What is one specific thing you believe God has called you to do in your single years? That’s a tough question—and one I’ve definitely tried to figure out.
There are not many specific teachings in the Bible to women who have yet to get married or want to get married. For sure, although some of these options might be well and good, God doesn’t want any of us to just sit, soak, and sour at home while scanning the personals section of your local newspaper and fasting for the rest of your life daily for a husband.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the role of the church in the life of a believer. Some of this has stemmed from multiple discussions with friends and family members, and through it all, God has been refining some of my thinking.
Throughout the Bible, many mentions are made of the vital institution of the local church.
Image Credit: __Olga__
Communication is everything.
It may sound like a cliché, but it is a true one. Communication is what makes the world go round—and the lack of it is what makes your personal world come screeching to a halt.
I deal with the need for communication every day whether I am trying to understand the perspective of one of OTB’s writers while editing their work, or just trying to decide with a friend whether we want ice cream from Raos or soft drinks from Sonic. Communication takes part in the workplace, but also in the home with your family. It builds relationships, but the lack of it tears them apart.
Recently, I have been reading a book entitled Guerrilla P.R. 2.0. by Michael Levine, which highlights a few tips on how each of us can communicate better with those around us.
Seven Secrets to Being a Successful Communicator
A successful communicator is confident and unafraid to ask for what they want.
I do not know how many times my mother tried to drill into my head that the worse thing anyone could ever tell me when I asked for something was no. Dare to ask.
A successful communicator is appreciative of those who help them.
Communicating what you need is only half as important as communicating your thanks afterward. Nothing is more discouraging than to help an ungrateful person. Do not overlook those who help you reach your goals. Remember, you would not be there without them.
A successful communicator consistently nurtures relationships.
A relationship worth having is a relationship worth working on. Relationships are not like pet rocks. You cannot set them on a shelf, pour water on them once a blue moon when you remember, and expect them to grow. You have to invest in the life of the individual, spend time with them, and continually nurture that relationship.
A successful communicator is tenacious in going around obstacles.
Do you give up at the first sign of conflict or an obstacle? When the going gets rough, do you hit the road? I love this G. K. Chesterton quote, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”
A successful communicator is an excellent listener.
Do you actually listen to people? On the other hand, does your mouth start racing to reply while someone is still talking? Are you polite, or do you have a bad habit of cutting people off before they are finished? One thing I have been learning recently is to listen not only the words of a person, but also their body language, and ultimately, the heart behind the words. Not everyone is adept at verbal expression and if you ignore their non-verbal communication, you will never be able to understand fully what they are trying to tell you.
A successful communicator rebounds quickly and completely from rejection.
Do your wounds smart for a while after someone takes a jab at you or your project? Has your work become personal? Separate your identity from your work and when someone criticizes your pet project, you will be able to avoid making the criticism personal. Evaluate every rejection or criticism for potential lessons to be learned, and then move on. Do not fester or simmer. You are wasting valuable time and energy.
A successful communicator is friendly and approachable.
Who wants to hang around someone who is not friendly? Regardless of your personality, you can still be pleasant. Even the most seclusion-minded, introverted, Eeyore-like melancholic has a responsibility to be a friendly communicator. As Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” If you ever want to succeed at being a skilled communicator, you at least have to be approachable. If no one likes you, you had better believe that no one would want to deal with you.
Lucy Maud Montgomery once wrote that there were two types of people in this world, those who know Joseph and those who don’t. If you haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m talking about, you are either one of two things—-unfamiliar with the Anne series or someone who just doesn’t know Joseph.
During Anne’s adolescent years, she tended to objectify people into two groups, kindred spirits and well, the rest of the world. While Anne and Diana were the perfect example of kindred spirits, by the time Anne approached her mid-twenties, she was looking for more than just a kindred spirit in a friend; she wanted a friend who knew Joseph.
I’ll let Montgomery do the explaining in a conversation between Anne and Captain Jim in chapter seven of Anne’s House of Dreams:
“We both belong to the race that knows Joseph, as Cornelia Bryant would say.”
“The race that knows Joseph?” puzzled Anne.
“Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds– the race that knows Joseph and the race that don’t. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes–why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph.”
