One of the most significant ingredients before going into the backcountry with a group is to understand the place each team member has on the team. Some of the group may be more skilled in certain aspects (orienteering), while others may have a different skill set (first aid). There will be different levels of endurance and experience. Personalities also play a part in the group dynamic. In order to have the most successful, enjoyable backcountry trip, the team members need to understand their roles.
The same is true in all of our relationships. Everyone agrees that understanding roles are essential to healthy relationships. Not everyone agrees what those roles are. Establishing roles in relationships, however, is not an emotionally driven journey. It is a supernatural journey.
“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:18b-21, NKJV)
Our life with Jesus influences every relationship that we have. The Holy Spirit has a specific role in our relationships. When we understand His role, we will begin to understand our role.
1. The Spirit gives wisdom for our relationships.
When we try to figure out our roles in our various relationships, we need more than a gut feeling. We need God to lead us on this journey so that we faithfully fulfill our role. At the beginning of this letter to believers in Ephesus, Paul prayed for that kind of wisdom.
“[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17, NKJV)
Paul’s prayer was for God to give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. He prayed that the Spirit would unveil the will of God and the ways of God so that we might know God more and more each day. The more the Spirit helps us to know God more fully, the more we gain wisdom in our relationships. Gaining wisdom through the Spirit’s gracious work in us, we see God’s design for us in our relationships. He helps us understand our role.
2. We need to surrender to the Spirit.
It’s not enough to know what God wants. We need to surrender to the direction the Spirit gives. That’s why Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit means that we are completely consumed and controlled by the Spirit. The Spirit illuminates the Word of God and the Way of God for our relationships. The Spirit’s role is to invade our lives with wisdom for our relationships; our role is to surrender to the Spirit’s leadership.
3. The Result.
When we yield our lives to the Spirit of God, then our relationships will be marked with joy and thanksgiving. Paul described it as singing “to one another” with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. The “one another” is significant. When we are surrendered to the Spirit, we will have hearts filled with joyful songs of praise to God in relationship with others. We will have hearts filled with gratitude for God’s glorious blessings each day. The Spirit leads us to embrace our role toward life and health in our relationships with others.
Another result of surrendering to the Spirit is submission. Submission is one of God’s foundational principles to unlock victorious relationships. Submission means that we are focused on “giving” to others more than “getting” from others. It means that we see every relationship as an opportunity to bless another. When we live our lives yielded to the Spirit, then we will submit our will to serve others.
So stop, take a breath, and pray:
“God, by Your Spirit, give me the wisdom and courage to surrender to You so that You might lead me toward health in my relationships.”