Bible Lesson

Why God wants us in relationships.

faith christiansen smeets mark of the desert

 

Here are a few notes to help us through understanding why it is so vital to be in healthy relationship with God our Father, but also one another. Please use these verses to help grow and inspire your relationships. 

So Why does God want us in relationships? 

Because if we are not in relationships, we will grow wild. -Ephesians 4:16

Because "iron sharpens iron." -Proverbs 27:17

Because we need to give and receive encouragement. -Proverbs 17:17, Ecclesiastes 4:10

Because humans need comfort. -2 Corinthians 1:3-7, Lamentations 1

Because we need meaning and purpose. -Exodus 9:16, 2 Corinthians 5:5

Because there is strength in numbers. -Ecclesiastes 4:11-12

Because we need connection to guard against loneliness. -Genesis 2:18, 1 John 1:3

Because we need support. -Exodus 17:8-13, Matthew 26:36-41

Because relationships serve as a reflection of ourselves. -John 8:32

Because it is healing. -James 5:16

We hope you will reflect on these verses and be encouraged to build relationships with others that reflect who God is and who God truly wants you to be. Your own best version can be found in healthy, Godly relationships. 

Have a wonderful week. 

 

 

We are His seeds.

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33 NIV, NLT)

Let's use the life of a seed as an analogy for our own lives. Like a seed, there’s an intent/a purpose in us, too, of an original creation waiting to come out. What we shouldn’t do and cannot do is protect the seed. We should not nurture it into staying exactly as it is, or even ease its growth unnecessarily. Nor should we abandon the seed or starve it. It might be buried deeply, waiting out its natural cycle before it germinates, but it still needs water and nourishment.

Instead, let the seed burst forth with new life and do what it was created to do. The important thing to remember, though, is that the seed must die, or change, before it can live; it must break out of the outward shell that is holding it captive. Compare the metaphors of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and a tadpole into a frog. 

Shedding: Change, Change, Change. Growth, growth, growth.

Let’s take a closer look at change. Changes come in three types. And each type treats you differently. Here they are:

1. A change you initiate: this may include an intentional job change, a marriage (or possibly divorce), an addition to the family, a move, a pursuit of higher education.

2. A change that’s predictable, but unavoidable: aging (including puberty), a progression through a job or education, new neighbors.

3. A change that’s unforeseen and out of our hands: an illness, a natural disaster, job loss, winning the lottery.

God has a greater good that will result from great loss (Romans 8:28) and change... if we allow for the grief and loss process, even if we don’t know when the greater good may appear. In truth, sometimes we need these things removed, and we need to be sequestered by God to allow the maturing process to take place so that we can grow and develop uninterrupted in understanding the workings of the Holy Spirit. We will then eventually take our places as the spiritually mature people God has intended us to be. Closely tied to this is the death of a good thing, and possibly a thing that shouldn’t have died. Be that as it may, it has died for one reason or another. God can still do an even better thing in our lives. We’ll see this a bit later with Job’s story: he had no clue whether he would even survive his ordeal, let alone that it could be used to bring him more good in his life than he’d ever had before.

Each change we face in our lives can be described as positive or negative, predictable or not, and avoidable or not; but still it’s a death—something dies with every change. What’s every loss has a gain every gain has a loss. The loss of a seed with a birth of a tree.

God has designed it this way. Glory be to God for his perfect design. 

 

Friendship: Job and Suffering.

Job Painting

 

Job 2:11-13 The Message (MSG)

Job's Three Friends

"Three of Job's friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him.

When they first caught sight of him, they couldn't believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground.

Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering."

Note: they could only do it for 7 days. When humans do not understand they generally become judgmental and controlling. If they don't have answers the start filling in the blanks themselves. They begin problem-solving because they feel helpless and the pain this person is feeling is now affecting them. It is now affecting my serenity my peace and I want it to stop. Many times you will see other’s defense mechanisms come into ply over your pain. I.e. avoidance, control, aggression, manipulation, etc. which we see in Job's wife. The trial in another person's life is not only teaching, molding, and shaping them; but it is also showing me the other side of suffering this is God's side. He hears our cries and stays with us, he works with their own free will but doesn't control us. He doesn't leave us in the midst of our pain, and doesn't steal our pain from us. He allows for the mystery of suffering to do it’s work and doesn’t get mad, judge, or abandon us in the process. Even if we are not doing it well.

There are two sides of healthy development in relationship:

1. Dealing with my process of trial, hardship, suffering and success.

2. Dealing with another’s success, or hardship, suffering, pain.

Which side are you on today? Maybe both. With whom and how are you doing in becoming more Christlike? Are you using defense mechanisms and being codependent, or Christlike?

Job 4:1 we see Job’s friend Eliphaz not being able to hold onto grace. He couldn’t be present with Job’s suffering, because He couldn’t understand it, it wasn’t “his” way. He had to “do” something. So he became a human with human ideas to do something (Like he was in Chapter 2 of Job). His defense mechanism was “intellectualizing. In contrast, we have Job’s friend Bildad the Shuhite in Chapter 8:1 who had to find something to blame: Job’s children must have been sinning. He then lectured Job with a lot of wisdom, that is cognitively sound, and can be used, but was misplaced in Job’s case. Zophar on the other hand, just told Job to repent and then everything would be fine. His tendency was to “minimize” what Job was going through. Just hurry and repent and it will all be ok. Job finally says:

“Can’t you guys just give me a break?”

“I’m dying here!”

Generally, we do not want advice, or lectures, or idea’s. We really want direct/immediate relief from the pain we are in. We can’t fix it, but we can give some relief. You can be a human “pain killer’ for a moment, Sympathy (not pity) goes a long way. Most of us just want someone to care about what we are going through, not judge our process and to real ize we are probably doing the best we can. If we could do better, wouldn’t we?

Let’s be the friend that Job really needed. The ones who enter into his pain, protest and pray with him.