“Oh, I understand,” exclaimed Anne, light breaking in upon her.
“It’s what I used to call–and still call in quotation marks `kindred spirits.'”
“Jest so–jest so,” agreed Captain Jim. “We’re it, whatever it is. When you come in tonight, Mistress Blythe, I says to myself, says I, `Yes, she’s of the race that knows Joseph.’ And mighty glad I was, for if it wasn’t so we couldn’t have had any real satisfaction in each other’s company. The race that knows Joseph is the salt of the airth, I reckon.”
The salt of the airth? I couldn’t have said it better myself. One knows instantly when in company with one of the race that knows Joseph. Besides just communicating as friends, you communicate on a spiritual level—-the kinship one instantly feels when spending time with another like-minded Christian.
While thinking about the phrase “the race that knows Joseph”, I came across this excellent explanation that helps us understand just why this is so important in each of our lives.
Exodus 1:8 gives the moment in time that Israel ceased its period of comfort in Egypt, while under Joseph’s rule with the Pharaoh. “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” So, the reverse being that those who were believers in God, who followed Him, were of the group that “know Joseph”.
All that to say this — One of the most amazing earthly gifts that God has given us is fellowship with other believers. What joy they bring with their “kindred spirits” — we’re one in the body of Christ! Our fellowship with believers at its best encourages us, strengthens us, and shows love to us. Of course, it’s the Holy Spirit living within us as believers that gives us the ability to do all of those things. When we accept Christ as the living Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within our hearts, and we begin to show fruit of that — love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. What better qualities could you ask for in a friend?
The Race That Knows Joseph)
Over the years, I’ve met many of the race that knows Joseph. Some I’ve met just in passing, while others have turned into treasured friends. God knew what he was doing when he created the bonds of relationships. Friends do more than just keep us company when shopping in the mall; good friends will influence our lives for Christ—-and ultimately help draw us closer to the truest friend we could ever desire, Jesus Christ.
To all my friends of the race that knows Joseph, thank you. You’ve impacted my life in more ways than you’ll ever know.
Envy has a much deeper meaning than just wanting something that another owns. It implies to Christ that His love is not enough, and his finished work on the Cross did not make you complete.
1828 Dictionary defines the word envy is the following way:
“Feeling or harboring envy; repining or feeling uneasiness, at a view of the excellence, prosperity or happiness of another; pained by the desire of possessing some superior good which another possesses, and usually disposed to deprive him of that good, to lessen it or to depreciate it in common estimation.”
In plain English, this refers to harboring such deep feelings of envy and jealousy towards another on account of his assets, relationships, or even personal characteristics that you attempt to cheapen these objects in other people’s opinions, or even attempt to take these characteristics away from the person.
Unfortunately, when a person becomes envious he loses sight of the things that God has given him. Inevitably, discontent arises and ultimately he will compromise his morals, faith, and sometimes his very life in his attempt to achieve these things.
Envy is one of Satan’s oldest tricks in the book. It was envy which made Eve want to be like God. Envy prompted Jacob to trick Esau so he could steal his father’s birthright. Envy was the reason David committed adultery with Bathsheba.
The ancient Greek writer of fables, Aesop, is the attributed author of the following tale that clearly warns of the dangers of envy.
“Three Bulls were grazing in a meadow, and were watched by a Lion, who longed to capture and devour them, but who felt that he was no match for the three so long as they kept together.
So he began by false whispers and malicious hints to foment jealousies and distrust among them. This stratagem succeeded so well that ere long the Bulls grew cold and unfriendly, and finally avoided each other and fed each one by himself apart.
No sooner did the Lion see this than he fell upon them one by one and killed them in turn.
The quarrels of friends are the opportunities of foes.”
Satan is constantly attempting to divide and conquer believers. By causing us to become envious and jealous of one another, he can destroy relationships and create a bad witness to the unsaved world around us.
Because of the sin of envy, many Christians have compromised their standards, faith, and relationship to God. Never allow this opposite of genuine love to come between you and your Savior.
Christ has provided everything you need to be content in Him. Trust Him with your life and He will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.
This article is part of the “Love Lessons from 1 Corinthians 13” series. You can view the introduction to the series here.