Thursday, May 08, 2008

Relationships take work

We are heading into a series about relationships called "Extreme Home Makeover". Here is my small group curriculum for the first part of this series.

Big Idea:
Like a house, relationships, especially the marriage relationship, must be built on a solid foundation if they are expected to stand the test of time and last. Also, like a house, relationships need maintenance, care, and at times an extreme makeover.

Summary:
How do you begin to makeover a relationship? Every Christian relationship, especially Christian marriage, must be built on the solid foundation of Christ. Both people must be in love with Christ, filled with His Spirit, and submitted to His will over their own. Without this foundation, any renovation done to the relationship will eventually fail. Selfishness is a key indicator that you may be standing on a man-made foundation instead of the foundation of Christ. Where do you go after the foundation is solid? Too many people say, “I’m not the one who needs changing; let’s change you.” This is a recipe for more failure. Jesus makes it clear that the renovation project must start with ourselves when He tells us to get rid of the plank from our own eye before helping remove the speck from the other person’s eye. Are you single? This also applies to you because you must undergo your own renovation before you ever considering beginning a new relationship and taking on someone else’s baggage.

One of the best places to start your extreme home makeover is with forgiveness. In fact, without this component, the project will fail. Nothing can destroy a marriage relationship faster than unforgiveness, and unforgiveness has huge consequences both in this present life and for the life to come. We have been forgiven much and therefore we must forgive others.

Wanting something to change isn’t enough. A house doesn’t get built by itself and a relationship doesn’t just fix itself; all the planning and hoping in the world won’t do a thing unless you take action. So, roll up your sleeves and have at it. It is also recommended to check with the blueprints (the Bible) and with the foreman (the Holy Spirit) frequently as you tackle your extreme home makeover.

Discussion Questions: (read the Scripture & discuss)

Matthew 7:24-27
What does Jesus say is the foundation? What is the result of building a relationship on anything except this foundation? How does this passage demonstrate the importance of “putting it into practice”? What does it look like to build our relationships this way?

Luke 6:41-42
Where does Jesus say the renovation project must start? Why? What can we then do after we remove the plank from our own eye? Give examples of planks and specks.

Matthew 18:21-35
Why is forgiveness so important? What happens if we don’t forgive others? Share personal stories of forgiveness with the group.

Taking Action: God’s grace gives us what we need to successfully complete the makeover. But, we must take action. If you are married, discuss with your spouse these critical components of your relationship and support each other as you each submit to God, deal with your own sins, and forgive each other. Don’t wait another day to take action.

Ministry Time

2 comments:

Anala said...

Very religious. Log onto : http://matrimonyxpress.bharatmatrimony.com/2008/05/couples/marriage-makeover-put-the-brakes-on-destructive-relationship-habits/

Eric Jones said...

Anala,
There are a few good tips and tricks in the article you reference. However, without true heart change, that can only come from Jesus Christ, all the tips and tricks in the world will just be band-aids. This post, "Relationships take work," isn't about religion. Rather, it is about the reality that unless our individual lives are submitted to Christ and changed by His grace, there will be little to no change or lasting reconciliation in our relationships with each other.