Charles Stanley - Right Relationships
How do you become the person God wants you to be and to accomplish the things in life that you want to achieve? Well, once you start down that path, here's what you'll discover, greatest sense of joy and peace and contentment in your life, and also the capacity to achieve things that you probably never dreamed of. The problem is that most people will never travel down that path. They'll be looking and wandering and longing for something and can't figure out what it is. And the reason they'll never be able to achieve what God wants them to achieve, become the person God wants them to become is because they're looking in the wrong places and making the wrong choices.
Because you see, the choices we make in life determine a lot of things. It determines, for example, whether we succeed or fail at whatever we're attempting. It determines whether we have contentment and peace and joy or not. It also determines whether you and I are able to triumph over our adversities or whether we're destroyed by them. How do we become the persons God wants us to be, achieve the things that He wants us to achieve? Well that's what I wanna talk about in this message. This is the fifth message in the series, speaking of that very same theme of reaching our potential in life.
And you see our potential are or possibilities, the powers that lie within us, to be able to achieve and to become those things that God has set before us. We've talked about the whole issue of the major steps, primary steps... a clean heart, a clear mind, a balanced schedule, healthy body, and now "right relationships". Right relationships are extremely important if you and I are gonna become the persons God wants us to be, achieve the things He wants us to achieve.
So I want you to turn if you will to the book of Acts, and I want us to look if you will in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts, and I want us to read just five verses of this passage. This is referring to Paul's first missionary journey and the scripture says, "Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, when they had fasted and prayed and they laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they also had John as their helper".
That is John Mark. Now I stop right there because here's what happens. The Holy Spirit said, "Send out Saul and Barnabas". Well, Mark, John Mark was Barnabas's cousin. And so they decided to take him along with them. Well what happened was he hadn't been with them very long and something happened in his thinking. Either he wasn't tough enough or was afraid or something. Anyway, he deserted Saul, Saul of Tarsus, that is the Apostle Paul. He deserted him and Barnabas and just left. He just took off and left 'em. Well they finished the first missionary journey, they come to the second missionary journey.
Look if you will in this fifteenth chapter now and the thirty-sixth verse, they begin the second missionary journey, "After some days Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we have proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are.' Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along," listen, because of what, "He who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and left being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches".
Now the Apostle Paul knew that in order to accomplish the work that God had called him to accomplish, he had to have the right relationships. And to have somebody along who was not strong enough, not skilled enough, not believing enough, but who absolutely deserted them in the middle of the work, he was not about to have him along again. And so they had a little dissension there and they separated. Now later on the scripture tells us that he must have certainly forgiven John Mark because he called him and he was one of his helpers and comforters at a time in his life. And then also he's the Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark.
So somewhere along the way got straightened out. But at this particular situation he just didn't fit the relationship and what God had called the Apostle Paul to do. Now in light of all that, I want us to talk about this whole issue of relationships. Relationships is what life's all about, relationship to God, relationships to each other. And oftentimes we don't, we don't measure the value of those relationships. We don't realize what kind of positive or negative effect they have on us. And sometimes we maybe have been in relationships a long time and don't even think about it.
What I want you to see is this. In order to accomplish the things that God wants you to achieve in life, become the person God wants you to be, it's very important that you and I choose the right relationships. Because we all have relationships with the family, people we love, our friends, people we work with, and of course our relationship to God. Relationships are a vital part of life. God does not intend for us to live like "Lone Rangers". He didn't equip any of us to do it just all by ourselves, but He desires that. And of course you know in the Garden of Eden He said it's not good for example for man to be alone. Truth is, not good for man to be alone or a woman to be alone.
And so God has made us, while He's made us to be dependent upon Him, He's also made us to have relationships with each other, to be some degree dependent upon one another. And when we talk about relationships, we're talking about connections. That is, you're connected with people, emotionally or whatever it may be in your job, friendships, whatever it might be. We have those connections in life and the issue is what kind of connections are they? So ask yourself this question. Do I have relationships that I do believe will help me to become the person God wants me to be and achieve the things that God wants me to achieve in life or do I know even now at the very beginning of this message that there are relationships in my life that I know are not really promoting the will of God, the ways of God, the plan of God in my life?
