James 2:22 – His faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (NIV)
Each relationship is balanced like a seesaw; both ends must have weight, substance, or there is no relationship. It is dynamic, not static, meaning that there is communication, which may be seen in the rise and fall of each side of the seesaw. Sometimes the balance is uneven, and one end needs to carry more of the weight of life, so both people adjust, and one moves closer to the other in support. Eventually the balance will right again, then tip the other way — a perpetual interchange.
Right now I have a full-time job, friends, family, and other responsibilities that require my energy and time investment. I know that I cannot afford to invest in a new relationship at the moment. However, my need to be liked is warring with my need for self-preservation. I'm already stretched very, very thin. I know it would be unhealthy and unfair to enter into a new relationship when I do not have the internal resources to offer. So I need to realize that declining is not selfish, for how can I be healthy and give to other people when there is nothing inside of me?
Some of us always feel called to give. This can be dangerous: if we are always giving, we will soon be empty. What good is a seesaw that doesn't move? A Christ-like heart is giving, but is prompted by the will of God, rather than the need to be liked or needed by others. Christ spoke to crowds and ministered to his disciples and other individuals, but also found time to recharge alone in prayer.
Look at James 2:26 — "Faith without works is dead." Where most people interpret this verse as a call to demonstrate God's love through giving, I also see it as a call to be centred, to be balanced, and to find ourselves, or we will have nothing to give when God calls us to do so. We cannot enter into relationship with everyone, so we must ask ourselves whether this is God's will, or our own vanity and need to be affirmed, that drives us to keep giving.
Prayer: Father God, we pray that you will fill us with assurance, for we do not need the affirmation of others. Instead, enable us to give according to godly love, which is an unlimited reservoir, rather than our own, which is earthly and limited. Amen.