Relationships are a blessing from God which we are to treasure deeply. In Mark 12:31, Jesus said, "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
We are all called to grow and thrive in relationships with others. But just like any blessing, any relationship can become an idol that replaces God if handled the wrong way. A relationship with your spouse, friends, colleagues, children, pastor or even church mates can become a hindrance to God when we start viewing and treating them the wrong way.
How do we know when a relationship gets in the way between us and God? Primarily it is when our relationship with others, which is only to be secondary to our relationship with God, becomes of more value than growing in intimacy, understanding and knowledge of Christ.
Here are five signs that our relationship may have become a stumbling block to our walk with God.
1. We Strive To Please Men More Than God
Pleasing others is not a problem until it starts clashing with what the Bible says pleases God. Sometimes people we have relationships with will not always pull us in the right direction. To that Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."
2. Reputation Means More Than God's Opinion
Sometimes God calls us to do something that might seem unpopular—like give up a shady transaction, or share the gospel, or show love to an outcast, and so on.
Will we seek and serve God's opinion even if it means hurting our reputation?
3. Purpose Is Defined By What's Trendy
Why do we do whatever we do? Maybe the job we're in, or the opinion we hold, or the people we support is solely based on who and what everyone around us chooses. What the world calls "bandwagoning" is no different from rejecting God's calling for the call of the world.
4. We Are Too Easily Affected By Other's Criticisms
If there's one thing we're sure of, it's that we can't please everyone. We will have sceptics all our lives, but if our mission is mainly to prove them wrong, we might end up wasting energy on a futile goal. Instead, we ought to live pleasing God and knowing we are already affirmed through Christ.
5. We View Success As Solely Being Liked
"Does so and so like me?" Is this a question we constantly ask ourselves? If so, then it's time we also start asking ourselves "why do I want to be liked in the first place?"
Many people chase after favours from others, thinking they're the indicators of success. But true success is found in knowing that Jesus already favours us and delights in us and living according to that truth.