There are relationships that are not really lifting me up and building me up but sorta tempting me to be slipping away from what I know is the will and purpose and plan of God. Only you know the answer to that. Relationships are extremely important because the truth is you and I won't accomplish much in life by ourselves. For example, let's say how many tremendous bridges that span mighty gulfs of streams or rivers that could be built by one person alone? Not any. How many skyscrapers would there be if only one person could do the building?
So, there are such few things in life that you and I can accomplish alone. Because the truth is we are very, very limited by what we can do. What can one person do? One mind, one set of eyes, one set of hands, one set of ears, one set of, one set of feet, one strong or weak back, what can one person do? But then you multiply that, two and four and, and sixteen and thirty-two and sixty-four and a hundred, and on and on and on we go. What can a group of people do cooperating with each other, good relationships do that one person cannot do? So many things that you and I enjoy today are the products of people working together in good relationships with the same objective, the same goals and willing to cooperate and work together to make it happen.
So we all have that relationship with each other, with the people we love, our family, our friends, God and all the rest. Now the issue is what kind of relationships are they? Take the Apostle Paul. You read the epistles and so forth and you'll think about how many times he mentions one after the other, one friend, one helper after the other. Not only just Paul and Silas but Aristochus and all the rest of those... Timothy and all the rest of those who were his helpers. And Priscilla and Aquilla and, and while he's traveling around from place to place. He built relationships with people that would do two things: help him to achieve the things that God called him to do, help him to become the person that God wanted him to be.
Because he in the process, while he was giving himself away to others was also being built up in his own faith, and being strengthened. That's God's plan. God's plan is for us to build relationships that are godly, relationships that'll be a help to us to become and to achieve what God has so planned for our life. So I ask you this question. What kind of relationship, singular or plural, what kind of relationships do you have, that because of your relationship to that person or those persons, your life, God is working in your life. He's doing something awesome in your relationship to Him. And He's also enabling you to become, listen, but to also achieve and to accomplish in your life what you really could not apart from Him. That's the plan of God for every single one of us.
Now think about this in your family. You have children. What do you say to them? I want you to become the young man that God wants you to be. Sweetheart, I want you to become the godly woman God wants you to be. And I'm gonna help you do that. So what do you do? You build a relationship with your children. And your two primary goals as a godly mother and father to do what? Enable them, strengthen them, support them in every way possible. That is you want to build a relationship with your children that is so strong, so penetrating, so persuasive, so influential, so impacting in their lives that they will want to grow up to be godly young people and achieve and accomplish the things that God wants them to achieve and accomplish in life.
Well the truth is that doesn't stop when our children become grown because then there are our grandchildren. But it doesn't stop then because you see we have friends. You have husbands and wives and families and, and people we work with, people we relate to. All of us have those relationships in life, and relationships are very important because if they're positive, they're good. If they're negative relationships, they tear us down. So let's think for just a moment what kind of relationships do you and I need in our life that will enable you and me to become the kind of persons God wants us to be and achieve those things that He wants to achieve in your life?
Well, I want to get your pad and pencil out. If you'll jot them down, it'll be a help to you, it'll be a help to someone else. First of all, the kind of relationships that will help you to become that person and achieve those things, number one, relationship, listen, that will build your confidence. Build your confidence in God. Build your confidence in yourself. Listen to what the Apostle Paul says. First Thessalonians, chapter five, verse eleven: "Therefore encourage one another, build up one another, just as you also are doing".
So first of all, we need relationships that will do what? That will build our confidence. Secondly, that will encourage us, listen, relationships that will encourage us in those moments when we're discouraged. All of us reach those moments in our life. We need to have relationships that will encourage us when we are discouraged. Number three, those relationships that motivate us. Motivate us how? Motivate us to do our best. Everyone needs some kind of relationship in their life like that. Motivate that person to wanna do their best. Isn't that what you do to your children? Want you to do your best in school, son. You may, if you're not capable of making an A, that's okay, I want you to do your best. Motivate us to do our best.
