Sunday, December 30, 2018

Identity - Who Are You?

When we relate with the Lord one thing that feeds our stability and dependability on Him is the confidence we have in His promises. His promises have been tested and proven over time and so, His track record gives us peace of mind. The word of God has made sufficient provision for us to understand ourselves from the kingdom perspective. A proper understanding of ourselves is required as we relate. Meaning, it is to your benefit and the benefit of the one with whom you relate, to give proper attention to yourself, in order to build up yourself as a relational being.

It is important to be a student of yourself because it helps you define your boundaries, in terms of lifestyle, purpose, companionship, fellowship, values and more. I can guarantee you that if you do not set aside time to allow the Holy Spirit to work on you, you will encounter a series of failed relationships and hurts. The word of God is a great source to help you in the process.
Let’s continue our studies by answering some questions from a scriptural perspective about ourselves as we prepare ourselves to properly relate with others.

Have you ever asked yourself “Who Am I?” It is a very simple, yet a very defining question at the same time. The question of “Who Am I? Is a question of Identity. Prior to getting into any relationship, it is imperative that you get clarity on this aspect. Although so much can be said about identity, I will like us to get a head start in the right direction.

Ruth 3:9a (NKJV)
And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant.
Emphasis Mine

Besides knowing your name (which is part of your identity), what else about yourself do you know? When we read the account of Jesus and His disciples from Matthew 16:13-18; Jesus inquired from His disciples who people say that He is. Then He later inquired from the disciples saying “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter responded saying, you are the Messiah, the son of the living God (verse 16). So much can be learned about the aspect of identity from a kingdom perspective.
i)                We understand that Jesus was in a relationship with His disciples and it was important to Him that they know who He is. Meaning, knowing and establishing your identity in a relationship is important.
ii)              Apart from your name, knowing that you are the son or daughter of the living God is also very important. Simon Peter said you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God (verse 16).
iii)            Identity is the present state of your being; not the past nor the future. There is a place for your past and the ambitions of your future, however, when you get into a relationship, the person relating with you begins by relating to your present. “You are the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). I am Ruth… (Ruth 3:9).
iv)            An identity independent of God is a false identity. We can only know ourselves through God and by His help because He created us. Simon Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
As we ponder on these truths about relationship and more, understand that who you are is different from what you do. Do not identify yourself by what you do but rather, who God says you are. Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Kingdom Approach To Relationship - 5 Criteria To Lasting Kingdom Relationships

We serve a relational God and relationship seem to be the focal point of His attention and dealings with mankind. Several scriptures illustrate how much God is interested in outstanding relationships. It was the love of relationship that caused Him to sacrifice His only begotten son, Jesus. He cherished relationship to a place where He had to implement a plan in order to redeem mankind after the fall. Relationship is also important to the Father because His dealings on earth are closely knitted with His relationship with man. For the most part, Man seems to be His contact and access into the earth.

Your desire to be in a relationship and see it succeed is a God–given desire. Sometimes, what makes relationships fail, is our inability to see that relationship is God’s intent and desire and He is the master of relationship. And that our approach and success in any and every relationship should be based on His criteria. By criteria we mean a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.

Several criteria can and should be used to determine a lasting kingdom relationship. By lasting, we are not necessarily referring only to a lifelong relationship but also to the degree of success. And this is so because, we also know that relationships are seasonal. The fact that a relationship is successful does not mean that it will always be there. We need to be very sensitive to the move of the Father in this area as well.

Relationships have the potential to succeed and do succeed when done according to God’s standards. Irrespective of how many times you have been disappointed in relationships, the truth about this God given gift to mankind is that it can succeed. Do not let your disappointment be the reason why you discredit the idea of relationship. Until you get to a place where you begin acknowledging that
1)     Relationship is God’s idea.
2)     There are God-given principles that must guide the process of relationship.
3)     Your relationship with God himself is what determines your success in any other relationship. In other words, your relationship with God precedes your relationship with man.
Relationship will remain a mystery, a no go area for you or just something that you were never meant to succeed in.

For our studies, we are looking at two characters by name Naomi and Ruth.

A little background on this story as we delve deeper. As a result of famine in Bethlehem, Judah, Elimelech took his wife and two sons to settle in Moab. While in Moab, Elimelech died; his sons, Mahlon and Chilion later married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, respectively. Ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion died and Naomi was left with a husband and children. News got to Naomi that the Lord had begun providing for His people in Bethlehem, so she decided to return to Bethlehem and at this point, she told her daughter in-laws the situation and insisted that they all part company. Orpah agreed and kissed her mother-in-law good bye while Ruth insisted on going with Naomi. Amen.

Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)
But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.

1)     Destination – Always have your purpose in mind. Your purpose in mind will help you make the right choices about whom to be in relationship. Where are you going?
2)      Location – By location we mean physical, intellectual, spiritual, financial, etc. Set attainable goals in these areas to move you to the next level. Always remember that you can soar higher. What plans do you have on the ground to move you higher?
3)     Companion – Who do you plan to keep with you as you journey. It is commonly said that if you must travel far, consider travelling light. Choose your crowd. Enjoy being alone. Always remember that, although alone, you are not lonely. Amen!
4)     Fellowship – Who is God to you? Do you know Him or do you know about Him? What are your priorities when it comes to fellowship with Him? It is one thing to profess him, yet another, to make him center of your lifestyle.
5)     Sacrifice – Has everything to do with attitude, especially the aspect of selfishness. Choose not be selfish and encourage those around you not to be selfish either. It is a veil that covers like no other. Amen.

As you ask yourself these questions and evaluate yourself at the same time, do likewise for the person you plan to get into relationship with. Do so wisely. I must reiterate that these principles are universal relationship principles. It is not specific to a relationship.
Many criteria need to be considered when considering relationship. I believe these five criteria shared with you so far will get you a head start in the right direction. Amen!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kingdom Approach To Relationship - Relate Knowledgeably

In today’s teachings, we will reiterate some truths that you might already be familiar with. It will benefit us to be reminded so that we live conscious of them as often as we can. Relating knowledgeably is an aspect of relationship that should not be taken for granted at any time. I will say this, do not be quick to relate without purpose. Whether we agree or not, every relationship serves a purpose. That is the beauty of relationship be it with God or man. As we hear these truths, believe them and apply them, we will enjoy relationships at a whole new level. You will fine tune your approach to relationships. Amen!

You probably have heard that in your journey to maximizing relationship you will encounter 3 categories of people. Confidants, constituents and comrades. These categories are scriptural and it will be wisdom on your part to fully embrace these truths. Briefly, confidants are people who are committed to you as a person. Confidants love you (as a person) unconditionally; whether you are up or down. They will correct you when you are wrong and applaud you when you are right. They will certainly help you become all that God wants you to become and will add into your life so that you can be a blessing to others. Scriptural examples include the cases of
- David and Jonathan; 1 Samuel 18:1-4
- Ruth and Naomi; Ruth 1:16-18
- Jesus /John (John referred to Himself as the one whom Jesus loved)

Practical – A child, parent, sibling etc. can be your confidant.

The second category mentioned are constituents. People who are committed to what you represent/have/where you are going/vision. Constituents are for the course/vision, not for you (as a person). They will labor with you in order to achieve the goal, but always remember that it is not about you, but the vision. Constituents will leave you if your vision does not further their agenda. Their behavior will confuse you if you do not pay attention. You can mistake them for confidants (remember - their attraction is your mission/vision, not you). If Constituents meet someone else who can further their agenda, they can decide to leave you because it had never been about you in the first place. Matthew 16:13-16; Psalm 55:12-15.

Practical – Church members (they come because of what they can benefit from the different groups in church, not for the message, organization members, etc.)

The last category, which is the third group of people to look out for are comrades. Comrades are not for you, neither are they for your vision. They are against what you are against; meaning, you both have a common enemy and once that enemy is defeated, they will leave you immediately. Guess what? They will stay with you for as long as that enemy is present. Scriptural examples include Pharisees and Sadducees.

Practical – For as long as we can defeat the enemy of poverty, sickness, etc.
If I am hurt, I can count on you standing with me in court as witness (it is not about you but it is about the common enemy).

What can we learn from these three categories of people?
-        Choose wisely
-        Do not get bitter
-        Understand times and seasons
-        Learn to handle people evenly (godly)
-        Take time to understand why God brings people your way
-        Understand your place in the life of others
-        Relate with your vision in mind

Although these might be familiar information to you, do not handle it casually because there is a tendency to make mistakes in these areas. Listen to it and remind yourself over and over again until you get to a place where you can comfortably and confidently say that you are relating knowledgeably evidenced by your relationship decisions and outcomes. Amen!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Kingdom Approach To Relationship - Relationship Is Spiritual

So far, we have seen some principles that are very helpful in any and every relationship.
        Our heavenly Father loves relationships (association between persons) and when He created man, he intended to have relationship with man (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 3:8; Lev 26:12).
        Man was designed to have relationships; first with God, then other humans (Mark 12:30-31; Gen 2:18a).
        The bible is the manual that provides us with the tools necessary to build lasting and successful relationships (Ps 119:105).
        Our ability to build lasting and successful relationships is determined by how well we implement the tools provided to us from the manual (the bible).
        The successful relationship has the potential of influencing many generations (Joshua 24:15, 31; Judges 2:7). As a result, we cannot undermine how we do relationships.
        In order to properly build relationships, we need to understand ourselves and the person in whom we are in relationship with (John 4:24a). 

