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Commentary on "Relationships""



Day 7: Friday, January 21, 2011 - Further Study



The lesson asks the reader to read Ephesians 4:25-32 and reflect on all the things he could do, with God’s help, to improve his relationships. Then a quotation from Ellen White’s Gospel Workers shares her counsel to an evangelist (unnamed) in 1908 about how to look to Jesus and to stop being rash, dictatorial, and severe. The lesson ends with four discussion questions which direct the student to examine his own struggles with gossip, forgiveness, dealing with abuse, and steps he can take to trust God and to have humility as means to improving relationships.



This lesson summarizes the wrong focus of this lesson. The readers are instructed to contemplate ways they can improve their relationships. This sort of speculation and trouble-shooting will never result in truly healed relationships because it is only when we surrender our relationships to the Lord Jesus that we can begin to love others in a way that nourishes them.

God does not call us to love others for our own sakes, nor does He even give us relationships to love them for the sake of “the other”. He asks us to love others for Him. We cant possibly know how to meat another person’s needs; we will inevitably react to others based on our own deep needs.

When we love another for God, we stand before Him willing to do what He wants us to do. We do not have to know what to do; we have to be willing and submitted to His will. We have to trust Him that He is accomplishing His will, and we have to be willing to surrender our desire to be recognized or thanked for our concern. We have to be willing to pour out whatever God makes clear needs to be poured out—even if we receive no respect or thanks for it.

Paul, languishing in prison, nevertheless praised God for His blessing and faithfulness as his life neared its end. In 1 Timothy we read his poignant desire that Timothy bring him his parchments and his cloak, and he says,

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 ESV)

Loving people as God wants us to love them is often thankless work in this life. Being vulnerable to the Lord Jesus for His sake puts us in harm’s way, yet this sort of selfless willingness to love those whom the Father puts in our path is what He calls us to do.

We can’t possibly fix our relationships apart from complete surrender to the Lord Jesus. We have no ability, naturally, to love or to meet the needs of other broken humans. Techniques and psychological formulas don’t “fix” relationships. Only surrender of our own dreams and desires for the sake of knowing and doing God’s will puts us in a place of being able to nourish another.

We can pray for God to put His Spirit into our relationships and to strengthen what is from Him. We can thank Him for what He gives us and thank Him for showing us how to love.



  1. Discussing how to fix relationships apart from dealing with the foundational problem that we all need to be saved, to be born again, is a short-circuited discussion.
  2. We can only love when we have experienced the sacrificial love of Jesus and accept His blood on our behalf. Only then will we know what love is.
  3. Reading through the six chapters of Ephesians would give a person a great insight into God’s will for us as members of His body, the church.
  4. Jesus’ body is comprised of all who have been born again, and He asks us to humble ourselves before Him so we can be available for Him to touch others using our hearts and hands.
  5. Apart from belonging to the Lord Jesus, we cannot truly love another person.



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