“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
It is not real difficult to tell people how to have successful relationships. The hard part about having a successful relationship is doing what you know it takes to have one. I have a few older couples in the church that I pastor who have been married over sixty years. The amazing part about them is that they are happy with each other. This does not mean that they don’t have disagreements, because every relationship has disagreements, but it means that they have learned the key to enjoying each other.
The verse above is the key to having a successful and enjoyable relationship. You can be successful at not ending a relationship, but not enjoy it. The desire of anyone should be not only to be successful in not ending a relationship but also to enjoy the person in the relationship. Let me share several things from the verse above about having successful and enjoyable relationships.
First, respect the other person. The keyword to the verse above is “esteem.” The word “esteem” means to respect with admiration. You will never have a successful relationship when you don’t respect the other person. Respect goes both ways. When you respect the other person, you will guard what you say to them. When you respect the other person, you will have a deep admiration for them. You mustn’t allow the familiarity of a person to cause you to lose your admiration for them. Just because you have discovered the flaws of the other person doesn’t mean you should stop admiring them.
Second, don’t make your relationship a competition. The verse above says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory…” A relationship is not about who wins and who loses. You will always lose in your relationship with others if you must always be the winner in disagreements and accomplishments. Your relationships should never be about who has won the most. Stop making your relationships a competition and instead enjoy winning together.
Third, don’t make your relationships about you. Verse 4 says, “Look not every man on his own things…” The key to a successful relationship is to meet the needs of the other person. No relationship will ever get to the point of enjoyment until you could care less about what the other person does for you. You will find a deep fulfillment in your relationships when your sole job in the relationship is to meet the needs of the other person.
Fourth, don’t worry about who gets the credit. Verse 7 says, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” When you acquire a servant mindset in your relationship, you won’t care about who receives the credit for good things accomplished. In fact, you should want your relationship to be about making sure the other person gets the credit for all that is done.
Fifth, you must die to self if you want to have a successful and enjoyable relationship. When you die in the relationship is when your relationship comes alive. In verse 8, Jesus died on the cross, but His death is what reconciled our relationship back to Him. You are going to have difficult times in your relationships, but dying to self is the only action that enables you to be able to reconcile your differences.