Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond.
Life is much like a Garden.
• Relationships are a row in our garden.
• God Planted the seeds to those relationships.
• It is our responsibility to tend to and keep it.
Gen 2:15 Then the Lord took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. (Tend to it = protect)
Have you ever seen a garden that was well kept? One where all the rows were neatly managed and all the weeds were tended to properly. One where the obvious care has produced an abundance of fruit throughout the garden? It is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t just happen on its own.
Have you ever seen a garden that was not well kept? One where the weeds have begun to grow? Over time they will take over the entire garden, begin to compete with the fruit and eventually choke all of the life out of the garden.
Life is very much like a garden. If we tend to the weeds in our life, keep all the rows managed and in order, the fruits of our garden will be full and productive. It takes work and it does not just happen on its own.
The nourishment for our garden comes from the Word of God. God’s Word produces life, it is the origin of life.
John 1: 1-5 …In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
The relationships the Lord has blessed me with are the most important areas of my life. When I put the Lord first and my relationship with Him above all else, I tend to experience more peace and joy in my relationships with my wife, my kids, family and friends. When I do not put Him first, all of the other relationships in my life seem to suffer in one way or another. Things seem out of order and communication is lost. To keep my life in order and find that place of peace, I must be in constant prayer with Our Heavenly Father.
Let’s look at our relationship with God.
Exodus 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
Our relationship with God is the most important relationship in our life. God and Moses talked face to face the Tent of Meeting, just as friends do. Do you have a Tent of Meeting? Is there a place in your life where you spend quiet time talking to God? Personally I believe that God’s Spirit is everywhere and everything in our life is Spiritual. We can pray to our Father regardless of where we are or what we are doing. We do not have to be at church, in a specific room or any other place to pray and go to God. But, I also believe that quiet time for reading and praying is a good habit to get into as believers. However, it is important that we stay focused on worshiping the Father and not the time itself.
The Word tells us in the book of John where Jesus is talking about a new relationship between us and God the Father. Before His death and resurrection, people approached God through priests. After the resurrection, believers are able to go directly to God.
John 16: 23-24 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Let’s look at our relationships with others.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not bound together with unbelievers; for what partnerships have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Paul, in this verse is not telling us to not communicate or interact with unbelievers. We are actually called to do that and share our testimony and witness.. (Acts 1:8) However, he is telling us to not be teamed up with and build binding relationships with non-believers and we are to be careful with who we tie ourselves with in close relationships as to not compromise our faith.
I was in this situation as the Lord delivered me from the bondage of Alcohol. The decisions I made caused me to lose friends and relationships in my life. By keeping those relationships, I would have been compromising my faith and commitment to the Lord. I had to change that part of my life to eliminate the temptation of alcohol.
However, as we all know the word tells us to others as we love ourselves. Romans 13:9. What Paul is telling us in this passage is to tend to the needs of others as we would tend to our own needs. Do not do them harm. Instead, look out for their best interest over our own. That is loving others as we love ourselves.
Let’s look at our relationship with our family.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that he may sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Paul tells husbands to love and wives to be subject to (or submit). There are many times these verses are taken out of context. That can be dangerous in a relationship. This does not mean submit by giving unlimited authority to her husband. Nor does it mean to be disobedient to God in order to be submissive to her husband. Nevertheless, the word does say for Wives to submit to their husbands. There is no way around it.
Husbands and Fathers by Derrick Prince – By her attitude toward her husband, she depicts the attitude of the Church toward Christ. Seen in this context, the submission is not a duty imposed on the wife, but a special privilege granted her.
It also says that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Wives should submit to their husbands and husbands to their wives. Just as wives should love their husbands and husbands should love their wives. It is a mutual respect and love for one another as Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:21.
As men and husbands, our primary responsibility on marriage is to love our wife. How are we to love our wife:
• We should be willing to sacrifice everything for her.
• We should make her well-being of major importance in our life.
• We should care for her as we care for ourselves.
That is the Godly husband that wives are to submit to in a marriage. If we, as husbands, can take on that mindset toward our wives, they will not fear submitting to us for feeling cherished and loved.
Challenge from Husbands and Fathers by Derek Prince. An experienced minister was once asked about a certain person, “Is he a good Christian?” The minister replied, “I don’t know; I can’t tell you yet. I haven’t met his wife.” That was a wise answer. A husband’s success is seen in his wife.
I then took the following test myself and did not pass with flying colors. Ask yourself – and your wife – the following questions, in order to evaluate how you are doing: Is she secure and fulfilled? Do I feel proud of her? If the answer is yes then you are a successful husband.
We are to honor our wife. 1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
This scripture does not mean weaker spiritually, mentally, or emotionally, simply points out that in most cases the woman is weaker in physical strength. In Peter’s, John’s and Paul’s day, a woman unprotected in town, on the street of the city, or just about anywhere had the potential to be physically harmed. Not unlike where we are today.
Our wives need to feel that we are going to protect, respect, and honor them. They need to know that we will stay with them through the good and the bad. We need to not expect her to hold down a full time job, then come home to a full time job as well. We need to work to lighten her load when possible and be sensitive to her needs, as we are to our own. In short, we should put her needs above our own.
Spiritual Leadership in the Home.
As the men in our families, we have an awesome responsibility to be the spiritual leaders in our homes. According to the Bible, the man is the spiritual head of the family. What does this mean to you and to me?
Spiritual Leadership involves service. Teach your family to serve one another by serving them and others outside the family. Jesus came to serve and he taught his disciples to serve, to the point of washing their feet. In the same way we are to serve our wives, and family. The heart of serving is taught by example.
Spiritual Leadership involves prayer. Pray with your wife and pray for your wife. Pray with and for your children. Teach them to be prayerful in life.
Ephesians 6:12 We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We are literally caught up in a life-and-death struggle with invisible forces in the spiritual realm. One of the most powerful forces we have to stand our ground in spiritual warfare is unity in prayer as a couple, and as a family.
Spiritual Leadership involves sharing the Word. Read the Word in your home, out load, to you family. Have casual conversations about scripture. Make it a part of everyday life in the home.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
That leads us to Children, and our relationship with them.
Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother so that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Obey and Honor. What is the difference in obey and honor? Obey means do what one is told, honor means to love and respect. While a child is under the care of his/her parents they are to obey (but not if it means to disobey God) their parents. However, the responsibility to honor your parents is for life. To honor your parents is to show respect for them, even when it is difficult to do. One thing to keep in mind as the spiritual leader of the home is, how we handle that awesome responsibility will determine the hearts of our children. The hearts of our children will determine how they obey and honor their parents. How they learn to obey and honor (by our example), us as fathers is how they will obey and honor God when they own their own faith.
Malachi 4:6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.
Do you have the hearts of your children?
Relationships, it is difficult to get through life without them. Be it with your wife, your children, co-workers, boss or friends. If you put your relationship with God above all, the other relationships in your life will be more blessed than you can ever imagine.
Just as God commanded Adam to tend to his Garden of Eden, we are to tend to our Gardens of Life. Pull those weeds, how those rows, and give it a shot of life-giving water.
Each and every relationship in your life is a gift from God. Cherish them, tend to them, and respect them. But always remember that the most important relationship that you have is with your Heavenly Father.
Men, here is your tip of the day. Simplify – Know where your heart is and be there.
- When you get home at the end of the day, be there!