This is one of the most powerful declarations we can make. Remember, our words direct the course of our lives (James 3:2-5), and the quality of our lives is largely determined by the quality of our relationships.
This blog comes from my book Victorious Mindsets (our new revised version to be released soon), and I believe it to be very appropriate for this season. I believe it will bless you much.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
I remember praying as a young Christian, “Lord, I want to be a man of God!” He said, “Okay, get married and have a family. It will be more beneficial to you in the long run than Bible college ever could be.” Christian maturity is enhanced when we commit to long-term relationships in family, church and elsewhere.
Now I don’t want to minimize the importance of Christian education or seminary schools, but ministry does not primarily come from what we know. It comes from who we are. This is what James was talking about in James 1:12.
When we find the biblical keys to deal with the challenges of life (endure temptation), we are given a crown of life. Traditional thinking says that this is something we will receive in heaven, but I believe it is something more—it is the ability to impart life into whatever we have overcome. Our ministry of life to others is not giving information, but it is giving imparted grace for them to more easily become victorious in what we have overcome. This is especially true in our relationships.
We must realize that successful long-term relationships are a goal for all of us to pursue to impart grace (the crown of life). These people in our lives can confirm the genuineness of our Christianity, but our healthy endurance in these relationships also gives us a needed crown of life to give away. Yes, we recognize there can be relationship breakdowns which are not our fault, but pursuing long-term heart connections with people will do more for our personal growth and ministry influence than we could possibly imagine. It is more important than Bible college.
We are called to impart life, not just share exciting things. We not only want to be revivalists, but we long to infuse life into individuals and families. Let’s give away a crown of life that creates practical success wherever we go.
LIES TO OVERCOME
- I do not have the ability to maintain healthy long-term relationships
- Healthy long-term relationships will never have any big challenges or problems
- People always disappoint me in long-term relationships
- When a relationship no longer seems exciting, I should immediately look for a new relationship
- I cannot improve my relational skills because they are an unchangeable part of my personality
DECLARATIONS TO STRENGTHEN THIS MINDSET
- It is easy for me to have long-term, healthy relationships
- I have an unusual ability to proactively and wisely address issues that would be hurtful to my relationships
- Because I have tremendous favor, people tend to like me and want to build healthy relationships with me
- I have a supernatural anointing to create enduring relationships wherever I go
- I inspire other people to value and pursue flourishing relationships
- Prioritize the development of relational skills – The wise person invests time to grow stronger in interpersonal relationships—reading books, getting healing from relational triggers, attending seminars, getting feedback, etc. It is doubtful we could ever do too much in an effort to learn how to strengthen our relational skills.
- Understand seasons of relationships – Even though we are to think long-term in our relationships, we also need to understand that the dynamics of relationships will change. Just as the connection between parents and children goes through different seasons, so will other relationships. If we cannot accept these changes and discern new seasons of connection, we will be unable to have healthy long-term relationships.
- Find creative ways to stay connected to people – Here are some ideas of how to do this: 1) Cause people to feel seen and valued by you, 2) Take steps to remember names, 3) Don’t just love people but like people too, 4) Determine who are your priority relationships and get a plan to send them regular messages that basically say, “You are important to me.” Be relentless in developing this habit. If you fail for a season to do so, start over again.
For much more insight on this, listen to my podcast at the link below.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.