boundaries as you reach out with the love of Christ to others?