victoria osteen, joel osteen, joel and victoria osteenThe most rewarding relationships are built and proven over time. They take effort, investment and self-sacrifice. But sadly, when it comes to facing challenges in relationships, our culture today makes it easy to focus on the short term, seeking self-gratification rather than considering the long-term value of the investment made in that relationship.

It’s sort of like buying a house; over time you build equity. Sometimes, it takes longer than you anticipated. Sometimes the market is down, sometimes it’s up. Sometimes you see houses that you think you’d like better. But if you’ll keep being faithful, if you’ll keep making those payments and taking care of your investment, it will pay off in a big way down the road.

The same is true in relationships. We have to keep the right perspective and keep investing in what we have. Think about this: If you had a beautiful house with $50,000 in equity and then discovered a $1,500 plumbing problem, it may seem like a big deal in the moment, but compared to what you have invested, it’s really a rather small problem. You wouldn’t just turn your house keys over to the bank and walk away from the equity over a $1,500 issue. No, you’d figure out some way to get that repair done. You might get a second job or work out a payment arrangement. Either way, you would make the effort to get that problem fixed so that you could live comfortably in your house and protect your investment.

In relationships, many of the day-to-day annoyances may get us bent out of shape. It may cost us something to “repair” or improve a relationship—it may cost our pride, it may cost some time and effort, it may even cost going to get some professional help, but it won’t cost nearly as much as what you would lose if you just walked away.

Always remember that every trial or adversity is a defining moment in your life. Those difficulties can either hold us back, or they can propel us forward into the good things God has for us. We decide how those things will affect our lives. If we choose to be bitter and upset, constantly complaining about what’s happening, then we aren’t going to get very far. But if we choose to have a positive attitude of faith and put Him first place in the midst of our trials, then we can move forward in His peace and joy.

Today, I encourage you to take a step back and look at what you have invested in your relationships. Maybe you’re facing some difficult times, but consider all you’ve come through so far. What’s the value of the time, energy, heart and commitment you’ve invested? Instead of focusing on the problems, choose to focus on the treasure of the relationship. Focus on the future, knowing that God is faithful. Those temporary trials will fly by as you put your hope and trust in Him!

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NKJV)

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