Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19) That means if you follow Him, it will require spending time with others. Your life, as a follower of Jesus, must involve proactive investments in people. Being an introvert or task-oriented person doesn’t excuse you from this God-given mission.
Below are some tips on developing and cultivating relationships that I’ve found helpful. Investing your life in others tends to produce a lot of new friendships. As you become a friend to others, you’ll discover that it is so much easier to tell that friend about your other FRIEND, named Jesus.
TIPS ON DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS
1. Get interested in others and initiate conversations.
Philippians 2:4 (NLT) Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.
Proverbs 18:1 (MSG) Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good.
2. Be a good listener and try to understand.
James 1:19 (TLB) Dear brothers, don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry
Proverbs 20:5 (NIV) The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.
3. Be a cheerful person and be sure to tell your face that you’re happy.
Proverbs 15:13 (MSG) A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.
4. Accept people unconditionally and be patient as you let God do the changing.
Romans 15:7 (NIV) Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God..
5. Help people feel significant by valuing them and pointing out their value to God.
Romans 12:10 (NIV) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (HCSB) Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
6. Sympathize with people and demonstrate your care for them.
Romans 12:15 (HCSB) Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15 (LB) When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.
7. Stick with them during the tough times.
Proverbs 18:24 (TLB) There are “friends” who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17 (MSG) Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
8. Be ready to point them to Jesus when they admit their need.
1 Peter 3:15 (NASB) But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.