Relationships are the thing that helps us to see the real condition of our hearts and those areas we still need to work on

Greetings to you, dear friends, and blessings on this wonderful day! I thank the Lord for giving us daily His Word that strengthens us and helps us to move forward.We are talking about God changing us through different types of relationships. We already established that God changes us using our parents, employers and subordinates. Every relationship influences us and initiates changes in all parties involved.Besides the mentioned relationships, we can also point out the relationships between brothers and sisters. We can talk about both blood relatives and covenant or spiritual ties, for example, among church members. These relationships also are ordained by God to change us.Let’s look at several Bible stories that illustrate how God changes people and their characters through kinship.«And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. So the LORD said to Cain, „Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him» (Genesis, 4:3-8)In this passage of Scripture we see how God wanted to help Cain to grow in his character through his relationships with his brother Abel. Unfortunately, instead of changing his attitude towards life, Cain killed his brother. Cain envied him. Abel’s life was like a conviction to him. If there is envy, selfishness, disobedience and lack of submissiveness in your heart, they will eventually come out through some relationships, for example, you’re your relatives. When God blesses your brothers or sisters, are you sincerely happy for them? What is your reaction when someone in your family does better than you? Are you happy when your brothers or sisters are praised, but you are not? Or do you put them down in order to look better?That is what Joseph’s brothers did. Driven by envy and hatred they sold Joseph into slavery.«And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem. Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, „Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams.”” (Genesis, 37:13-20).God will test and try the heart of every one of us through relationships. So often we do not suspect what is in our hearts, until some person in our life provokes us and the hidden things become obvious.Besides the relationships mentioned before, there is one that to my mind is the biggest tester of all; it is the marriage or the relationships between husband and wife. Marital relationships challenge and change us. It is trough these relationships that we learn to love, submit and respect each other. We learn to sacrifice and die for ourselves.«Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. (..) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…» (Ephesians, 5:22, 25).«Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them» (Colossians, 3:18-19).What happens when we build relationships with other people? These relationships uncover in us the faults we have not seen before. In every one of us there is a lot of dross that needs to be cleansed out so that we could conform to the image of Jesus Christ.Many people declare themselves to be perfect since they are a new creature and the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Dear friends, it is good to have faith. But it is not enough to believe these things in our hearts and to confess them with our mouths. If we neglect the instruments of transformation that God ordained to change us, then our actual lives will be far from our confessions.Relationships are the thing that helps us to see the real condition of our hearts and those areas we still need to work on. We will continue tomorrow!Be blessed!Pastor Rufus Ajiboye

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