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8 Reasons Relationships are Your Most Indispensable Asset

By Nicky Brzozowski

Can I make a confession? I am a really, really bad friend. I tend to forget about the people in my life. One friend, in particular, gives me the best presents for Christmas and I always forget about him the next time the holiday rolls around.

Not to put all the blame on my upbringing, but I do think I inherited some attachment problems from growing up in a drug-abuse home and having never met my dad.

All that to say, I always got the sense that other people understood the need for relational connection a lot more naturally than I did. Instinctively, I see the value of my house, car, job, health, education, etc. You don’t need to convince me that these are life-giving assets. But, sometimes, I can take the people in my life for granted.

This article is a reminder to you (if you are anything like me) that relationships are more indispensable than any other asset you own.

Joy is delivered through the eyes.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26.

Have you ever heard that joy is a choice? It's true to an extent. I don’t think that the difference between joy and happiness is simply that one is dependent on circumstances and another comes from the will. What's the problem with that thinking? It assumes a lot from our willpower.

Instead, joy can be cultivated. Certain gratitude practices are known to increase a person’s joy reserve. But, one of the major ways we receive joy is through our relationships.

More specifically, the happiness expressed in another person’s face who genuinely wants to be with you is a great source of joy.

In their 2014 study titled "Seeing the Happy Face of a Loved One: Enough to Trigger a Reward System?" Dr. Art Aron and colleagues at Stony Brook University in New York showed how even just images of partners’ happy faces trigger the reward system.

Could this be what was happening when Aaron was going to bless the people in the wilderness, he calls on the “face” of the Lord to shine on them?

Morality hinges on relationships.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.

Without care, there is anarchy. Without concern for others, we will find ways to twist the rules to our own benefit. Without love, our greatest contributions to society are just loud noises (1 Corinthians 13).

Jesus said "If you love me, you will obey my commandments" (John 14:15). Love is the muscle that produces movement toward goodness, peace, forgiveness, integrity, faithfulness, self-control, purity, etc.

Is it any surprise that Jesus named love the first and second greatest commandments?

The antidote for fear is love.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

In one of the most hopeful pieces of literature in all of history, the apostle Paul expounds how the Spirit was given to us to convert us from slaves to children of God (Romans 8:15). As slaves, we ran on fear of upsetting God. In the ancient world, sacrifices were used to calm the gods down. Societies were so afraid of the gods' displeasure, they would go so far as to sacrifice children in hopes of gaining their favor.

But, the Holy Spirit changes everything. Through the Spirit, we cry “Abba, Father.” We are no longer slaves to fear. Rather, through attachment to our Heavenly Father, fear is cured.

Consider the people in your life. Have you ever felt anxious about their criticism or disapproval? How might love help cure that fear?

Identity is shaped by “our people.”

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

We assume we make decisions of our own volition. If I asked you why you decided to marry your husband or accept that job or declare that major or buy that t-shirt, you would probably give reasons that compelled you to make the choice consciously. In any case, it was you who made the decision.

But, what convinced you that this was a decision that you would want to make for yourself (confused yet?)?

In their book, The Other Half of Church, Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks argue how the brain is constantly asking “What are my people like?” At the speed of light (no, not literally that fast, but, pretty dang fast), connections in the brain are helping you process information and make decisions. And without you realizing it, your brain is using “your people,” to decide what you want to do.

It is this insight that can help shape character formation. Paul uses the insight, when he writes to the little Colossian church, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

Do you want to be fitter? Smarter? More successful? More adventurous? Kinder? More patient? You will have a lot better chance of reaching your goals if you invest in your asset of relationships.

There’s strength in numbers.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

In our highly driven, individual-centered culture, we tend to forget our dependence on others until the moment we fall into a ditch and can’t get out.

As I look back on my life, I could go on and on, naming the people who helped me become the person I am: my wife, teachers, mentors, my mom, counselors, friends, neighbors, and family. It is easy to forget just how much people have done for us.

You can’t love God alone.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20

Churches can be sources of abuse, trauma, and scars. It isn’t hard to find someone who has been deeply betrayed by a Christian in power. And it is no surprise that they find it difficult to attend church like they used to.

For some, it appears impossible to truly receive life from a church. But, the apostle John argues that you can’t have a strong relationship with God, while distancing yourself from others. I take this to imply that we can’t love God alone. We can pray, worship, and listen to sermons. But, you can’t experience the fullness of the love God wants to show you without also being in a loving faith community.

One-anothering is what makes Christians…well…Christian.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 15:34-35

Pastor Andy Stanley said, "The 'one-anothers' of the New Testament are all about how to live together in a community of grace. And when we live these 'one-anothers' out, what we do is we create a community that’s irresistible to the world around us. The world is looking for a community that functions like a family. And the church is meant to be that community."

"One-anothering" is what makes a church Christian. In fact, there are approximately 59 commands to “one another” in the New Testament, whether it be to love, serve, pray for, encourage, forgive, or bear one another’s burdens.

Relationships are nutrients for the soul.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. Genesis 2:18

God had created a good world. We know he liked it because he told us again, again, and again that it was good.

But, the narrative screeches to a halt when we hear God’s first sign of disappointment. He had created Adam without Eve!

Let that sit with you for just a second longer. The first time anything is considered incomplete in all of creation is when there was a lack of relationship.

Maybe you’ve got it all together. You may have some money in the bank. You might have the right clothes and some good drip! You may be loved at work for what you do. But, if you are not continually receiving relational nutrients (acceptance, validation, comfort, affirmation, encouragement, forgiveness, perspective, feedback, advice, and challenge), then you are frankly….not good.

You probably don’t need me to tell you about the lack and emptiness you face.

So, if that is you, take a baby step. Send a text. Make some plans. Do the work of building (or rebuilding) a relationship.

Your life portfolio will be better for it!


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