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We talk about being Christ-centered in our relationships, but, aside from SAYING it, what does it mean?

A few of us were talking and one of the interesting things about this was how we each had a different way of saying it.

So, let's open up a dialogue with some questions

1. Is your relationship based on the human love of "treat others as they treat you" or the love of Christ, where He loved us while we were yet sinners and died for us (see Romans 5:8)? 

2. Thinking of those relationships, which ones are rooted in the person, the work, and the purpose of Jesus Christ on a conscious basis?

3. Thinking of these relationships, are the ways you act and treat each other, the standards and norms of your relationship, governed by the way Jesus treated HIS friends?

4. Is there a conscious effort to come together to do something that glorifies Jesus and draws people to Him?

5. How many Christ-centered relationships do you have in your life?

6. Looking at your key relationships (spouse, children, family, friends), what are the key principles or standards that govern these relationships?

See more questions below....

A.  Would we have DIVORCE like we have today if our marriages were Christ-Centered?

B.  Would children be left to their own devices, often without discipline, training or love and encouragement if our FAMILIES were Christ-Centered?

C.   Do you think that part of the problem is that people do not know HOW to have Christ-Centered relationships.

D.   What would it LOOK LIKE if couples and families together devoted themselves to the things that count, the core..

   *  Loving God

   *  Loving our neighbors

   *  The Great Commission, make disciplined followers

   *  Prayer

   *  Fellowship, partnering in the good news

   *  Breaking of Bread, deliberately and often with other believers

   *  Apostle's teaching - together learning and living, BEING letters from God to others

If people did the things above, being intentional about LIVING Christ in their relationships... what impact would that have?

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When I look around at how people relate to each other, I GENERALLY see that people's relationships are not formed with Christ in the center.

For Christ to be in the center, he must FIRST be in the center of each person's life. ONLY then can people have relationships with each other that are Christ-centered.

Are my relationships “Christ-Centered”?

For most – probably not. Why do I say that?

Christ-centered, to me, would mean that if we have an issue the keys to resolving the issue would look like this...

  • How can I work to resolve the issue yet preserve the relationship? Why is this important? Because the GREAT COMMANDMENT is to love one another... that would mean to me that love should be the 'driver'.

  • When we work to resolve issues, we would use truth and grace. Humans fall down on one side or another...

    All grace= just sweep it under the carpet. In my opinion things under the carpet tend to mildew and stink.

    Or

    All truth= I know what is right, you are clearly wrong so you are out... Or, some version of this... ultimately it leads to unilaterally doing things that are not good for the other person or for the relationship.

    Since Christ BALANCES truth and grace, I believe those who have Christ-centered relationships would work to achieve this balance.

One challenge in accessing our relationships is this: People often 'THINK' their lives and relationships are Christ-centered, UNTIL the relationship is tested. It is then and often ONLY then that a person finds out what 'metal' that the relationship is made of.

My husband and I have a Christ-centered relationship. We have agreed, formally actually!-that Christ is the center and we will live out his life in our marriage.

Plus, there are some relationships in my life that have been tested and stood the test! Praise God. I trust him to expand the number of these types of relationships.

I think that people don't build Christ centered relationships for many reasons...

    Here is one...

          People often assume others are living in intentional duplicity.   In other words, they see a Christian doing 'wrong' and assume that person is aware and intentional.   In other words, they assume the other is perhaps Christian in name only or perhaps not fully committed to Christ.

What reasons can you add?  If we can make the reasons VISIBLE, then we can begin to 'take down the walls'.

  

Human beings- subject to failure at any time, without any prior notice...full of contradictions and warring natures (the inner man and the outer man)....

Juanita said:

I think that people don't build Christ centered relationships for many reasons...

    Here is one...

         

It may be for one simple reason.  Although Christ told us we are not of this world, was are definitely in this world, and many times we get caught up with the everyday struggles and worries of this world.  Until some real disaster strikes, or we hit very low times, we spend more energy on making our life here, and including Christ, not centering Him.  We need to understand that we are all called for different reasons, and by making Christ the center, and not just including Him, then no matter what we are called to do we will do it in a way that reveals Christ.

Mark,

Great insight...   I couldn't agree more.  This happens to us!

