Influence and Growth | Starting Relationships

As we close on this blog series on the building blocks of starting relationships, we still haven’t talked about the point of having relationships, starting with friendships. What is the point in having something if it has no direction, no purpose, no vision? Today, we’re going to talk about the vision we should have in all relationships: relationships that influence and grow. Let’s talk about influencing and growing in a relationship!

Choosing our influence

We should choose relationships that inspire us to seek more of God, to let the Spirit transform our hearts, and influence us to grow into the likeness of Jesus. There’s an element of affection that plays an important role in influence. Since affection is a combination of proximity, fondness, and interest, when we let people come close to us, be fond with us, and interest themselves in us, we respond to their affection. Therefore, we should have some things in mind when we are starting relationships:

  • Don’t search God through relationships: we should seek relationships that influence us, not by searching God through relationships (remember what we said about fullness), but by seeking relationships as a tool of influence in our lives. If you’re going to let people get close to your heart, let them be people that influence and bring you closer to God and His will.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
  • Choose relationships that complement: we all have faults in us. Relationships that influence us for the better do it by offering support and motivation to the areas that we need to grow in. Relationships bring blessing when influence places you in God’s will.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Being an influence

We as friends should have as our main goal to seek God over all things, and have a strong relationship with Him. It’s by first having Jesus in our lives that we can then reflect Him into our relationships; not only to create an environment for influence, but also to influence in His example.

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. Proverbs 3:5–6

Growth in friendship is a coin with two sides:

  • Support: when the times are tough, we can offer support by blessing the other with what God has given us to share. Because of that loyalty, we can continue to bless our friends through support in their needs. If we have a good relationship with God, we can rest assured that He will be faithful in preparing us to support our friends, even through the toughest times.
  • Influence: when the times are good, we can influence the other to grow by reflecting Jesus in our example. It all begins with a likeness of mind. The reason why this is so important to have in mind when starting relationships is that the level of likeness determined the level of influence. There’s an element of leadership that happens, where we lead the other to grow through influence.

Starting Relationships series

  1. Friendships: they should have the vision of a relationship God can use to bless each other, and influence others, whether it grows towards marriage or deepens in a friendship that will influence and impact others.
  2. Likeness of mind: brings connection, direction, and builds character to bring reason, vision, and growth to you and others.
  3. Trust: To build trust in our friendships, we first need to place our trust on God, seek strength and refuge in God, and turn our hearts to God; because when we find fullness in God, and we overflow with Him, blessing others through trust is all just about sharing what you have.
  4. Influence and growth: they are rooted on a mutuality in relationships; because of this, we are will not only be influenced by our relationships, but we ourselves will influence others. Relationships bring blessing when influence places you in God’s will.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

Originally published at on May 1, 2017.

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