Not only that, but also stimulate us to greater creativity. We want to build relationships that stimulate us to greater creativity. All of us have some sense of creativity in our life. We have the right kind of relationships. That person will stimulate us, encourage us, build us up, stimulate us, listen, to be more creative because they see within us the potential that we have. Likewise, those who will energize us when we're weary. You say, "Well, how can somebody else energize you"? I can tell you personally. I've got some of the most wonderful friends whom I love and cherish more than I do any visible, physical thing that I have apart from the Word of God itself. Friends are very valuable. How do they energize me? Sometimes when I'm thinking, "Oh, I feel a little drag's on". I'll call 'em up and I'll say, "Let's go eat".
Now I'm not interested so much in eating as doing what? Being in their presence, talking to them, listening to them, whatever it may be. There's something about relationships that energize you, that get your mind off yourself and thinking about other things. If you want relationships that'll help you become the person God wants you to be and achieve the things He wants you to achieve, you've gotta build relationships. But you can't be the kind of person who's got it all together, you don't need anybody and you're a little bit aloof. Nobody is attracted to that kind of relationship. Likewise, comfort us when we're hurting. We want relationships where people can comfort us when we're hurting.
All of us hurt. We're going to hurt in life. We get hurt by people we love. We get hurt by people that we don't even know sometimes probably. We need the kind of relationships that a person can come under us with, and say, "You know what? I understand how you feel, just want to assure you that I love you and, and I'm praying for you, whatever it might be". Then those who will defend us when we're criticized. If you live a godly life, here's what Paul told Timothy. He said, "Timothy, those who live godly in Christ Jesus," he didn't say, "I suggest that it may happen". He said we'll be persecuted. The more godly you live, the more criticism you're gonna get.
And so we need people who are on the frontline of our life that no matter what we're doing or being obedient to God, when people criticize us, they're there to defend us. They stand for us, they believe in us, they know the truth about us, not what somebody thinks about us, they know the truth about us. We need people out there, the kind of relationships that they will defend us when we need them Then people who will forgive us when we make mistakes. We all make mistakes, we're gonna make mistakes, we all falter and fall at times in our life. We need the kind of relationships, listen, that when we make a mistake, when we falter, or when we sin, not only does God forgive us but our friend forgives us, our relationship forgives us.
You know, I'm not perfect, you're not perfect, you're forgiven, I'm not gonna hold that against you. You know what's right and I know you'll do better next time. And, and I would just caution you to watch out for this or whatever it might be. We all need those kind of relationships. Forgive us. Forget it and move on in life. We need the kind of relationships, listen. People will love us when we're unlovely. Sometimes we act unlovely, we don't always act just exactly right. But the kind of relationships you and I need are the kind of relationship to people, they'll love us anyway. They understand who we are. They understand they have their moments when they're not lovely. They also understand that God is the kind of God who loves us when we're unlovely.
He loves us unconditionally. Not when we deserve it. Thank God He doesn't love me only when I deserve it. He loves me when I'm unlovely, never when I deserve it because you and I could never deserve His unconditional love. We need the kind of relationships when we're unlovely, we're sorta out of sorts. Somebody loves us just the same because their love is, listen, their love isn't conditioned upon whether we meet their requirements of doing everything just right or not. Then of course, we need the kind of relationships that people accept us just like we are. They accept us as we are. And once in a while I hear people talk about changing somebody.
And people say, "Well you know I'm thinking about marrying so forth". And somebody says, "Well, do you realize? Well I know, I know he drinks but you know what? I think I can change that". Forget it! You're not gonna change him. Only God can change him. And more than likely if you marry somebody, listen carefully, for the purpose of changing them, you're marrying them with the wrong motivation. You say, "Well, that's not my sole purpose. I love them with all of my heart, but I do want to change them". That's not your business. It is your business to live a godly life and let God change them. I'm simply telling you this, that if you marry somebody and you already have in mind what you don't like about 'em, what you want to change about 'em, you'd better stop and ask yourself the question, if you're ahead of God's schedule in your marriage.
Now I notice it's very quiet, because it is absolutely the truth, amen? It is the truth. You know it's the truth. And the reason you're so quiet is some of you've already made that mistake but I won't get into that. Likewise, somebody who will confront us when we're wrong. You know what? We're all gonna be wrong about things. Nobody's perfect. Thank God, you know what? You're not free until you realize, "You know what, I make mistakes, I sin against God, I have to be forgiven, I'm human, I'm natural". You know, once you, once you can just accept the fact we're gonna make mistakes. We're all gonna make mistakes. We all of us are gonna blow it sometimes. And so we need somebody who will confront us and say, "I need to tell you, you hurt my feelings". Or, "I just wanna say to you that what I heard you say to him or to her was really not the kindest thing you could've said".
