To cultivate healthy relationships there are 2 areas you may wish to consider.
The first being THE INHERENT CORRUPT NATURE OF MAN–The second being the INCORRUPTIBLE, SUPERIOR NATURE OF GOD.
Whether we like it or not, each & every one of us became card-carrying members of a fallen nature the day we were born (Rom. 3:23, 5:12, Gen. 3). This is important to understand and acknowledge before any true health can be realized in one’s relationships. So here are some basic facts explaining this inherited nature:
• IT GOES BY THESE NAMES: The Flesh, The Natural Man, The Old Man, The Outward Man, The (natural) Heart, The Carnal Mind, and SIN (John 3:6, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 4:22, 2 Cor. 4:16, Jer. 17:9, Rom. 8:7, 5:12-8:39).
• IT CAN’T BE TRUSTED. This is how the (natural) heart is described in Jeremiah 17:9, “…deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked.” So deceitful that it constantly tricks and betrays—so deceitful that only God can truly know it (1 John 3:20).
• THERE’S NOTHING GOOD IN IT (Rom. 7:18, John 6:63). All of its various works can be found in Galatians 5:19-21. Out of it proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, & blasphemies (Matt. 15:19).
• IT CAN’T BE IMPROVED OR CHANGED—ITS END IS DEATH (1 Cor. 15:22, Rom. 8:6). Any & all of man’s codes, creeds and concepts can’t change it and collapse with its use as Colossians 2:23 says, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Ceasing to know God results in a deluded & perverted heart that minds the things of the flesh, & relies on impotent idols (whether made of wood, stone, or ‘smart’ phone… See Rom. 1:18-32, 8:5, Isa. 44:6-20, 46, 41:29, 2 Cor. 7:1, Eph. 4:19). So if the carnal mind is the source of thoughts & thoughts are the source of action, it’s really no wonder that when man trusts & relies on it rather than God corruption is sown & toxicity enters into relationships (James 1:14-16, Gal. 6:8).
That brings us to the other area to be considered–The Superior Nature of God (Isa. 55:8-9). To get an idea of some of God’s attributes, including omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, transcendence, immutability, self-sufficiency, self-existence etc., take a look at these verses: Gen. 21:33, Deut. 7:9, Ps. 90:2, 91:1, 1 Tim. 1:17, 6:16, 2 Tim. 2:13, Heb. 6:17, 13:8, 10:23, Rev. 1:8, 19:11.
IF ANYTHING GOOD IS TO BE FOUND IN MAN, IT MUST FIRST BE PUT IN BY GOD. Thankfully God has given man an alternative to his inherent corrupt state with an option to receive the gift of a new nature, one that is “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6). Here are some basic facts re: this new Spirit nature:
• IT’S DIVINE IN ITS ORIGIN, PERFECT IN ITS NATURE & LIFE-GIVING (John 3:16, 6:63, 1 John 3:9, 5:18).
• IT GOES BY THESE NAMES: “Spirit”, Divine Nature, The New Man, The Inward Man, The Mind, Son-ship spirit (Christ’s spirit), and Divine spirit (John 3:6, 2 Pet. 1:4, Col. 3:10, Rom. 7:22-23, 25, 8:9, 14, 2 Cor. 4:16, Eph. 3:16, 4:24).
• IT CANNOT BE CHANGED (John 3:6, Eph. 1:13, Rom. 11:29).
This new alternative gives life & peace to those who receive it as well as supplying all that’s needed to contend with a fallen world (including the relationships in it) (Rom. 8:6, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Col. 2:10). Still there are PRECAUTIONS TO BE MINDFUL OF:
THERE IS AN ADVERSARY (enemy) of the new nature, the Devil, who is real and who wages warfare in the spiritual realm (1 John 15:19, Eph. 6:12, 2 Cor. 10:3, Gal. 5:17). He’s a thief who comes only to steal, kill & destroy (John 10:10); a roaring lion that seeks whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He’s the ultimate liar, imposter, tempter, accuser & deceiver (Matt. 13:39, John 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:14, Matt. 4:3, Rev. 12:10). Be mindful that his goal is to divert the believer’s attention from God in Christ and place it back on the corrupt fleshly self (Col. 2:4, 8, 1 Tim. 2:14, James 1:14-16, Eph. 5:6, 2 Thess. 2:3, Rom. 16:17-19, 1 Cor. 15:33, 2 John 1:7).
The New Nature has weapons that are not of a carnal nature, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strong holds (2 Cor. 10:4, Eph. 6:11-17, Rom. 13:12, 1 Cor. 15:57, 1 John 5:4). A believer must utilize them.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).
• Neglect, starve & make no accommodations for the flesh. Cast off its works (Phil. 3:3, Eph. 4:17-32, Rom. 6:11, 8:14, 13:12-14, Gal. 5:19-21). Don’t let the earthly things: money, material possessions & things that perish clutter up the mind (Col. 3:2, Luke 12:15-21, Matt. 6:21, 24, Prov. 15:16-17 1 Tim. 6:10, 1 John 2:16-17).
• Properly feed & take care of the new nature. This is accomplished by renewing the mind with the Word of God on a daily basis and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Just as one wouldn’t reap the benefits if someone physically exercised for them, the same applies spiritually. The end is better discernment & direction to move in truth via the power of God’s love (2 Tim. 2:15, 3:17, Acts 17:11, Deut. 8:3, Jer. 15:16, Col. 3:16, Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 10:5, Eph. 4:23-24, Heb. 4:12).
God’s love, in Christ, is unfailing & secure–the believer is complete in Him—so why not trust in Him with all your heart rather than lean on your own way of thinking to guide you in your life & relationships? (1 Cor. 13:4-7, Rom. 8:38-39, Col. 2:10, Phil. 4:6-7, Prov. 3:5-7).
For the Love of God
by Laura Kestly
The lesser gods we worship
as we fall upon our knees
are manufactured lies of love
as a deluded heart deceives
Material treasures we amass
and love with all our might
dematerialize to naught
when our final breath takes flight
The One who loved us first
is the One we first should love
and trust with our full hearts and minds
in His wisdom from above
Spiritual sonship is a gift
by grace through Christ alone
and a hope of life eternal
in a loving, heavenly home