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YWAM Crossroads DTS God's Perspective on Relationships notes from lectures by Shirley Brownhill

Jesus relationship with the Father

John 17:22-23 (NASB)
22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 

God can be made known to the world as we labor together in unity.  We are in relationship with God and with others, there are many circles of relationships.  With God let me not be an outer court dweller but an inner court.  I've got to enter into relationships.  I've got to speak truth in relationships.  We may think it's loving to withhold truth, but we need to speak the truth in love.  God is not in the business of reformation but in making all things new.

Galatians 2:20 (NASB)  "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Too often people live in rebellion or have been wounded in rejection and then manifest self-pity, self-hatred, depression, and negativity.  We as believers are to represent God's nature and character to others.  My primary concern should be, what's the opinion of God?  We must take personal responsibility and not blame others.  We are to be committed to humility, walking humbly with God.  Whatever you are at your worst, that is your level of maturity.  Our private world and our public world should match.  Stop blaming others for your heart response.

Unity and oneness are emphasized in Jesus prayer in John 17, "they might be one, as we are one."   The way you relate to God is the same way you relate to people.  It may not be reluctance, but not knowing how.  The Church has mystified knowing God. 

Find your voice in the context of the way God has designed you.  You don't need to pattern your response to someone else.

Joshua in Joshua 1:3, is told to be strong and courageous.  Get more courageous, get out of the fish bowl, into the pond, the river, even the sea.

You have a built-in sense of the supreme value of love.  Only Christ can fill this desire.  You can invest in heart, mind, soul, and strength fully in God and not be disappointed.  He should be our first port of call.  Holiness comes through humility.  When we love God first and above all, then our need for divine unchanging love is met.  Identity and destiny go together. Satan is the relationship wrecker.

Romans 12:18 (NASB)  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Don't let the sun go down on your wrath

Ephesians 4:26 (NASB)  BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Righteousness is being rightly related to God and others.  The fear of the Lord is to keep His commandments, walk in His ways, listen to His words, cling to Him, love, and serve Him.

Often our difficulties in relationships with others are related to forbearance issues.  (Forbearance is the act of forbearing or being patient with others exercising tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation.)  If we don't get along (with other believers) we have no voice for evangelism.  We get oneness around Him, together we identify the mind of Christ.  Culture must never ever have a louder voice than God.

There is no plan of God for me to reach spiritual maturity alone.  The emphasis of the New Testament is our relationship with God.  Belonging to the body of Christ is not technical or theoretical it is real.   We reach our maturity as we belong to one another.  Missionaries leave the field because they can't get along with other missionaries.  There is a failure to exercise forgiveness and reconciliation.  If you are in an army, if you are separated from your unit, you should attempt to communicate and rejoin you unit, while hiding in a safe place.  You cannot fight alone, even with the equipment of Ephesians 6. 

The greatest quality of a leader is self-control.  Sometimes we make life difficult for leaders by picking up on non-issues.

A Christian witness could be called a withness, the report of one who has been with God.  

Relationships are not based on perfection and are not to be conditional, "I will be your friend as long as you meet my needs."

Sin separates, sin divides

The challenge is to love even our enemies.   Relationship and unity are demonstration based, we don't just talk about it.  We should be able to say, "come live with me, and you will see Jesus."

Hebrews 11:6 (NASB) And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

We have to get ourselves into a position of faith.

1 John 3:16 (NASB) We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren  

We need to lay down our lives for each other.

Philippians 2:3-5 (NASB)

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

No selfish ambition but having ambition for others.   An offense or imperfection in another can produce in us a downward cycle: 



Directed at others





A lack of confidence

 Personal pain can't distinguish how you got there

A lack of fellowship

A lack of love

A lack of unity

Offer excuses

 Start to blame


"I deserve better"


 Move in pride


Four primary aspects of relationships:

1.     Love

Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB)


38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'   [Quotation from Leviticus 19:9.]

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NASB)  "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

You may not always have emotion toward loving God, but always commitment. Speak out how good God is.  To love God involves every aspect of our lives.  He must be the object of our affection.  He loves me with a love that is totally dependable.  Love needs to be expressed, many times in many ways. 

Romans 12:9-21 (NASB)

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,

13 contributing to the needs of the saints , practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you ; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. [Quotation from Deuteronomy 32:35.]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Heap burning coals is an act of kindness for their warmth, thus ministering to their needs in practical care.  We are to ministers of reconciliation.  My job is representing Him, to reach out in the opposite spirit of enemies or of those who offend. 