The principles mentioned so far are standard relationship principles. Whether you are relating with God or human, these principles will help you avoid unnecessary mistakes. This truth might be very new to you. But know this, the aspect of relationship (any relationship) is spiritual, not ungodly nor carnal. Relationship is a spiritual thing! When we say relationship is God’s idea, we simply mean it is a godly idea. When something is godly, by implication, the principles that govern that thing ought to be godly in order for it to succeed.
So, do yourselves a favor to approach all relationships from a godly standard point. Any relationship you choose to approach from an ungodly or carnal perspective, will not succeed. It is just a matter of time. Please, take what we are saying very seriously. It is impossible to live without relating and if that is the case, wouldn’t you save yourself the pain by doing it right the first time? Every lesson in life must not be learned by personal experience. Learn from the word of God and glean from those who have gone ahead of you. Amen.
You will agree that even in a carnal or ungodly relationship, the participants demand godly standards in order to keep up with the relationship? There are many examples we could look at on this aspect. However, let’s limit our examples to what scriptures have to say about the kingdom key of attraction. Not physical attraction per se.

Proverbs 19:22 (NLT)
Loyalty makes a person attractive.
    It is better to be poor than dishonest.

This is a general principle. Whether or not you are loyal to a believer or unbeliever, you become attractive. But guess what? Loyalty is a godly attribute not a carnal or ungodly. But when applied in a relationship that is carnal or ungodly, it produces results.

Wealth is another aspect. We understand that wealth is not limited to finances and it also includes your degree of resourcefulness.

Proverbs 19:4 (NIV)
Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them

Notice that it did not say the kind of friends (believing or unbelieving friends). There is a tendency for this scripture to materialize in any relationship, passively or actively. There is something about poverty that repels a person from it and because poverty is associated with a living person, you repel from the person in question. Amen.
These are truths that we must come to terms with, otherwise, we will keep relating ignorantly and failing, then blaming God in the process.

Let’s conclude today’s teaching by saying this, it is possible to live pain free in a relationship. Whether or not you are able to wrap your mind and accept this truth, it does not matter. To think otherwise will mean you question the quality of God that talks about His goodness and more. Amen!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Kingdom Approach to Relationship - The Bible Provides Tools for Building Lasting and Successful Relationships

        The bible is the manual that provides us with the tools necessary to build lasting and successful relationships.

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

We are looking at this in light of the path of relationship(s).
Our ability to build lasting and successful relationships is determined by how well we implement the tools provided to us from the manual (the bible). A successful relationship has the potential of influencing many generations. Let’s look at the following verses together in order to firmly establish these truths.

Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

As always, with a verse from the bible, so much can be said however, I want us to see that according to Joshua, he did not reserve the aspect of relationship with the Father to himself but rather, he looked at it from a generational perspective. Amen!

Joshua 24:31 (NKJV)
 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

Generations benefited and the nation of Israel also benefited as a result. So, we see that as a result, we really cannot undermine how we do relationships whether with God or with humans.

Judges 2:7 (NKJV)
So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

What an outstanding testimony. Only because one person chose to do relationship the kingdom way. Permit me say here that the extent of the positive influence of your relationship will be dependent on whether or not it is done the kingdom way. Do not carelessly do relationships and expect to be remembered many years from now. Amen!

        In order to properly build relationships, we need to understand ourselves and the person in whom we are in relationship with (John 4:24a). 
Just like we need to understand that when we worship, our spirit man needs to be in synch with the spirit of God. So too we need to understand ourselves and the person with whom we are relating. We will get into an in depth understanding of this point later in this series on how to gain proper understanding of ourselves and the person with whom we are getting into relationship with. However, by understanding yourself we mean understanding your identity, your strengths and weaknesses, your expectations and more likewise the person you relate with. Amen!


There is an endless list of individuals in scriptures who served as instruments of change in the lives of others. The frequency of th...