Relationships affect our lives like no other resource. Our friends have the potential to influence us for greatness and godliness, and we can influence other people in the same way.

How do your actions affect other people? It’s very important to establish a clear-cut goal or objective when it comes to relationships.

You might ask yourself, “What am I in this relationship for? What purpose is it serving?” In my opinion, the single most important reason to form any relationship is to influence someone for God.

Many people approach life with the attitude of tending to their own business unless God happens to plop somebody in their paths to which He wants them to minister. Then, if they have the courage, they might share their faith.

Unfortunately, we don’t often think in terms of influencing others for God as the basis for getting involved in relationships.

In this paraphrase of the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go ye into all of the world and preach the gospel” (Matt. 28:19). That means those who aren’t saved need to hear about Jesus.

We should always think about being a godly influence in the lives of those we meet. But don’t confuse godly influence with manipulation. We’re not called to manipulate others into the kingdom of God.

We are supposed to influence the world for God, not manipulate it for Him. Influencing people for God involves helping them prepare their heart attitude to receive Jesus.

Anyone who genuinely receives the Lord can say that he or she has been positively influenced, not manipulated. Influence prepares the way for evangelism. Without influencing the world we live in, God’s kingdom won’t increase and grow.

Relationships are to be based on the love of God that’s been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

But if our interest in meeting and cultivating relationships with people is motivated by a desire for personal gain, then we have just done a severe disservice to them by manipulating them rather than influencing them for good. Manipulation will always complicate your life, never simplify it.

It all comes down to motive. If we are motivated by love and not by self-interest, then any relationship we get involved in is not likely to become manipulative or deceptive. If our heart’s desire is simply to make people aware of the good news that has changed our lives so they can benefit by it, then we shouldn’t have to be too concerned about our influence by becoming manipulative or somehow deceptive.

If we don’t exercise a godly influence over others, our quality of life will suffer dramatically.

Think about this for a moment. God uses people to bring provision and blessing to our lives. Whether our need is emotional, physical, spiritual, or financial, He uses people to bless us.

When we need encouragement or exhortation, it isn’t likely that God will appear in a white, puffy cloud and say, “Be thou encouraged, My child.” God sends people to encourage us.

And, if we need financial help, He’s not going to drop a bag of coins from heaven on our heads. Instead, He’ll put it on somebody’s heart to supply the need we have.

However, if we’ve mismanaged our relationships and allowed, say, unforgiveness to remain, then God is limited in what He can do for us. As a result, our own quality of life will suffer.

The person we’re at odds with may be the one God wants to use to meet our needs. But if we’ve spoken badly of them or refused to forgive them, how can God help us?

The management of our relationships will certainly affect and impact our quality of life. So, again, you must not allow yourself to be motivated by selfish concern.

As I said before, I believe the ultimate goal for cultivating relationships with others is to exert as much godly influence as possible. We want to influence our kids to serve God. We want to influence our husbands or wives to move closer to God.

We want to influence our friends and families to get saved and stay out of harm’s way. And we want to see this nation return to the godly principles upon which it was founded. That’s what relationship management is all about.

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