Tag: friends

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

This is for the ladies. What do you want in a man? What is something you refuse to compromise on? What are your must-haves and must-not-haves? Many women have been encouraged to write a list that spells out all that they’d want in a husband. I have heard stories of women who have done this and the man they married was “everything they wanted and more.” I believe this really does happen.

It’s important to note that “the list” is as individual as the person writing it. It’s specific to you, your purpose, and the man the Most High will present to you. I’ve written lists before and have found that my list changes as I get older. Some things have remained the same (8 years ago), but for the most part, it’s changed a lot. This is due in part to my coming into an understanding of who I am and what I need.

Many times, we make these lists identifying our wants, but not our needs. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to ‘want’ something — but every desire must be qualified. Why do I want what I want? What will I do with it once I get it? Who will it help or serve?

There’s nothing wrong with identifying what you want, but don’t compromise what you need for what you want. Typically, the things we want are temporary things anyway. The things we need are things that our purpose and the very core of who we are cannot live without. ‘Needs’ won’t change — for the most part. ‘Wants’ will. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be of my greatest benefit to evaluate and desire a man based on something that does not change. The WORD of God.

Now, when I say WORD of God, I’m talking about Yeshua, the Messiah (many have referred to Him as Jesus–that’s a blog for another day). Although many refer to the Bible as the Word of God, it is not the WORD of God.

John 1:1, 14 says, “In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning. The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us…” See, the Bible contains words from God, but it is not the WORD of God. Moving on.

The WORD of God doesn’t change and I can be secure in who He is and who I am IN Him. Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” If we are the offspring of God, we are produced after Him — meaning, we look (and are) like Him.

So, if I have a relationship with the One who does not change (James 1:17), whom I’m created to be like (Genesis 1:26-28), it would be important to note what He celebrates and deems good — hence the purpose for this blog.

In Matthew 5, we read of one of the most powerful teachings ever taught to mankind. I’ve been hearing this since I was about 5 years old and am only now coming into deeper understanding of it. Verses 3-12 have been infamously referred to as the Beatitudes. It’s that passage in the Bible that each verse starts with, “Blessed are…”

Many of sermons have been taught on the Beatitudes. My church recently went through a study and it was mind-blowing. Before we had even studied it, I had decided to write this blog. I’m going to take a look at the first three verses and how they influence what I should look for in a relationship. (These are in no particular order — although they are numbered).

  1. Submission to God

v. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Yeshua was speaking of one who is crouched low before God (humility). One who is poor in spirit does not place confidence or value in their own human authority; they recognize God’s authority as highest and truest.

So, this verse encourages me to bless (praise) what Christ has blessed (praised) — which is a man that recognizes God’s authority and governs his life according to it. A man who isn’t submitted to God is a man unprepared to lead you or himself in God’s will.

A direct result of being one who recognizes and acknowledges God’s authority is the quality of being teachable. Being teachable allows you to be ready to learn because you aren’t under the impression you know everything. If you’re under the impression you know everything, you can’t learn.

2. After God’s Own Heart

v. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.”

Like verse 3, this verse does not mean what it would appear to mean. Yeshua would always talk in parables and His lessons would always have a deeper meaning. The revelation I received when studying this was that the one who mourns what God mourns, will be comforted (brought near).

The one whose heart breaks for what the Father’s break shall be brought near to the Father. This means, an intimate relationship with the Father results in caring about what God cares about — which in turn results in greater intimacy with the Father. A man who cultivates an intimate relationship with the Father is a student of Love (for God is Love) and will constantly be growing in the fullness of who God created him to be.

3. Humility

“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”

Yeshua is speaking of humility again. This ought to be no surprise to us given how much God hates pride. (1 John 2:16; Isaiah 2:10; Proverbs 11:2). But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).” 

The Bible is very clear that God favors the humble and hates pride. God hates pride because it is often at the root of any sin. Pride exalts itself higher than it ought. Pride says, “I know better than God.” Pride doesn’t allow us to accept God because we will believe there’s no need to.

A man that walks humbly before God and man will walk in the favor of God. To have the favor of God means to have God’s face turned toward you in approval. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).”

If God approves of you, He gives you what is His. He gives you influence and authority. It may not look the way we think it would, but it’s the kind of influence and authority that can only come from God. This kind of approval (justification) comes with intimate relationship (sonship) with God. “For they will inherit the earth…” You inherit because you’re an heir, a child of God. I want to be with a man that recognizes he’s a child of the Most High and is in pursuit of what that looks like.

So, as we can see, the Bible can inform us of what God values and help us make sound decision in our relationships. Since marriage is God’s, it makes sense to seek Him about His desire for it. Some questions I’ve asked God are, “what kind of person should I marry?” “What kind of person do you want me to be in marriage?” These questions are informing me of God’s desire for me in relationships.

I hope this blog encourages you to seek God about your relationships and to trust that He knows best!

 

Be sensible.

Be fools.

Friends: How Many of Us Have Them? Pt. 2

Friends: How Many of Us Have Them? Pt. 2

We’re back to dig a little deeper about a subject that is relatively touchy for me. I have found over the years that I feel quite strongly about what friendship is and ought to look like.

