40 Days of Increase | Day 8
If you would like to begin at Day 1 you can find that post here. You may continue to read sequentially by clicking the link end of each post.
—by Pastor Don Weeks, Antioch Baptist Church
The three most meaningful relationships in your life are:
- Your relationship with God
- Your relationship with others
- Your relationship with yourself
You may think these are the only relationships that exist in your life. That’s the problem with idols and false gods. That’s the reason our God tells us to have no other gods before Him. That’s the reasons one of the most impassioned appeals for us to love one another in the entire Bible ends with these words:
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
That appeal for us to love God, love others as we love ourselves is (as you can see) from the firsts letter of John, the beloved disciple. That letter which has been divided into five incredible chapters tells us how we should fill all of our real relationships with the love of Christ.
Before we get into how Christ should increase in our real relationships, I would like to point out some potential idols that may be lurking in your life, and mine. And, by the way, it would be one thing if these false relationships were merely lurking. The problem is these seemingly harmless relationships can quickly become false gods and idols. Hence, John’s stern warning.
How much time do you spend looking at a screen in any given day? Do you wake up and look at your phone? Watch the morning news? How about at work? How much time do you spend looking at your computer screen? Reading email, texts, etc. Before lunch, how many hours have you been looking at a screen. Then there’s the afternoon, and finally the evening. They say the average person still watches TV a “staggering amount” of five hours each day.
Do we have relationships with our screens, and with the actors that seem to live and move on our screens. How godly are those relationships? How real are they?
One of the most impactful books I have ever read in regard to false relationships was from an unlikely source. Have you ever read the classic science fiction book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? In that book the protagonist’s wife is addicted to TV, but I don’t think that’s what they called it, TV. They had big screens that usually covered the entire wall. She complained to her husband often and wondered why they couldn’t be more like the neighbors who have surround screens on all four walls. She loved to interact with the characters in all her favorite episodes. She had living, vivid relationships with them. The husband saw clearly that his relationship with his own wife was completely shallow and secondary compared to the relationships she longed for with her friends, as she called them, on the screen. Is that so much different from today?
I would say the potential is far greater in our day to have idols, false gods, and false relationships than ever before. Wouldn’t you agree? God’s Word must increase in our society, in our relationships, in our lives. Amen?
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Your Practical Task for Today
For your information, I have included an index of our practical tasks (PT’s) that we are completing day by day. If you have completed all these tasks, you will see that little by little Christ is increasing. Keep up the good work. You will find that list here: Index of Practical Tasks.
Today, I want you to do two things. Of course pray. Ask God to reveal any false friends, false gods or real idols that are lurking in your life. Root them out! See if you can identify the idols in your life, and take time to strengthen the real relationships. Write down any idols you may have identified in your notebook so that you can rid them from your life.
Secondly, pray and then rate your own real relationships. Give yourself a grade. In your notebook (after you have written Colossians 3:17, our February memory verse) make a list of the top ten real human relationships in your life, and give yourself an A+ if you can answer this question in a most positive manner:
Is Christ fully present and alive in my relationship with _________________ ?
In the blank, place the name of each person whose relationship you are considering.
How do you know if Christ is fully present and alive in any given relationship? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I talk about Jesus with this person?
- Do I learn anything about Jesus from this person?
- Whose relationship with Jesus is more fervent and alive, myself or this person?
- Are there things I can think of that God would like me to start doing or stop doing with this person in light of His holiness?
Though this is a highly personal exercise, I would love to know your thoughts about it. Please leave any helpful comments below, not with details about your relationships, but rather insights how we might cause Christ to increase in our relationships.
Thank you for your faithfulness. Have an awesome and inspired day in Christ.
HE MUST INCREASE
Click here for an index of Practical Tasks (PT’s).