Now your friend, your relationship may not be quite that kind. They say, "You know what? I'm surprised at you". It doesn't make any difference. I'm simply saying this. We need relationships with people who will confront us. When we're wrong we need to be told that. Now we'd like for them to come up on our backside and say, "Oh, you sweet wonderful thing, you. I have something to tell you". They're not gonna do that. And you know what? We wouldn't pay any attention to that anyway. We need to be confronted when we're wrong and told we'd like to have it in a godly fashion but if it's not, we take it anyway. Because what's the goal? The goal is to become the person God wants us to be, achieve the things that God wants us to achieve in life.
And so it's not always gonna be easy. We need people who are willing to confront us. Then we need people who will serve us. Now watch this. I don't mean somebody who is a servant, like somebody who's a doormat. I'm talking about someone who sees our need and is willing to come to our aid and to rescue us in that particular need. All of us need folks like that. You see, there are people, many people, who have the gift of service for example. You cheat them out of the privilege of serving and they're frustrated. And so all of us need to be servants of a sort, in some fashion. Willing to give to someone else, willing to serve them to do what? Because our goal, listen, not only for ourselves but for other people to do what?
What does it take to help that person become the person God wants 'em to be, achieve the things God wants 'em to achieve? What is it you and I need in our life for the same thing to happen to us? We need people at times who will just that, who will serve us. Then we also need people who will be patient with us. We need relationships with people who are patient. We all get out of sorts once in a while. And so we have to have a little pity-party or whatever we do and however it affects you. And what happens? Somebody has to be patient with us and say, "Okay, you know, he or she they're going through this and they've been there before and we'll just let it ride. They'll get over it and everything'll be okay. Be patient with 'em".
All of us need people to be patient with us. All of us. We need somebody who can understand what we're going through, not get upset because we're not our normal self on that particular day and some kind of some kind of relationship that is able to say, "I understand where you are, why you're there and it's okay". Now all of these, listen. All of these are qualities, actions on the part of other people. All of us need those kind of relationships. So ask yourself this question. Do you have anybody, I mean any one person in your whole life? Do you have any one person with whom you have a relationship and one of their goals in life is to build you up and to encourage you, to motivate you to do your best, to stimulate you in your creativity, comfort you when you're going through difficulty and hardship.
Love you, be patient with you, but people who will... somebody who will confront you. Someone who will pray for you, accept you just the way you are. Do you have anybody in your life when you go down all of these things when you go down all of this list, do you have anybody who matches up to that for you? Say, man I'd like to just have somebody had two or three of those. Let me ask you a question. Watch this now. Is there anybody in your life to whom you're that? Is there anybody in your life to whom you have so related yourself and built a relationship that you wanna build 'em up, you wanna motivate 'em, you wanna stimulate 'em, you wanna encourage 'em? You love them. I mean, whatever is best for them's what you're looking for in life. You're willing to serve them, willing to give, willing to pray for them. Always looking out for their best interests.
Is there anybody that you have that kind of relationship with? That you want that for them? Or do you find yourself so self-centered? Only thinking of yourself. That you're always looking for what somebody can do for you. Listen. You will never, never become the person God wants you to be, achieve the things that He wants you to achieve in life until you, listen, are willing to be that same kind of person to someone else. You wanna build those kind of relationships that people, listen. Any person who has relationships with anybody, no matter who it is, whose life and relationship with you includes all of that, did you know that's the greatest treasure you have? You don't have anything on the... there's no amount of money, prestige, prominence, power, you name it, nothing can match that kind of a genuine wonderful relationship within you.
You see when you have somebody like this or close to this, here's what happens. When you think about 'em you smile. I've got some friends when I think about 'em I wanna smile on the inside, why? Because I know who they are. I know what they think about me. I know that they're, they're there no matter what criticism, you name it, they're gonna stand by me. And you know what? I'm gonna do the same for them. I can't do, I want to, I want to do anything I can to help them to grow up to be the godly person, man or woman that they ought to be. And we all should have men and female relationships that are godly, contributing to each other, helping one another become and to achieve what God wants.
