7/26/16

Invest in Your Prime Relationships - Part 1

What are your "Prime Relationships"? We can make intentional  "investments" in these relationships that reap powerful results—so it's important to know what they are.

Investments are not only about money. Investments are akin to watering what you want to grow! We can invest in relationships!

When we invest in someone's life, it likely to cost us something. But investing is wise!

  • Someone invested invested in my life this year with her time, helping me with a project.
  • Another someone invested in my life using her financial resources.
  • And another invested encouragement, motivating me to see the big picture when I was so focused on one failing day.
I want to invest in others' lives too, with time, talents, finances, prayers, words, truth ... and so much more. I'm asking the Lord to help me see needs so I can "invest" wisely. How about you?
In this two-part post, I want to share some practical ways we can wisely and faithfully "invest."
These are the first two "investments."

          Investment #1. INVEST in YOUR LORD

Don't forget: this is your prime relationship! 
Jesus said, "...what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). 
We can store up treasures and yet not be "rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).

Steven Cole, pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, wrote, "To invest your life successfully, deposit it with Christ and guard His deposit with you." (See 2 Timothy 1:12-14.) So how do you invest in your relationship with the Lord?

1. Know the Lord.
2. Deposit Your Life with the Lord.
  • Trust His character. God is good, faithful and trustworthy (Psalm 100:5; 2 Timothy 1:12b).
  • Appreciate His love. You could not want a more caring friend than His Son who died for you (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19)
  • Celebrate your security. You are totally secure in Christ (John 10:27-28). You can safely surrender to His love and control.
3. Seek to Please the Father.
4. Cherish His Word.
5. Rely on the Holy Spirit.
          Investment #2. INVEST in YOURSELF.

Viewed correctly and biblically this isn't selfishness.
If you don't invest in your own health and well-being, how will you find the strength to invest in others?
I learned this the hard way. Because I failed to care for my health, I lost many opportunities to serve the Lord and help people.
Loving others as yourself assumes you've learned how to love yourself biblically (Mark 12:30-31). 

1. Take Care of Yourself!
  • Nurture your body; treat it as a well-oiled machine. Use high quality fuel, healthy food choices. Try eating only foods God created. Eat good protein for energy. Choose carbs wisely. Cut back on (or eliminate) sugar and salt. (Christians, the Bible says our bodies are the "temple" for His indwelling (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). That should mean something to us!)
  • Move your body. Choose exercise you love and can stick with consistently. Aim to "train" your body for strength and service (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
  • Relax. Stress can slow down your "machine," so learn to identify when you're on overload. Rest is biblical (Matthew 11:28-30).
  • Get some sleep ... as much as you need to think clearly and manage your emotions well. God gives His beloved ones sleep (Psalm 127:2).
2. "Paint the Barn."
  • Maintain the Temple. You don't have to overdo with makeup and hair care, but normal, God-honoring maintenance does not equal self-indulgence. Some describe this as "painting the barn." Aim to reflect the beauty of the Lord who created you! Bring glory to the Lord (Colossians 3:17).
  • Style yourself for a simple, attractive appearance. The goal should be to look pleasantly and modestly attractive, not distracting from your Christian testimony but enhancing it so you can draw others to the Lord. Dress modestly and reflect the beautiful person God created you to be.
3. Expand Your Horizons.
  • Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Do you know your spiritual gifts
  • Develop some new skills and explore creativity options. Try something new (gourmet cooking, gardening, photography, etc.) or learn something new (a language, a musical instrument, etc.)
  • Expand your knowledge. Enroll in a workshop, webinar or conference. Read for knowledge and growth. Nurture your mind. Be a life-long learner. Seek out a mentor. Explore!
  • Further your education—take a class and get a degree.
4. Plan for Strategic Dreaming!
  • Plan to decompress. And especially if you have small children, this isn't a luxury; it's a necessity!
  • Plan in daily "breaks" to rest and recharge. You need breaks, even if vacations or days off are out of the question.  
  • Give yourself permission and time to dream. Be intentional.
  • Be a FINANCIAL investor. This is the normal way we think of investing, and it is important. If you're not saving now, start. If you're not budgeting, start. If you're not giving to the Lord and investing in missions and worthy outreaches, start!
  • Set aside some "dream" money. What's on your bucket list? What can you do financially to pursue your biggest dreams?
5. Practice Gratitude.
  • Look for things to appreciate. At all times ... in all things (1 Thessalonians  5:18). 
  • Train yourself to notice God's goodness.  See it in nature, in circumstances, in people.  There are so many opportunities to see God's hand in your life. Stop and notice!  (James 1:17; Psalm 34:8; 84:11)
  • Be thankful for grace. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20).
  • Worship in thanksgiving. Be grateful for the cross. We all worship things and people every day ... be sure you're worshiping the Lord, not "idols" that can never satisfy. (Psalm 100)
We'll continue with three more "investments" in the next post.

Meanwhile, do you need to invest more in your relationship with the Lord, in your own well-being, or in your husband? Which of these tips might help today?

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