Saturday, February 01, 2014

Growing Big Faith - Providential Relationships

God uses people to help you grow big faith.

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

We have probably all heard the warning when we were young that we need to be careful who your friends are and who you hang out with.

Few of us realize when we are young but by the time you are old enough to be a parent you finally get what your parents were talking about. Looking back you can see relationships that were good for you and some that were not.

Relationships are a powerful influence in life. Has there been someone in your life who has had a positive influence on your life? How about somebody that has had a positive impact on your faith? There may be someone that came into your life that made a profound difference in who you are today.

The wise person will be very careful in deciding who gets to influence their life. Will you choose to have a wise person shape your thinking? The Bible teaches us that a fool is a person that knows the difference between right and wrong but they just don't care. They do not care that today's decisions have an impact on tomorrow.
Your friends will determine the direction and quality of your life. - Andy Stanley
Providential relationships are relationships that God brings into your life that ignite and grow your faith. The kind of people that challenge you to see new possibilities and understand new truths spiritually in order for you to grow in your faith. You usually see those relationships the easiest with hind sight, you look back and say to yourself, "thank God that person came into my life and helped me."

There are not many neutral relationships, most of the people we know will have an impact on our lives. Their values can easily become our values. You are around people everyday that do not care about your faith, culture is tearing you away from your faith, and besides culture you also have your old sin nature working against you.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Maximizing the relationships in our lives for the purpose of growing in our faith is only half the picture. God also wants us to have a positive impact on others lives and he wants us to be of benefit to their faith as well. Sometimes we are the wise one that needs to go have an awkward conversation with a friend that is blind to something. We can pray for our friend but if something is breaking your heart in their situation then maybe God is prompting you to do something about it.

Awkward conversations can be found in the Bible between:

✔  Eli and his sons (1 Samuel 2:22-25)
✔  Samuel and King Saul (1 Samuel 15:12-26)
✔  Nathan and David (2 Samuel 12:1-12)

We can't force a providential relationship to happen but we can leverage this Biblical principle by:

✔  Be intentional about who you spend time with
✔  Be intentional about moving into situations where relationships will be built
✔  Initiate interaction with the wise people around you
✔  Invite that wise person to speak into your life

Close relationships are the means that God uses to provide us with the opportunity and accountability to live out the truth of his Word. God has placed people in your life to help you by challenging you to be more like Christ.