One of the joys of being a Christian is when God the Holy Spirit prompts us to do things that we would not even think to do, but they are crucial to building a great life. A great life is great relationships (Matt. 22:37-39). Therefore, the Christian life is really one big project in building great relationships. It starts with our relationship with God, which He provided by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and continues as we learn how to build and grow the other relationships in our life God's way within our own unique context.
One of the key ingredients in building great relationships is meekness or gentleness. This is the ability to defer to the other people in the relationship at the right time. If everyone has to defer to you all the time, then the relationship is about power. Ask yourself if are you flexible and adaptive to others? When you get angry with others, do you recognize that it is most likely because there is an unrealistic expectation you are projecting onto them? Meekness is the antidote to anger, brooding, pouting, and whining. It is essential in the give and take of great relationships.
Jesus says it this way at the beginning of the greatest sermon ever preached, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:5) To be meek is not to be weak; it is the realization that the goal is not to be in charge but to inhabit a great relationship. Great relationships don't just happen -- they are nurtured and developed through the use of spiritual construction materials, or what we know as the fruit of the spirit. God the Holy Spirit will prompt all of us to exercise meekness or gentleness in relationships, which means accepting the other person's point of view, their way of spending time, or their choices, at least some of the time. For example, it is not weakness to play a child's game with them so you can relate to them. It is not weakness to listen to a teenager go on and on about the love of their life that will last forever that you know will be over in two weeks. It is not weakness to watch a program that the family would like even though you can think of another one you would like more. It is not weakness to help your child practice baseball even though you know they will never be good enough to get a scholarship to college. It is not weakness to set aside your worries and concerns to look deep into your spouse's eyes and hear their pain in some small thing that happened in their day.
Look at what Ephesians 5:18-21 says,
"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."
Again, of the crucial ingredients to great relationship (not just polite relationships) is meekness or gentleness. We all must be able to defer our power, opinion, or happiness for the greater good of the relationship. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He tells us that our expectation is unrealistic in a particular case. We must learn to make thoughtful requests instead of demands. We must embrace wise adaptations instead of pouting because we did not get our way.
One of the problems with a culture where there are 500 channels of TV and hundreds of movies constantly available is that we can view exactly what we want whenever we want, and we never have to settle for something that only has a little of what we would enjoy. This kind of thinking has spilled into every relationship. Why would I do that thing with you when I would rather do this thing I like so much better? The answer is that you would do it when it would build a better relationship between you and the other person. Getting your way is not always the right thing.
Look again at the construction materials required for great relationships, the fruit of the spirit.
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23)
These must begin to show up in our lives or we will never have great relationships. Without great relationships we will not have meaning, significance, purpose, and deep love and joy. God is alive and He is trying to pour through you these essential ingredients of a great life. When He prompts you to defer to the other person, listen. Yes, I know that you can't always defer, but there is so little meekness in our selfish day and age. We have bad relationships because we are too busy pushing forward what we want. That is important at times, but so is the forgotten secret of meekness.
God supplies all we need for great relationships; we just need to do the work of putting them into our lives as He prompts us. Listen for whispers to be adaptive, flexible, and defer. They will be there, and it will be the voice of the Holy Spirit in most cases.
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
Ever wonder who Jesus Christ really is?
How does a Christian learn to follow him?
What is church really about?
How do I find God's will for my life?
Find the answers to these questions and more in Foundations: Building a Solid Christian Life. This book delves into four foundational building blocks for what it means to live the Christian life and how to interact with God through Jesus. It is perfect for personal study or as a small group study guide.