Investing in Authentic Relationships that Give God Glory
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17
When I think about battling to an intentional life, one of the areas I know I have to arm myself more than others is in my relationships. Have you ever heard the saying “you are the average of the five people you spend time with?” I love the expression because it’s a no-nonsense way to hold up a mirror about the people and things I’m investing my time in.
I spent a lot of time in my teens and twenties trying to fix not only myself but the people I surrounded myself with. I dated guys who were rough around the edges, thinking I could help them change. I befriended and gave energy to people who I thought were my friends even though they didn’t put in a lot of effort to our relationship and led me down paths I didn’t need to go on. As I’ve aged and grown, I’ve found that God has very specific things to say about the people we spend time with and how we spend time with them, not because He wants to limit our fun but to guard us against toxic relationships that aren’t fruitful for our lives (which should ultimately bring Him glory.)
Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 15:33 that “bad company ruins good morals.” Proverbs 4:23 summarized instructs us to guard our hearts because everything we do flows from it.
These verses are not to say we’re supposed to put up a bubble around us and never do life with people who are walking differently than we are. We can’t refuse to walk alongside unbelievers or those who are lost and use the excuse that we’re guarding our hearts. No, we’re talking about the people we’re allowing to speak into us, ultimately defining our character and our actions. I’m talking about the boyfriends, the best friends, the trusted co-workers, and maybe even the close family members.
Let me ask you this question: if you were to fully allow yourself to love God and bring Him glory with your actions, health, words, and work, how would your top five relationships change? Would your people cheer you on as you pursue Jesus and a more intentional life, leading to deeper trust and authenticity in your relationships? Or, would their support decrease and frustration increase because of your faith pursuit?
I’m not giving you charge or permission to ditch all the people in your life who aren’t believers. What kind of life would that be if we only surrounded ourselves with people who looked, acted, and worshipped like us? Not only would it be boring, but our perspectives and our faith would become stale from the lack of diversity. I am however encouraging you to authentically pursue a relationship with Christ and surround yourself with more people who will sharpen you in your faith, and help you grow towards being the woman He called you to be.
[Side note: if you’re married to an unbeliever, do not be ashamed or discouraged in the fact that your relationship is unequally yoked at the moment. Pray for your spouse and keep loving them as Christ loved YOU in your disbelief because God has the power to enter their heart just like He did yours. The Lord can redeem anything.]
Who are you allowing into your heart? Do they love Christ and sharpen you to love Him more? Hold the mirror up to your life and take inventory of the people you’re investing in and how they’re investing back into you.
- Who are the top 5 people you spend time with?
- People-pleasing tendencies aside, what are ways you could authentically pursue growth in your life and bring glory to God?
- Are you currently investing in toxic or unfruitful relationships? If so, how can you guard your heart while also allowing the love of Christ to be present in them?
- In what ways can you be a better friend and sharpen the faith of those around you?