The Life of a Disciple: Relationships

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…

Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Here is one more lesson on “do unto others,” but we will look at some specific relationships as well. The verses this lesson opened with are general verses. The first one there, which is found in the gospels, gives us a basic guideline for how we should treat anyone. The way you want them to treat you, that’s how you should treat them. What does that look like? Helping, taking the time to listen, being kind, giving way to the other person’s preference, respecting each other. That verse is the reason I don’t have ads on my website. You can apply it in any situation to help you know the right decision.

Now, let’s look at a few specific relationships, and see what we can learn.

Ephesians 5:22-6:9  

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,… In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. … For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, … let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, … Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

These verses compare our relations with others to our relation with Christ. As the church submits to Christ, a wife submits to her husband and shows him respect. As Christ laid down His life for the church, so the husband out to lay down his life for his wife. Servants, or we could apply this to employees and even volunteers, serve sincerely as if you were serving Christ. Masters, or we could say bosses and leaders, don’t think you are better in any way, but serve those you lead sincerely as well.

The children section is a little different. Fathers are to discipline their children, but not to the point of anger and embittering. Children are to obey their parents and honor them. The verse points out that it comes with a promise. There is a blessing for those who honor their parents. It will go well with them.

There is always a blessing in obedience. Women get upset at the command to submit to their husbands, but obedience brings a blessing. They are missing the fact that authority comes with responsibility. The head, the husband, as the authority being submitted to, bears the weight of all the responsibility of the decisions being made. That is a burden the wife doesn’t have to carry if she submits. That doesn’t mean the wife isn’t at all included in making decisions. The husband lays down his life for her, giving up selfishness, to care for her.

You can apply “love your neighbor as yourself” to the idea of dating. Would you want someone else kissing your future wife or husband? It’s a thought to consider.

Moving away from Ephesians, here’s a verse for leaders in the church and their relationship to those in their church.

Acts 20:28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

They are called shepherds, like Jesus. They are in charge of directing and guarding the flock. It also points out how precious and valuable the flock is, and that’s how they should be seen by their leaders.

First and foremost, we are all to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, even to the point where we can disobey our earthly leaders.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

But a caution here: don’t use that as an excuse to be rebellious! Check your heart. That’s what God is looking at.

Above all, love one another and treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s your go-to in any relationship decision.

Matthew 7:12 (NIV) So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Lesson Point: Love each other. Respect each other. Honor God in all your relationships.

Challenge Question: Where is this easy for you? Where is it hard for you? What should you do about that? Ask God’s help!