I’m that person that is very intentional about which words I use when referring to someone. “Oh, that’s my homeboy Jake.” (I do not have a homeboy named Jake. I’m just saying.) When I say homeboy, I am referring to someone who I get along with, we can have the occasional deep conversation, but we’re not exactly friends.

There are levels to this.

If I had to draw a diagram of some sort, it would look a little something like this:

Diagram From the outer circle to the inner circle, each one represents a function of relationship.

Acquaintance: someone I just met

Associate: someone I know within a particular context (classmate, coworker, etc)

Homie/Homeboy: someone with whom I’ve had more regular contact, deeper conversations, and get along with very well

Friend: someone I trust; and while we’re close, mutually, we’re not in each other’s innermost circle; accountability and support

Best friends: God has mutually equipped us to walk together through life; higher accountability, greater intimacy, have been ‘vetted’ etc.

The levels don’t indicate who’s better. The levels indicate the different functions and purposes of those relationships. What these levels comprise is a support system. For clarification, this does not mean I don’t have intimate moments with acquaintances and associates. I believe transparent moments like that are necessary and important to personal growth.

If you didn’t notice, there wasn’t a circle for me. Friends aren’t there for their worlds to revolve around me. This is something I’ve struggled with from time to time. I’ve learned that it’s not simply about who they can be to you or how they can help you.

Yes. It’s important to know who your friends are and how they function. However, an important question to ask ourselves is, “What kind of friend am I to them? How have I been a support to them?”

For me, it’s often easier to assume I’m not in the wrong. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I ‘classify’ my friends for lack of a better word. I have not spent nearly as much thinking about how I can be better as a friend. “A man of many companions may come to ruin; but there’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)

It’s so easy to read that and begin to think of all the people who don’t fit that description. Today I’m asking myself, “am I a friend who sticks closer than a brother?” Honestly, I do think I’m a good friend; at least I have the potential to be. However, potential means nothing without progress.

Here are some ways I have identified I could be a better friend:

  1. Call when I have nothing to talk about. For us ladies, this can be so difficult. We typically call or text each other to talk about a specific topic. We may call to update each other about our life events.
  2. Give them the benefit of the doubt when they don’t do what you’d like for them to do. This is a really big one for me. I’ve improved, but often my mind begins to wander and I find myself thinking thoughts that are not life-giving.
  3. Keep shorter accounts.  Don’t just wait for them to contact you or a special occasion. Contact them more frequently.
  4. Ask the questions you’re uncomfortable asking. Some questions include, “How can I be a better friend?” “When and how have I acted out of character as of late?”
  5. Be honest when things hurt me. Sometimes we think that just because we’re in a friendship that God put together that hurt or the appearance of betrayal isn’t possible. It very well is. How we deal with the hurt afterwards is what matters. One of the best ways to deal with hurt in that particular area is to be honest and confront those feelings within yourself.

I’m sure there are other ways in which I could improve as a friend. However, we’d be here for a very long time. You may have some reasons you think you could improve as a friend. Share those ideas with a trusted friend and encourage them to hold you accountable.

Remember, friendship is so important. Who you decide to be intimate friends with will dictate your life. So choose wisely. In all of your choosing, don’t forget to be a great choice as well.

Friends: How Many Of Us Have Them?

Friends: How Many Of Us Have Them?

In a world where being friends with someone is as easy as a click, the definition of friendship is shifting.

Social media has ‘virtualized’ relationships. We no longer have to be as present or focused in friendships as we had been. Nevertheless, this is not a social media bash post.

Social media isn’t the only thing influencing how we define friendship. Oftentimes, the first place we look for some sort of guidance in our friendships is our parents or guardians. The way your parents engaged in friendships heavily influences how you engage in friendships.

Whether they offered blatant advice or not, you picked up behaviors, cues, and ideas about how you would participate in your friendships.

Personally, I believe we use the word ‘friend’ a little too loosely. Everyone is not your friend. Everyone ought not have the kind of access you give a friend.

A friend knows the good, bad, and ugly and sticks around out of choice, not obligation. A friend makes a commitment of sorts to ‘do life’ with you. A friend corrects you.

The Bible says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Friendship is so important. The friends you choose will affect your life in a tangible way. Friends will either encourage you towards purpose or propel you towards ruin.

You’ve heard the phrase. ‘Blood is thicker than water.’ This speaks of the loyalty within family. However, the Bible challenges this notion. This is why it’s so important to be mindful of how you choose your friends.

A friend is the family you choose.

Now, this isn’t only about knowing who’s best for you but knowing whether you’re good for someone else. Sometimes, we’re not the person that someone needs to support and sharpen them. We must have discernment to know when it’s time to leave a friendship or whether to start one in the first place.

Friendships ought to make you better, hold you accountable, be enjoyable, and push you towards purpose. Not everyone is built to do that in your life. You’re not built to do that for everyone. You can ‘act’ as a friend in a moment to a stranger or acquaintance; but true friendship requires commitment and sacrifice.