Every person you know, given the right set of circumstances, will disappoint you. Many of them probably have already! Who hasn’t been the victim of broken promises, or lying, or betrayal, or even abuse?
Don’t take it too personally. People are fallen, self-centered creatures. Even by human standards, we are all dysfunctional, unable to love the way God intended. So, in order to maximize the benefits of your various relationships, you must learn to keep your dependency on others in proper perspective.
Remember the training wheels that helped you to learn how to ride your bike when you were a kid? You must come to see people as training wheels, preparing you for something bigger.
In these relationships you learned the importance of telling the truth and of keeping promises; you learned how to find comfort and receive assurance; you learned how to serve and to be served. You also learned to look to people for affirmation and inspiration. This dependency was necessary for your social development and maturity.
But at some point, as you became more skilled, the training wheels began to scrape and bump the road, slowing you down. They also prevented you from leaning into the turns and enjoying the full experience of the ride. Training wheels are great for learning how to ride, but eventually, they will begin to hold you back.
Your dependency on people works the same way. At some point, you will discover that dependency on people has made the journey more difficult. Rather than just propping you up, you begin to see that the people in your life do just as much to hold you back.
No one enters the Tour de France with training wheels. Neither can you break free so long as you are riding through life depending on people when you should be leaning entirely on God. For it is only when the wheels are finally removed, and the drag and restrictions are gone, that you will finally be able to ride freely.
The hope and trust we have been taught to place in people finds its rightful place in God. Unlike people, God loves us perfectly. The comfort He offers us isn’t temporary or fickle, but eternal and sure. He will never lie to us, never betray us and never abuse us. He is our joy and our reason for living.
So, never forget, people are training wheels, God is the ride!
"This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord ... “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him" (Jeremiah 17:5,7).
Every human relationship carries with it a certain set of expectations. That responsibility differs depending on the nature of the relationship. I have one set of responsibilities to those who hold authority over me, like my boss or my pastor. I have another set of responsibilities to my friends, to my neighbors, to those I mentor, to my spouse, and yet another to my children.
Needless to say, some of these relationships carry a weightier burden of responsibility than do others.
But who places the heaviest burden of expectation on you? For the Christian, the answer is easy, that would be God. Right? After all, He is our Creator and all that we have we owe to HIm.
Nevertheless, Jesus said that the burden of expectation He places on us is, comparatively speaking, light. This is really an astounding statement. How can our burden of responsibility to God be lighter than it is to others? Aren't we more accountable to Him than to anyone else? Absolutely! In a sense, every moral obligation we have to others goes back to God, Himself.
But the message of grace is that Jesus has taken all of the burdens of God's expectation from us and has placed them on Christ. So, according to Jesus, the lightest burden we will ever bear in any relationship will be with our Savior, who fulfilled all of our obligations. Who else in our life has ever released us like this?
Jesus has fulfilled all that God expected of us and has replaced those expectations with an unconditional love that has freed us to just love Him back. Truly, what was a burden has, in Christ, become a joy.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30).
Can you answer this riddle? The perfect man, the perfect woman, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus are all in a car accident. Who survives?
Answer: The perfect woman. The other three don't exist!
That doesn't stop women, the world over, from looking for him. But lost in the list of desirable characteristics posted on various women's websites and in magazines is the quality that makes all the difference. The Bible suggests that what a woman ought to be looking for is not whether her dream man has a feminine side or rock hard abs, but whether he loves just like Jesus.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).