by Neil Anderson

 

November 8
 
Relationships First
 
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law
 
Many people demonstrate that their need to win when trying to resolve conflicts with others is greater than their regard for relationships. Why is winning so important to us? Why must we always be right? The person who is driven to win, to be right, or to be first is insecure. Insecure people are driven to perform.
 
Security comes from relationships, not achievements. A secure person is a person who is comfortable with himself and others. It is easy to communicate with a secure person, but you often end up clashing with a driven person. Would you rather be a lover or an achiever? Which would you prefer your spouse, children, coworkers and friends to be?
 
Relationships are more important than achievements to God. Jesus declared that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people (Matthew 22:36-40). The purpose of the Word of God is to govern our relationships with God and man. If our achievements in life don't enhance our relationships with God, our spouse and children, and others, then we are not fulfilling God's commandments.
 
Is there ever a time when we need to assert ourselves in conflicts? Yes, we need to stand our ground on moral issues. But we never have the right to violate the fruit of the Spirit in doing so. If what you do can't be done in love and self-control, then maybe it's better left undone. And remember: Your authority does not increase with the volume of your voice. When you resort to shouting in conflict, you are reacting in the flesh. You have lost control of the only person you can control: yourself.
 
Anyone who accomplishes something at the expense of people or elevates tasks over relationships will sow the seeds of their own destruction and the destruction of those around them. Governments, institutions and organizations exist for the cause and needs of people. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. How easy it is to turn our priorities upside down.
 
Prayer: Gracious Lord, help me today to love people and use things, and not to love things and use people.

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