Love Well – Part 1

Acts 4:23 MSG  As soon as Peter and John were let go, they went to their friends and told them what the high priests and religious leaders had said.

Acts 4:32 MSG  The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. 

Peter and John went to their own church family. 

This was a family that was of one heart and one soul. They had been Born Again and were of one spirit through the new birth but there was also another dimension to their relationship with each other. They were a family. 

  • The church is not an army; it is a family.

 Jesus came to bring us into the family of God. More than anything else, we are God’s children. Children thrive in loving, family relationships.

 Ephesians 3:14-15 NKJV  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  (15) from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 

In family life there is love, trust, friendship, growing together, working together, and playing together. 

In the enemy endeavoring to destroy all healthy perceptions we may have about the family with dysfunction, perhaps the greatest effect that this has had is on the Church. We have lost all perception of what a healthy family relationship is and therefore we have lost all perception of what a healthy church family relationship is.

We are created spirit, soul and body. (1 Thess. 5:23) And often times we focus on the spiritual aspects of life and physical aspects of life and neglect one of the greatest needs that humanity faces.  

  • One of the greatest needs that humanity faces is the need for healthy relationships.

Genesis 2:18 NLT  Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 

God created us to be emotional, social, relationship oriented beings. We were not designed to be alone. That is why God created Marriage, the Family and the Congregation.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  (10) If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  (11) Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? (12)  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. 

  • We cannot become all that God wants us to be without healthy, meaningful relationships. 

Yet unhealthy relationships are often the single greatest source of pain in our lives. Because of this we become a people void of commitment to relationships. 

One of the greatest paradoxes of life is the source of pain and pleasure. 

Whatever has the potential to bring us the most pleasure always has the potential to bring us the greatest amount of pain if mishandled. 

  • We withdraw from relationships in the fear of being hurt.

Sometimes we work up the courage to give relationships another try, and because our ideas about relationships and our deep expectations are the same as before, we experience the same hurts and disappointments.

We must understand: 
  • The source of our hurt is not in the relationships.

Healthy Relationships are perfectly designed by God to be a blessing to our lives and not causes of pain.

  • The pain comes as a result of pursuing after and handling relationships apart from the principles of God.

Therefore we must face and conquer what we fear, and often what has brought us the greatest pain, in order to find the greatest fulfillment.  

When we fail to observe and embrace these godly principles, it will always result in destroyed relationships and heartaches. 

If we manage our relationship with people according to God’s principles, we can never be abused. We can be disappointed, and experience problems but a healthy relationship God’s way, far outweighs the disadvantages. 

  • All healthy relationships require effort, planning and godly wisdom

If we abandon these things we will have bad experiences everywhere that we go.

Very often we find that there are two major types of people we deal with: 
  • Independent – these are the ones that have the mindset that I really don’t need anyone else.

We come to church, we do our own thing, we may even serve because we know God wants us to, but deep down, we look down on those poor, weak people who need others.

The independent person has a tendency to be judgmental of those who have needs. They expect everyone to live up to their personal standards. The independent person despises the weak and does not see that he would ever need any of those people. Often, in judgmental arrogance they drift away.

  • Codependent –  these are the ones that have the mindset that in an unhealthy way say, “I cannot live without other people; I cannot exist without other people…”

The codependent ones will fall because of disappointment in unrealistic expectations placed on other people. They need people to be a certain way in order to meet their needs. When others fail to live up to those expectations, they are wronged and offended. Then they reject others for not living up to their expectations. 

  • The cure for independence and co-dependence is interdependence.

This is the realization that yes, we can live without each other, but there are certain needs that can only be met through involvement with others. 

  • One of the main reasons that we do not like interdependence is because it requires involvement and involvement requires change.

Proverbs 27:17 TPT  It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, and so one person sharpens the character of another. 

Growth = a development of character where motives are refined. We leave selfish, self-centered behavior behind.

In the pure sense of iron being used to sharpen another equal piece of iron will not work. One must be stronger than the other in order for the one to be sharpened. 

As you interact with one another in a meaningful relationship, their strengths will sharpen your weaknesses and vice versa. 

  • Growth comes from change which comes from involvement in our relationships.

Ephesians 4:15 AMPC  Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Using our lives as an example, understand that the quality of life that we are experiencing right now is a result of how we have thought, believed, spoken and behaved up to this point. 

For my life to change, I must do things differently than I have ever done before. I must believe something different. All it takes for my life to be exactly the same one year from now is to keep believing, doing and saying the same things that I am right now. 

In my involvement, or interdependence, I am shown the things that I need to do to see my life change and this causes me to come face to face with what I have been doing or believing wrong. 

We need healthy, godly relationships to become the people God desires for us to be and to be a testimony to the world.

John 13:34-35 MSG  “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.  (35) This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Romans 5:5 BBE  And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us.

You have the potential already in you to love people because God’s love is in you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this series we are going to learn how to have godly relationships, what it means to forgive and how to love well.