 2 Timothy 3:12 (NASB) Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 

1 John 4:19 (NASB) We love, because He first loved us. 

John 15:12-17 (NASB)
12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
14 "You are My friends if you do what I command you.
15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NASB)
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Peter 4:8 (NASB) Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Prov 10:12 (NASB) Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

Don't assess how much others are loving you, just love them.

2.    Trust

Trust is essential to life, it is life giving.  Babies are born trusting.  Characteristics of trustworthiness are consistency and reliability.  We ought not be sometimes grumpy or moody.  We give eye contact to one speaking, communicating value.  Trust is when I voluntarily make myself dependent on another person, for some outcome, or for some thing.  Trust is a choice.  There is to be no contingency plan in place.  Trust strikes at the root of independence.  We are made to be risk takers, not thrill seekers.  Trust is both a crisis and a process.  All relationships involve trust.  Marriage is not a contract but a covenant, to be loyal for the rest of my days.  Trust is an active commitment to fulfill the heavenly vision, trusting the Father and one another.  Be trustworthy, "let your yes be yes and your no, be no" (Matt. 5:37).  God doesn't want islands, He wants us to be together, shoulder to shoulder.   Trust depends most on good character: loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, steadfastness, and honesty. 

Psalms 15:2(NASB) he who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. 

People have to trust leaders.  Leaders need to trust those they lead.  The greater responsibility rests with the leader.  They decide what is to be done, when, and by whom.  Leaders exercise power and have tremendous responsibility.  They generally have more access to information and knowledge.  When a leader fails, it is a breach of trust.  When you trust a leader, you trust: their judgment, their future pointing direction, their integrity, honesty, and truthfulness.  If the leader will admit mistakes, and lead back to safety, the people will continue to follow.  To make a mistake in leadership is costly, but to not admit it is fatal. You begin to operate on a false foundation.  Trust a leader's perseverance, anyone can lead when things are going well, but real character comes out in hardship.  The criteria for a leader are capability and character.  Character is the more important criteria.  Character doesn't develop or change suddenly.  It takes three months to change and three months to establish the changes, thus six months of DTS. 

3.    Honor and respect

First give honor to the Lord. 

Romans 1:21 (NASB) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 

Give recognition of worth and value to others based on the fact they are made in the image of God.  The New Testament emphasis is more on character than on spiritual gifts.  Character valued in this generation will inspire the next.   Recognize and affirm effort and intention as well as action.  Lack of honor and respect often breeds feelings of inferiority and insecurity.  Recognize gifts and affirm character.  Pride and inferiority can keep us from expressing affection.  Speak out affirmation, don't keep it to yourself.   Discipleship is 10% correction and 90% affirmation.  Encouragement means to give courage.   

Matthew 20:25-28 (NASB)

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
26 "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." 

Serve without expectations and unconditionally. 

Mark 9:35 (NASB) Sitting down, He called the twelve and said* to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

4.    Communication

James 1:19 (NASB) This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 

James 3:2-10 (NASB)
2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
3 Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life , and is set on fire by hell .
7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

What God is saying to me

My job is representing Him, to reach out in the opposite spirit of enemies or of those who offend.

I have been impressed the last few days to pray more for the tearing down of spiritual strongholds in Thailand, to do some prayer walking again when we return.  There are centuries of Buddhism, animism, and holidays that invite and allow the Enemy to blind the precious Thai people to the gospel.

Again, I was reminded not to be independent, but serving and growing together with other believers.   I was reminded not to take up again an offense already dealt with.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NASB)
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

God not only wants us to get along, and to love one another but also help others to be reconciled.

Don't assess how much others are loving you, just love them.

My suggestions - speak on marriage and family

There should be more teaching on marriage and family.  For more on this subject see my book, Twelve Important Basics for Living and Growing as a Christian, "chapter 5 The Importance of Marriage and Family. "  Paul gives us teaching on marriage in Ephesians chapter 5.

Ephesians 5:22-33 (NASB)

22 Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

One of the greatest needs that a man has, is to be respected by his wife.  A man will be ready to deal with whatever problems or opposition with courage and creativity if he has the respect of his wife.   But now before the husbands get real bossy with their wives, balance that with the next instruction to love your wife in the same way as Christ loves the people who make up the Church.  That’s what a woman needs, is to be loved by her husband.

25 Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Our Christian marriages are to be a lived-out picture before the world’s eyes of the love relationship between Christ and the Church.  All marital problems stem out of the disobedience of these two rules.   A woman is to submit to her husband’s authority, to respect him.   A man is to love his wife, which makes her feel secure.   There are only two rules for a happy marriage; one for the husband, one for the wife.  But marriages get in trouble because these rules are broken, and when they are broken they begin to compound.

