• Jason Wade


26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, 27 for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. 28 Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men. Proverbs 23:26-28

People and relationships are tough to define. As we are walking through the 30 sayings on wisdom with Solomon, this week we have been able to really see that relationships must have weighed heavy on Solomon's mind during this time. I know that we all have different types of relationships that we must juggle on a daily basis. Friendships, acquaintances, strangers, bff's, dating, and even those that we begrudgingly call friends. There are the relationships that we have with teachers, coworkers, parents, students, coaches and neighbors. We are technically juggling these relationships daily in hopes that we don't do the wrong thing or say the wrong words that can cause the dreaded DRAMA to enter into the picture. Then we have to find time to make amends and that takes even more time out of our busy schedules. There is also those relationships that have seemed to fade away over the years due to people taking a different life path or just moving out of our lives. One thing I am certain of, relationships play a HUGE role in the formation of who we are and who we eventually end up becoming down this long path called life.

As we look at the relationships that Jesus had in His life, there were a lot of people who had high hopes for what Jesus was going to become in this world. The disciples for example, was hoping that Jesus was going to be the new king and they were going to instantly be put in positions of authority based on their relationship with Jesus. BUT, Jesus had a different thought in mind. He built relationships with people that others were not willing to spend time with or even talk to for any reason. However, Jesus was able to see their hearts and knew their struggles. The world is already filled with outcasts, and Jesus tried to do the best He could do to help the outcast feel like a neighbor. I say all of that because I just wonder what the requirements that we have to protect ourselves and others against the harmful or

toxic relationships that are in the world. I hope and pray that we are all able to surround ourselves with people who will hold us accountable and help us to grow into the person God has created us to be. We have to be mindful of those relationships that may be toxic and cause us harm. They are difficult to see when they are so closely knit into our lives, but we do have the ability to break free when we have those we trust pull us out of the fire. It really doesn't matter if it is a dating relationship or a work relationship, each can cause us to doubt who we are and harm our picture of who God created us to be. So I pray that we listen to these words of wisdom and begin to recognize the relationships that we may need to tune out of our lives because of the harm it may be inflicting on our spiritual journey.

I know that the words that Solomon speaks today are pretty up close and harsh. If we took the words literally, we would recognize that Solomon must be talking on a specific type of intimate relationship, but the real reality is the toxicity of the relationships that we may find ourselves in based on the choice that we make. Here I can relate it more to God telling us to give Him our hearts in order that He can help to direct out vision and path. We can find a way to allow God into not just the decisions that deal with our physical nature, but we must be willing to get to a point where we invite God into EVERY relationship in our lives. As we are looking for friends, colleagues, and even husbands and wives, I think that it is funny that many people don't really configure God into the equation. We are constantly watching as different relationships are falling apart and many times those involved are asking why. Solomon warns us about this in our teaching today. His warning stems around the intention of the person's heart that are getting involved. If the person has not intention of building a relationship that may last for a long time, you have to question the intention of the relationship. Many people who are looking just for a short term fling, find themselves hurt or scared of commitment. They have no idea of the damage they may cause to the person who is seeking a relationship that is intended to be someone they can trust and let into their hearts. As we have mentioned before the heart is one that if attacked can carry scars throughout the rest of the life of the persons involved. I also don't believe that we can only narrow this thought to the female gender. I believe the words that Solomon are using can be intended for every relationship that we may encounter. People are always looking to use us and take from us what they can in order to move up in the world and achieve their goals regardless of the hearts and lives they may destroy along the way.

So my encouragement for us all today is to take the time to invest into every relationship that we may have on a daily basis. Every relationship needs to be measured with God as a part of the equation. I hope and pray that, even in plutonic or work relationships, we are still hoping to encourage and build up all of those in our lives and not find ways to tear them down. I hope and pray that we are able to see the damage that can be done in a relationship that is toxic and find ways to help others as they are helping keep us accountable to God's teachings. Once again it is not just about having knowledge, but applying that knowledge in a way that turns into a wisely applying this knowledge into every area of our life and any decision that we may make. It is ok to take to discern and pray about a relationship. Hear me, it is also ok to pray a relationship out of our lives of the lives of others if it is one that is toxic and demeaning to one or both of those involved. We have been given this opportunity

today and I pray that we truly look at the relationships in our lives and add God into the picture. If it is one that is truly causing us to fall away and allow sin to move in than we need to reevaluate the relationship. If it is one that is uplifting and helping all involved to glorify God, than we know that we are in a relationship that is healthy both physically and spiritually. Now understand that I am not saying that you cannot have a relationship with someone who does not believe in God... what I am saying is that relationships are meant to connect people with common ideals to help both involved to grow stronger in their relationship with God and each other. Missionary dating is not a healthy relationship. It is relevant to the lesson for today but a lesson that deserves more time to cover in the future. Let's invite God into our hearts so that we are able to see with our eyes the relationships that are in our lives that are fruitful for spiritual growth and those that are toxic and need to be ended. Relationship 101 begins first with getting our relationship with God first, and then applying that to every relationship in our lives. It may look difficult, but it will truly help your heart and soul in the end.

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