Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

New hope (Part 2) – Day 2

New hope ... with better relationships

Bible text(s)

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6Remember the LORD in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.

Proverbs 3:5-6GNBOpen in Bible reader

Wives and Husbands

1In the same way you wives must submit to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God's word, your conduct will win them over to believe. It will not be necessary for you to say a word, 2because they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is.

1 Peter 3:1-2GNBOpen in Bible reader

18The LORD says, “Now, let's settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool.

Isaiah 1:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

Love

1I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains — but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burnt — but if I have no love, this does me no good.

4Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

8Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. 9For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; 10but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

11When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I have grown up, I have no more use for childish ways. 12What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete — as complete as God's knowledge of me.

13Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13GNBOpen in Bible reader

February is known as the month of love. The dynamics of relationships (whether romantic or with your child, colleague or mother-in-law), however, can at times be troublesome. Today, I’m answering some readers’ questions on this topic:
QUESTION 1: “I am already 40 years old. Can I still hope to get a spouse?”

With God, there is no expiration date to finding the right spouse. Abraham’s son, Isaac, was also 40 years old when he married Rebecca (Genesis 24 and 25). Because a marriage takes work and God wants to make it easier for you, he will sometimes prepare your character first before sending you the right partner.

In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. If you walk with God and acknowledge him in your decision for a spouse, you can be sure that he will direct your steps.
Also, if you still have baggage from the past causing a blockage in your life, ask God to help you to work through it. You never know, this might just be the year in which he surprises you with that partner you have been dreaming of.

QUESTION 2: “What if I am married to an unbeliever?”
Have you ever seen an unbeliever come to salvation by you constantly nagging him or her? I have not. What I have seen, is how God can supernaturally change lives the moment we start praying for those loved ones who do not yet know God. (This also applies to praying for rebellious children, grumpy colleagues or family members who do not know God.)

In 1 Peter 3:1-2 we read: Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
Instead of criticising and fighting, rather start praying that God will do the work through his Spirit and focus on demonstrating God’s love through your actions. That might just make the world’s difference.

QUESTION 3: “Can a divorced person hope for a second chance of happiness in life?”
In Isaiah 1:18 we read: “Come now; let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” If God gave a murderer and a prostitute a second chance of happiness in life, who are we to say that he will not also give a second chance to someone whose first marriage did not work out?

QUESTION 4: “Is there practical advice to better relationships?”
My guidelines come from 1 Corinthians 13.

  1. 1.Love is patient: Are you, at all times, patient with your spouse, your children and your colleagues or do you become irritated quickly?
    2. Love is kind: Are you friendly even if you have all the reason in the world to become grumpy?
    3. Love is not envious: Do you celebrate others’ success or do you become jealous?
    4. Love does not demand its own way: Are you the most important person in your life or can you put others’ needs before your own?
    5. Love is not easily angered: Do you get angry and annoyed at every little thing or can you maintain perspective and not make a big thing out of a small mistake?
    6. Love keeps no record of wrongs: Do you forget quickly or do you remind others, regularly, of their past mistakes?
    7. Love never gives up, never loses faith and endures through every circumstance: Do you cover others’ mistakes and push through difficult times or do you give up in the process?

Effective relationships begin when we aspire to become the spouse, friend or colleague that we wish to have in our lives. Instead of criticising, rather seek opportunities to compliment and build other people up. You may be amazed at how it not only strengthens your relationships, but also causes other people to want to spend more time with you. God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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