When the husband fails to show his wife that kind of love that Christ had for the church, and she begins to feel insecure, and, "I don't know if he really loves me or not," she then feels the necessity of beginning to protect herself, because, "I don't know if he is going to protect me or not."   She begins to challenge the decisions that he makes. "Are you sure you are doing the right thing?"   But as she begins to challenge the decisions that he makes, that upsets him because that means he is not respected.  She begins to challenge his decision-making processes, he begins to feel that he is being challenged and, "I must now show that I am boss by becoming tough and hard and cold and unresponsive."  As he becomes tough and unresponsive, she gets all the more insecure, so she challenges him all the more.  You know, "I don't know if he really loves me or not. I don't think what he is planning to do is that smart.   If we lose everything he is probably going to walk out himself, because I am not really assured that he really loves me," and so she is challenging, but this challenging has a reverse effect upon him, causing him to become cold and aloof and, "I will show you I am boss."   The man begins to look at other women who might respect him, and of course now the woman is really insecure.   So the marriage is torn apart.  It is so important that married couples follow the two rules. The husband has to begin to show more love to his wife. He has to cause her to really feel secure in that love.  He has got to express his love, let her know that there is no one else and there will never be anyone else, that she is it for life, till death do us part, and he has no intention or desire for anybody else, she is it.  As she begins to feel that security, then she will be able to be freer to allow him to do those things that he feels that he ought to do or wants to do.  And you can get the thing going the other direction until it becomes heaven on earth, as we are following now God's rules which take into consideration the basic need of the husband as a man, and the basic need of the wife as a woman. [1] 

Ephesians 5:26-33 (NASB)
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

We can see from that passage that two people become one, there is to be submission and respect and we see that then forms a picture for all to see of the relationship between Christ and the Church.  So the way we conduct ourselves in marriage is very important. 

This provides the guidelines for husbands and wives in a good Christian family. The husband is required to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and a wife should respect her husband and willingly submit to his leadership in the family. The husband's leadership role should start with spiritual matters and then flow to instructing and teaching both his wife and their offspring scriptural values, leading the family into biblical truth. Of course, the first requirement for the members of a good Christian family is that they all be Christians, having a true relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Fathers are instructed to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 (NASB) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

A father is also to provide for his family.  If he does not, he “denies the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).  So, a man who makes no effort to provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian.  This does not mean that the wife cannot assist in supporting the family.  Proverbs 31 demonstrates that a godly wife may surely do that but providing for the family is not primarily her responsibility; it is her husband’s.  [2]

The woman was given to man to be her husband’s helper and to bear children.

Genesis 2:18-20 (ESV)
18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

Husband and wife are to remain faithful to one another for a lifetime.  This eliminates the cultural view that divorce, living together without being married, and same-sex marriage are acceptable in God’s eyes. Sexuality expressed according to biblical standards is a beautiful expression of love and commitment. Outside of marriage, it is sin. God declares equality of worth in that all people, men and women, are created in God's image and likeness, and are therefore equally valuable in His eyes. This does not mean, however, that men and women have identical roles in life.  Women are more adept at nurturing and caring for the young, while men are better equipped to provide for and protect the family.  Thus, they are equal in status, but each has a different role to play.

Children are given two primary responsibilities in the family: to obey their parents and to honor them.

Ephesians 6:1-3 (NASB)
1 Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),

Obeying parents is the duty of children until they reach adulthood, but we are to honor our parents for a lifetime.  God promises His blessings on those who honor their parents.

When a husband, wife, and children all fulfill their God-appointed roles in the family, when they have all committed their lives to Christ and to His service, then peace and harmony will reign in the home. But if we try to have a good Christian family without Christ as Head, or without adhering to the biblical principles the Lord has lovingly provided for us, we will fail.[3]

1 Corinthians 7:2-6 (ESV)
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.

Paul states that the sexual relationships within marriage are proper and that the wife should seek to satisfy the husband and the husband should seek to satisfy the wife.  And that you should not withhold from each other unless it is by mutual consent, and then only in a specified period of time as you're giving yourselves to fasting and praying, because the temptations are too great.  The pressure is too great on each other.[4]

We should never as Christians marry a non-Christian.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

This is an excerpt from chapter 8 of my book YWAM Discipleship copyright © 2018 all rights reserved

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB),
Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.

[1] Chuck Smith, Through the Bible C-2000 Series, Ephesians 5.  (Costa Mesa, CA: Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, 1986.)

[2] “How does the Bible define a good Christian family?” (accessed May 15, 2013.)

[3] “How does the Bible define a good Christian family?”

[4] Smith, Through the Bible C-2000 Series, 1 Corinthians 7.



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