God’s System of Relationships

by APC on August 13, 2015

God has constructed various systems of spiritual growth for His children. Each of these systems include integral cogs. These cogs define elements that help Christians obtain the spiritual growth needed to be successful in their walk with God. One system in which we live and experience every day is the system of relationships. If we live successfully within this system, this will help the growth (well-oiled gears and cogs) in other spiritual systems.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7–8, KJV).

What we invest in our relationships will be what we get from our relationships: good for good and bad for bad. Relationships are not automatic—they take time and investment.

Relationship Gears

Strong Marriages

Peter outlines the conditions for strong marriages in I Peter 3:1–7, giving instruction to both the wives and husbands. Both must do their part in the relationship of marriage to ensure a lasting relationship, one that can be beneficial to God’s kingdom.

Women are instructed to respect their husbands (I Peter 3:1) and to invest time and effort on the inward (not outward) person (I Peter 3:3–4). Peter gave Sara as an example of one who was a godly wife: adorning herself properly and honoring her husband (I Peter 3:6). Sara called Abraham “Lord” out of respect. She acknowledged God’s divine order of creation through which God’s authority flows: from God, to man, to woman.

Men are instructed to honor their wives as if she is the most valuable item on the face of the earth (I Peter 3:7). Peter tells men to dwell with their wife according to knowledge—men need to learn how to best live with their wife, do what pleases her, and care for her as best as he can.

Honorable Citizens

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God… (I Peter 2:13–15, KJV).

In sum, Peter admonishes the church to be a good neighbor, community member, and citizen. Being a good, honorable citizen includes obeying the leadership that’s present in our life. It’s easy for Christians who stand on the truth of God’s Word, to be rebellious against government. Regardless of whether the leadership is good or bad, we need to submit ourselves. All leadership was put into place by God.

Good Workers

When we have a job that we enjoy and work for a manager we like, it’s easy to work hard. However, when we don’t like our job, or are at odds with our boss, we may not feel like putting forth our best effort. Peter tells the church to always be subject unto those who have rule over us and to work diligently, with our best effort (I Peter 2:18–19). When we work, it’s for the Lord and not for man. It’s not man who will reward us for our work—it is the Lord (Psalm 75:6).

Working, Willing Leaders

Everyone in some way is a leader—leadership is about influence. Peter spoke to the concept of leadership in I Peter 5:2–4. Peter used the analogy of a shepherd because of the cultural significance. His audience understood when he said “feed the flock,” which meant to care for the others with the diligence of a shepherd. Peter wanted the church to be leaders. Shepherds guide, guard, gather, and sometimes goad others, leaders must do all in love.

Peter gives requirements for leadership, and compares and contrasts the enemies and allies of leadership (I Peter 5:2–3). Leaders should not feel obligated to do God’s word, have the wrong motivation, or have a pride in their position. But, leaders should lead by example, and have the mindset of “me first”—being the first one to do something for God’s kingdom!

Unified, Submitted Saints

A key relationship is the one we have with the members of the body of Christ. Peter tells us to love our brothers and sisters in the church the same way that we would love a blood relative (e.g., brother, sister, mother, father, etc.) (I Peter 3:8–9).

Our job is to bless and love one another. Peter instructs the believer not to render evil for evil, but to be a blessing (I Peter 3:9)! If we are to be unified with the body of Christ, this is a relationship and behavior we must learn and practice on a continual basis. Part of this relationship will be submission. We are never in true submission to the body of Christ until agreement ends. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5).

Lasting Relationships

There are so many components in God’s system of relationships—additional relationships include safe friendships, caring parents, and obedient children. The list truly goes on and on! Overall, we need to remember that all relationships work together and help the kingdom of God and the individual’s personal spiritual growth.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 12, 2015