I assume you want to spend time with people you consider to be the best. “The best” is both an objective and subjective conclusion. Objectively, you want to spend time with people who are reliable and have developed the kind of Christian character you consider important. Subjectively, you want to spend time with people who are physically, socially and intellectually attractive to you. So how do you decide who is really “the best” for you to be around?
The Story Of Two Couples
Steven recently met Janet online. He was fascinated by what she wrote, so he pursued a meeting. The casual dinner was enjoyable, and he was encouraged by the fact that her spiritual and moral convictions were in line with his. Objectively, they were a good fit. On their second date, he noticed that most of her conversations included cats. Out of curiosity, he asked, “How many cats do you have?”
“Oh, I have two right now, but I am looking for a new one because I had to put my calico to sleep. I would have a lot more if I had space. I just love cats.”
Steven was glad to know this early because he is allergic to cats. For him, it would not be best to invite numerous felines into his daily routine. He reluctantly concluded they would not be a good fit.
About the same time, Stacey met Jamal. She has been an athlete most of her life, so it was attractive to her that Jamal has been involved in athletic pursuits for years. She loved the fact that he talked about self-discipline, physical health and community sports.
They met in person the first time over coffee. Jamal’s first words were, “Hi Stacey, it is good meet you. Do you mind if I say a quick prayer for our time together?”
With anticipation, she smiled and said, “That would be great.”
As they talked, she got the sense that the prayer was not just a show. He spoke naturally about his relationship with God, what he had learned recently in the Bible, the ways he was serving in his church and the people he had helped over the past few months. These were important aspects of her life, so she was encouraged by the fact that these were important to him also.
After five dates, he is still talking naturally about the areas of life she cares deeply about. She knows she has found a good friend and is considering that there might be more to the relationship. She is also glad she took time to identify the objective convictions that were important to her because she could have blindly been attracted to Jamal’s athletic build and lifestyle.
How To Recognize A Good Thing
Relationships are tricky because a successful one requires a balance of objective and subjective conclusions. Fortunately, it is possible to train yourself to recognize what is best. Philippians 1:9-11 tells us we will discover what is best when we:
- Use knowledge and disciplined insight to learn about love (v. 9). This means asking strategic questions such as, “What beliefs are vital to me? What are my moral convictions? How active do I want to be in my church serving others? What character traits will be important to me when the rush of love subsides?”
- Make decisions today you would feel good talking to Jesus about when you meet him face to face (v. 10) .
- Evaluate your human relationships based on how they affect your relationship with Jesus (v. 11). The simple question, “Will spending time with this person cause me to love God more or less?” is a great balancer to the strong emotions that can accompany meeting new people.
May your relationship journey bring out the best in you and in those you spend time with!
You may also be interested in Not My Type: How Judging Others Can Hurt Your Love Life
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