Have you ever told yourself, “I think it’s about time I’m in a relationship?” Maybe you’ve counted the weeks, months, or years from the last one. Maybe you’ve started to make up reasons as to why you’ve spent enough time being single and deserve some affection now. Eek, did I just call you out? Hey, I’ve been there before too, you’re not alone. I think this mentality comes from the idea that a relationship is something that’s deserved or that’s owed to us. It sounds about right, “we all deserve to be loved,” who could argue with that? Although it may sound good, that mentality could lead us astray when it comes to navigating relationships.
Forewarning, I’m going to bring up Adam and Eve again. But don’t roll your eyes and stop reading, I’ve got some good stuff here. So, Genesis 2. In the NIV translation it says, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Afterward, “the Lord God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18). Sometimes I understand Scripture better by identifying what’s not in the text. Nowhere does it say that Adam deserved Eve, even if he was a diligent worker. Eve’s companionship was not contingent on the success of Adam’s work, she was created to co-labor with him. I believe God created this partnership so that they could enjoy the tasks He had given them, together. Not only would the labor be enjoyable, the fellowship would be too. The garden was created for them to have a place to inhabit, to work, to reproduce, and to commune with each other and God.
When we are freely given something without merit or justification, it is a gift. Eve was a gift (all the ladies say “ayyyyyy”).
We don't receive blessings because we deserve them. In fact, we definitely don't deserve them.
Have there been and are there obedient children of God with whom He is pleased? Absolutely. But do those same people still mess up and fall short of the glory of God? Absolutely (Romans 3:23 NIV). (Cough, King David, cough). That is why salvation is a gift, we could never earn it because of our sinful, imperfect nature.
How do you treat gifts? Never mind the family pack of tube socks from Costco your auntie gives you on Christmas year after year. No, I’m talking about a precious, priceless, unexpected gift. Yeah one of those. You handle it with great care. And when you recognize the amount of time, effort, and planning involved for such a gift, something in you is moved to give right back. This is why Scripture points out that your obedience to God is evidence of your faith, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15 NLT). You understand the depth of the gift He has given you, and you want to give back!
Does that mean relationships are about giving? Yes!
The Author of relationships gave Himself for us before we ever had the opportunity to give to Him. So what if we not only saw a relationship as a gift, but then also as an opportunity to continually bless that person? What if we made it more about what we can give them rather than what we can get from them? Now I’m really rocking the boat. Hold on tight, secure your life jacket, we’re about to hit some rough waters.
In the Kingdom of God our motives shift, we no longer do things for our joy but for what brings God glory.
How is that possible? Jesus, of course, is the perfect example. The Word says, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). Nothing about Jesus’ situation was joyful. In fact, later on in that verse it says He scorned the shame of the cross. It was a shameful death He would endure. Though, He looked beyond His human anguish to the glory of the Father, with the knowledge of the good He would do for mankind. He knew the outcome and He knew it would please the Father to accomplish His will. When we keep the end in mind, it’s a game changer.
We have access to the same strength that Jesus tapped into on the cross, to do all that He asks of us on this earth. We have His resurrection power when we are born again. Do you think that maybe the absolute minimum thing we can do with this power is to be generous? (Silently nods head “yes”). Some have the gift of generosity and some feel as if they are the only one giving in their relationship. I’ve also been there, it’s frustrating to say the least. But that’s why you want to be with someone who understands the above principle of giving. If you are both truly sold out to the Lord, functioning in His resurrection power, you’re both freely giving and receiving at the same time. It’s a win win! Take some time in reflection to remind yourself that Christ is a gift. When was the last time you thanked Him for what He’s done for you? If you’re in a relationship, how can you be mindful of who God created your partner to be? How can you express to them, in word and in action, that you see them as a gift?