But many people gonna live their life, they're never gonna have it. You need people, relationships, godly relationships, so you can become the person God wants you to be, achieve the things that He wants you to achieve in life. You're not gonna be happy till you do. You and I know some people, we could call some people by name who are billionaires. But we've seen enough about their lifestyle to know they're not happy. They don't have any contentment. There's no joy in their life. Why? Because their relationships are so messed up, fouled up, it doesn't work. Very important we build godly relationships. The kind, listen, that are pleasing to the Father and the kind that help us achieve God's goal for our life.
Now, there are other kind of relationships. There are those relationships, listen, that are not positive influences like the ones we just described, but there are those relationships that do what? They do a number of things to us. Number one, watch this, you better get this list down. Number one, they listen, they dim our vision. What I mean by that is they cause us to sorta say, "Well, I know this is what God wants me to do, but. I know this is what I oughta be, but", they dim our vision. The second thing they do to us, and because of our relationship, they discourage us. Discourage us from really and truly wanting to be that godly person in life and achieve. The third thing they do is they drag us down.
Now what do I mean by that? Simply you'll finally say, "Well, okay, I guess, you know, maybe that really isn't what God wanted for my life, after all when you know it was. I guess, you know, I just probably won't ever become anything. I guess". And you, what you do, they derail you in your thinking. Finally they defeat you. You give it all up. And ultimately wrong relationships can destroy you. So I would say this to you. You need to sit down with that other person and find out what are their goals in life? Where are they headed in life? When they look in the future, what do they want to achieve in life? What do they want to accomplish in life?
Somebody says, "Well, I just wanna get married and be happy and be in love and have children". End of story. Well, you know how long it takes to get all that done? Ha, ha! Doesn't take a whole long. You got the rest of your life to live. Then what? So the children are here and they're gone, now out of school. And now you're a grandparent, now what? You better sit down and do some hard, cold, serious, godly spiritual thinking. And find out who is this person? Where are they headed in life? What are their goals? And if, listen, and if you cannot say with a whole heart, a godly heart, listening to God, I do believe that I can link my life with this person.
We have mutual goals. We wanna walk in the same direction. We both wanna be what God wants us to be. We both want to achieve the things that God wants us to achieve. We're committed to each other, listen. We're committed to each other till death. We want God to accomplish His purpose in our life. We're committed to one another. We want to build up each other and encourage each other and comfort each other and motivate each other and stimulate each other, and all the other others. That's what we want in life. Not that I think I'm in love. That's not enough. There's got to be something deeper, strong. There's got to be a foundation that is built on what? The truth of the Word of God. When it's built on this, listen, when it's built on this, you have a far better chance, a far better opportunity of making it work.
You say, "Will it always work"? No. Because sometimes people change. But what does that mean about you? Does that mean that you have to change and give it up? No. Because God lives on the inside of you. Whatever situation and circumstance and relationship He allows into your life if you will respond to Him in the correct fashion, He will turn it for your good no matter what. Don't ever forget that. No matter what, He will turn it for your good. Now. All good relationships begin in one place, that's Jesus. Personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ which comes about in this fashion. You recognize you're full of faults and sins, disobedience and rebellion. You believe the testimony of the Word of God, that He went to the cross, Jesus went to the cross and paid your sin-debt in full.
And that if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, He will forgive you and cleanse you and begin this wonderful relationship with you as His son or daughter. Write your name in the Lamb's Book of Life, forever be a child of God and begin to grow in that relationship. That's the basis of every good relationship. Have you ever done that? You ever trusted Him as your Savior? If you'll pray this simple prayer in whatever way you choose to, you can begin that relationship today:
Lord Jesus, I do believe You went to the cross for me. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin. I'm asking You to save me. I'm asking You to accept me as one of your children. Would You enable me to build a godly relationship with You that I so desperately need in my life? Moment, you start telling Him that, you're saved. The relationship begins right then and your life'll never be the same. And that's my prayer for you in Jesus's name, amen.