Relationships are critical to enjoying the human experience! You have probably heard the old saying, “If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.” It may or may not make you smile, but it speaks to truth. If our relationships are unhealthy, we are not going to experience the joy God has prepared for us.
Please read Philippians 2:1-11. No seriously, click on the link and read what Paul has to say, then come back and check out the practical applications I make here…
Paul said to have the same mindset that Jesus had. And what was that? One thing for sure is that Jesus demonstrated a Relational Humility. Let me show you three practical ways Jesus approached His relationships with others that made a difference:
- Accept Others on Equal Ground. Jesus was God in every way. Yet He accepted the people He encountered with respect and honor. The Bible even says He had compassion for the men who were plotting to kill Him. Read verse 6 again: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” Jesus didn’t have any prejudices. We do. We struggle with our prejudices every day. And while racism is among them, it is only one of many. When a young couple get married, they are seeking for the “two to become one.” But they both bring a set of family values and practices into the marriage. Each thinking their family is better. That is the prejudice that I am talking about. We tend to judge others by our values and practices. We need to stop comparing and judging and start listening and thinking. Relational Humility never compromises truth but it always look at others and considers them with respect and honor. Accept others and reject your prejudices.
- Live Sent. The Bible says in John 3, “For God so loved the world He sent His only Son…” Jesus lived sent. He related to others as if He were here to serve them. Jesus said in Matthew 20, I have “come not be served, but to serve.” Look at what Paul wrote in verse 7, “rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.“ We live entitled. Jesus didn’t. Relational Humility, gives up self and interacts with others putting their needs and interests above our own. Have you ever been mad at other drivers not because they cut you off, but because they choose a better lane than you did in rush hour traffic? That is entitlement. We need to give up on what we think others owe us and embrace what the Bible says when it says, “Owe no one anything, but a debt of love.” Jesus went on to say in John 20, “As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you.” What would happen to our relationships if we lived as if we were sent to love them. Give up your entitlement and live sent!
- Yield to God’s Will. In the Garden, Jesus was praying the night before He was to be executed by Roman crucifixion. He asked the Father to remove the cup from Him. “Not My will but Yours be done.” Paul recognized this and wrote in verse 8, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” There is no room for pride in Relational Humility. And yet we struggle with our pride everyday. Yielding may not always be fun, pride is a joy sucker. The Bible says, “Joy comes in the morning.” And again it says, “Beauty rises from ashes.” In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that healthy relationships begin with yielding to one another out of reverence for Jesus. Yield to God’s will and let go of your pride.
There is a reward for thinking and living like Jesus. In verse 9, Paul writes, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Jesus was rewarded with the very things He gave away. There is a reward for those who walk in Relational Humility, it is joy. Relationships are critical to enjoying the human experience.
“What would happen to our relationships if we lived as if we were sent to love others?”
If you enjoyed Think Like Jesus, please read parts 1 and 2. Plan on coming back to read the rest of the series as we discover the secret to a joy filled life from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.