Colossians 3:12-24 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” NKJV
It is God’s expectation that our relationship with Him will impact and direct our relationship with people. There is no other explanation or expectation. We are directly responsible to God for two types of relationships. Vertical: toward God and horizontal: toward people. This begins with our own family and extends into the work place, and we are to do all things as if to the Lord.
We are Responsible to God for our earthly relationships.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23 NKJV
Although this extends to all relationships, it begins with what we think of each other.
A man is commanded to love his wife and lay down his life for her.
A man is supposed to prefer and be considerate of his wife as a precious vessel.
A woman is supposed to love and respect (to submit to) her husband.
We are all to respect one another. This begins with respecting the intrinsic value of each individual. This is sometimes hard for us in close relationships like family.
Romans 12:3-5 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” NKJV
Each one of us is an equal brother or sister. But the real question is How – How do I love my spouse?
How we speak to them has a lot to do with this:
Proverbs 18:21-22 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” NKJV
The way we speak to each other will give life to our relationship or it will kill that relationship.
Men: Love your wives by speaking love and speaking in a loving way.
- Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
- Speak about her to others with great regard.
- Express your appreciation to her in private and in public.
Women: Respect your husbands in the way you speak to him.
- Let him know that you appreciate his efforts.
- Build his ego up in private and in public.
- It’s not your job to bring your husband down to earth, it’s your job to build him up.
We carry a lot of baggage with us and get into a lot of trouble because we struggle to forgive and accept each other.
All other relationships…Brothers and sisters in the church, friends, neighbors, business relationships etc.
Cultivate life in these relationships by speaking with honor, civility and kindness.
In his bestselling book, “His Needs Her Needs” and subsequent book “Mom’s Needs Dad’s Needs,” Willard Harley presents a concept that would be good for us to understand. It’s called the Love Bank.
Every one of us has an emotional need to feel loved and Harley’s concept of a bank is that every one of us has a love bank within us.
“There’s a Love Bank inside each one of us. Every person we know has an account in our Love Bank, which keeps an emotional record of how they treat us. If a person makes us feel good, the figurative teller deposits some “love units” into his or her account. The better we feel, the more love units are deposited. But if that person makes us feel bad, our emotions withdraw love units from his or her account. And if we feel bad enough, it can be like a bank robbery that wipes out the whole account. If withdrawals continue long after deposits have been exhausted, a Love Bank account can be overdrawn – it can be in the red.” (Harley, 2003, pg.22)
Men: You need to make sure you’re making deposits to cover the withdrawals from your account with your wife.
Women: You need to make sure you’re making deposits to cover any withdrawals.
This can be taken to any relationship.
- Parents: Your kids have an account in their bank for you.
- Our friends have a bank account that needs to be filled.
- We should make sure that we are making deposits with the instructions of God.
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” NKJV
If too many withdrawals are made on your account in one individual, your account will become withdrawn and eventually you will become bankrupt.
Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” NKJV
Almost always when a message like this comes across, we all hear really good points that our spouse, brother, sister or neighbor needs to hear. We will say things like, “If only they would do what he is saying, I wouldn’t get so mad…”
This is not the right thing to think. If you will begin doing these things on your own, your spouse, friend, neighbor, family, etc., will usually change their approach to you.
You get started and let them follow, or they will not start on their own. » Continue to Part II