Relationships determine the direction and quality of our lives.
“Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-17
Going into a new year always seems to lead to a greater level of self reflection than at other times during the year. What direction has my life gone so far? Which way do I want it to go next? Whether you’re starting your year off as begrudgingly single or if you’re in a blissful relationship, it’s always a good idea to periodically check in on the types and qualities of your relationships and ensure that you’re paying attention to where God wants you go. I don’t mean this solely in regard to romantic relationships, but friendships, too. The people we choose to surround ourselves with will inevitably determine the direction and quality of our lives. And going into a new year is a great time to evaluate where your current relationships are steering you.
As Paul points out in Ephesians, it’s important to live wisely so that we won’t be deceived by the evil in the world. He goes on to say in Ephesians 5:17 that we need to not be foolish and try to understand what God’s will is in our lives. It’s foolish to try going against God’s will. This can take many forms, whether you choose to ignore God’s clear calling to step out of your comfort zone or by choosing to remain in or pursue a relationship with an unhealthy person who will stifle your relationship with God. The people you surround yourself with will have an influence on you in some way (either positive or negative) and there isn’t much you can do to avoid the impact.
Paul reminds us to be wise and use caution in how we live our lives. He says to make the most of every opportunity that God gives you. If you’re single, for example, you can make the most of this time by: focusing on improving your relationship with God, serving others, mentoring younger Christ followers, or entering into a new area of ministry that you may not have otherwise tried if you were romantically involved. If you’re in a relationship you can make the most of this time by exploring if the person you’re with is truly the right person that God wants in your life. You can evaluate whether this person is helping you to grow closer in your walk with God or pulling you and your attention further away. Is God at the center of your current relationship? Are you and your significant other on the same page spiritually? Are you both walking toward God at the same pace? Are you dating with the intention of entering into a Godly marriage? Whether you are single or dating be sure that you use this season wisely to evaluate your values and priorities and make any changes that need to happen. Use your time to please God and further His kingdom. Anything else is just a waste of time.
So as we begin a new year, I challenge you to use your new beginning wisely. Seek God. Talk to Him so that you can understand what His will is, how He wants you to grow, and where He wants to take you over the next year. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, remember that the types of people you surround yourself with will have an impact on the quality and direction of your life. So, what direction do you want to go this year?