One of the basic concepts that is taught in most chemistry courses, is the concept of the rate limiting step. The rate limiting step can be loosely defined as the step in an overall chemical reaction which determines how fast or slow that reaction will take place. With all things being equal, the faster the rate limiting step takes place, the faster the reaction and vice-versa.
Relationship experts constantly come up with the skills needed for successful relationships. These skills or tools they propose are the rate limiting steps in the relationship; the things which can break or make a relationship. As a Christian, the rate limiting step in all your relationships is your own personal relationship with Christ. The deeper your relationship with Christ is, the greater the evidence of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that you would have in you. In Galatians 5:22-23, the Bible says “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” [The MSG]. With these fruits at work in you, no matter how challenging your relationships are, you will overcome and endure. Interestingly, these are the same skills that experts report are needed for successful relationship.
Yet, these skills don’t come by magic and cannot be conjured from the air. They come about as the Holy Spirit works in us and come from having a union with Christ. There is the flipside to the coin where we can work out our own relationships without Christ. In such a relationship, the fruits that are evident are those of the flesh. These are “repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community” [Galatians 5:19-20, The MSG]. Now imagine these fruits being put into play in your relationships. It is not doubt that those relationships are doomed for failure right from the get go.
As Christians we have been called to be salt and light of the world and one way we do that is through relationships.
So I challenge you, what is the state of the rate limiting state of your relationships?