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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Form Friendships and Partnerships Carefully

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I know many people form some kind of picture in their mind when they hear the word partnership. When I hear that word, I first think of a marriage or a business partnership. There can many reasons why someone would want to enter into partnership with another person. I think the reasons tie into the definition of what a partner is.

A partner is defined as a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor. Partners often share in the risks and profits of their association. Partnership is a great idea in many ventures. Sometimes partnership is a contractual relationship. Sometimes its an association such as in being tennis partners. God knows we can be a source of strength to one another when entering into appropriate partnerships and relationships. When Jesus was raising up, training, and empowering his disciples, he sent them out in pairs. Luke 10:1 “The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages He planned to visit." The Lord had them partner together to be a support and encouragement to each other as they pursued their mission and a source of strength and reassurance to each other in times of discouragement.

Partnerships can be as disastrous as they can be helpful if you enter into partnership with the wrong person. That is why God tells us to pick our partnerships or the relationships we associate with carefully. We are meant to be a light to everyone we come in contact with, and reflect Jesus to all people. That does not mean we are to “hang out” or become close friends with people who don’t know the Lord. To the contrary, we aren't to form intimate or close relationships with those who don’t believe in Jesus. Yes, we are to love them in Christ! Yes, we are to reach out to them! But the second you become a close friend, you will come to the place, time and time again, where you will be forced to compromise what your believe to keep peace in that relationship. Most often, you will be more pliable and accepting of them in your effort to show the love of Jesus, than they will be of you. They don't have that same inner motivation.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NLT) says, "Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

A partnership with God is not like a partnership with a man. God will never break or fail to follow through on His covenant relationship or partnership with you. Never! He is always true to His Word. That partnership is initiated through Jesus Christ when someone receives Him as Lord and Savior through faith. The Holy Spirit immediately comes to live within that person as the sign and seal of that relationship. The relationship is then empowered through sincere heart faith, trust, and appreciation of the love and hope Jesus reveals and promises to you.

Partnering with God is more than a partnership with any human being. It's called a Covenant Relationship. God made a covenant with Noah. We read, “Then God told Noah and his sons, “I am making a covenant with you and your descendants…” (Genesis 9:8-9) We actually still see what was a part of that covenant between God and Noah in the earth today – the rainbow! Genesis 9:13-15 says, “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my permanent promise to you and to all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with everything that lives. Never again will there be a flood that will destroy all life.” 

God is the perfect partner. He always listens. He always empathizes. He knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you more than anyone on the planet. He proved His love by giving Jesus as a sacrifice for your sins. He declares Himself as your helper! You will never find anyone who will ever come close to that. If you do need to form a partnership, whether that be marriage, friendship, a venture, or something else, make sure you are equally yoked. Then both of you together, pray and be dependent on God to help keep you both accountable to Him and stay on track in the relationship.

Make Jesus the third strand of your cord in your partnership.  As Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) says, "A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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