Be Like Barak!

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. Proverbs 27:17

Hey People!

It’s another week! We are officially one week old! *Rings celebration bells! *

For those of you who have read, subscribed, liked, commented, forwarded to friends, you’re the real MVPs! Thank you for your love, support, and encouragement; it means the world to us here. For those that haven’t, we love you still; so, go ahead and share! Be a growth evangelist!

Our discussion this week is about relationships. Don’t roll your eyes yet; not the boy meets girl, falls in love drama, kiss, makeup shenanigans. The word simply refers “to the way two or more people are connected, and/or the way they behave towards each other”. By this definition, we can all agree that we are all in relationships. Now, that we are agreed; the question is, “are we all maximizing these relationships?”

I’ll give you two examples to illustrate:

First, this is my true-life story. I’m considerably introverted so I have people with whom I’ve been friends for 15 years and more. Don’t judge me please, I’ve made a few new ones over the years; but my initial friends are amazing, so why severe fantastic relationships!

Anyway, one of my friends has been on this journey of discovering herself and God’s purpose for her life and by my standards, she’s done an absolutely amazing job so far and taken great strides including actually writing her own book which will be out in a few months. While I was dating my husband, God asked me to be “accountable” to her. The self in me was like “huh, what does that mean; we’re age mates, we studied same course, etc.? But I obeyed in humility and as I went along; I would call her and just update her on the goings-on in my life and seek out her opinion or counsel. I mentioned the instruction to her at the time, but I doubt she even remembers now. Often, she would give very insightful responses to my questions – most times in line with something I was praying about; and I’ve learnt a ton from just listening and observing her. We’ve both done various things after this time, but I still check in with her from time to time and I’m still being blessed!

My point here is this – as individuals, it’s easy to take for granted the closest people to us – spouses, siblings, relatives, age-long friends whom you’ve known since you were both silly; colleagues who are goofy, etc. I encourage you today to be wise enough to see beyond the flaws of individuals, intentional enough to build destiny relationships and discerning enough to see the gift of men and women that God has so graciously bestowed upon us. It is in these relationships, that you can glean wisdom, strength, grace and favour.

The fact that you are age mates or in a similar “category”; doesn’t mean that you are knowledge or grace-mates. Respect and value the knowledge and grace of God upon people. Also, when people double-hat roles in your life, it’s easy to fall into grey areas – e.g. spouse and business partner, line manager and mentor, etc. Please learn to compartmentalize and be objective; be clear when s/he is acting in their different capacities and take the counsel, admonition, etc. without being overtly emotional about it.

The fact that you are age mates or in a similar “category”; doesn’t mean that you are knowledge or grace-mates.

Without this discipline in managing relationships, you may likely miss out on the rich rewards that one individual would have to offer from their multi-giftedness, knowledge or experience base, networks, spiritual gifts, etc. As we would say in our Nigerian lingo, guard against “see finish!” [this is a situation in which you lose value with people who have become too familiar with you over time, so they begin to take you for granted!]

You see Barak in Judges 4:1-22 understood this principle well, though Deborah was the judge in Israel at the time, a prophetess and wife of Lapidoth; the Bible gave no record of her having any military or strategic experiences – so it would have been easy to say he would go to war alone. I mean he was an accomplished General, but he was wise and discerning enough to know that she carried God’s presence; and humble enough to go to war knowing victory would come through a woman. At the end of the day, the goal was accomplished, God gave Israel victory and here he is in the Bible for us to read generations after!

Be like Barak; be wise and humble.

You’re loved, valued and enough!

Love, C.I.

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