Do you think we could intentionally CHOOSE to live differently?   Why I ask is that a group of us over at Kingdom, Inc. are trying it.   ;-)

Mark Francis Marinucci said:

It may be for one simple reason.  Although Christ told us we are not of this world, was are definitely in this world, and many times we get caught up with the everyday struggles and worries of this world.  Until some real disaster strikes, or we hit very low times, we spend more energy on making our life here, and including Christ, not centering Him.  We need to understand that we are all called for different reasons, and by making Christ the center, and not just including Him, then no matter what we are called to do we will do it in a way that reveals Christ.

My thoughts on why Christians do not connect in a Christ-centered way-

First- I am assuming we are talking about Christ-centered, committed, what I call “daily action living in the Word” Christians.  I am also assuming we are talking about Christians who are committed to be led in the Spirit to the hard work He guides us into being a vessel to do.

Second- I am defining Christ-centered as relationships which are defined by Christ and the two great missions I see we have in life, the one bearing the fruit that produces the other-

 to grow and pursue a personal, abiding relationship with God, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit

 

to live the kingdom, learn the kingdom, teach the kingdom, witness the kingdom, and extend the kingdom.

 

Now that those assumptions are out of the way- here is what I believe is the critical, I mean, THE CRITICAL impediment to connecting in Christ-

Fear-  primarily fear of three things-

  1.  The light- opening up the dark rooms of our life for others to see into- ESPECIALLY our loved ones, for whom we have years, decades of dark rooms we wish to keep closed to one another for fear of facing hard truths about ourselves and the ones we love and fear of being disappointed or disappointing that loved one
  2. Cost- the obligations of a close relationship- having to be there for someone- physically, spiritually be there
  3. Conflict-  we hear again and again from people what they most want to avoid in life from other people is ‘drama’.  Inviting people into our lives, we instinctively and empirically know, invites conflict or drama.  Drama saps our energy and leads to either disappointment in others or disappointment in ourselves.

I have lots of thoughts about how we overcome the fear impediment, well, not so much overcome as submit to God and The Holy Spirit and let Him overcome for us.  But this is not about the solution, but identifying the impediments to connecting in Christ-centered ways with one another.

Tis too true...   people disappoint us.   Unless we are centered in Christ FIRST and die to ourselves, we won't have either the courage or will to connect to others.

Bill Collier said:

Human beings- subject to failure at any time, without any prior notice...full of contradictions and warring natures (the inner man and the outer man)....

Juanita said:

I think that people don't build Christ centered relationships for many reasons...

    Here is one...

         

Too bad it takes a large negative for us to contend with our sinful natures before we center on making our relationship solid with Jesus.  It certainly took that extreme in my life to draw closer to Him.

Dave

Mark Francis Marinucci said:

It may be for one simple reason.  Although Christ told us we are not of this world, was are definitely in this world, and many times we get caught up with the everyday struggles and worries of this world.  Until some real disaster strikes, or we hit very low times, we spend more energy on making our life here, and including Christ, not centering Him.  We need to understand that we are all called for different reasons, and by making Christ the center, and not just including Him, then no matter what we are called to do we will do it in a way that reveals Christ.

You are right on that, David!

Dave Knauss said:

Too bad it takes a large negative for us to contend with our sinful natures before we center on making our relationship solid with Jesus.  It certainly took that extreme in my life to draw closer to Him.

Dave

Mark Francis Marinucci said:

It may be for one simple reason.  Although Christ told us we are not of this world, was are definitely in this world, and many times we get caught up with the everyday struggles and worries of this world.  Until some real disaster strikes, or we hit very low times, we spend more energy on making our life here, and including Christ, not centering Him.  We need to understand that we are all called for different reasons, and by making Christ the center, and not just including Him, then no matter what we are called to do we will do it in a way that reveals Christ.

This really speaks to loving God with all your heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself... Most of what you mentioned above is truly about loving others.. If you do this a as a first priority (as you love yourself) this would happen naturally (relationships are Christ centered, or at least you are treating others the way Christ wants us to treat others).  Secondly, in recent years I've tried to think of ways in my relationships that build the other person up, help them achieve their goals, etc. I think this moves most of your relationships to being Christ centered because you are following the "love your neighbor as yourself" commandment... not to mention the fact that some amazing things happen in your relationships when you start focusing on building others up. The true test though is can we do this with those who are our enemies, or those we don't like so much... This keeps us from being angry, vindictive, vengeful, spiteful, and we would be more likely to pray for our enemies as instructed (which would make even these relationships Christ centered).

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