We are kicking off a series on relationships
- To be clear…we are taking about ALLof our close relationships – friends, family members, church family, spouse, etc.
- Jesus commanded that we love each other. (John 13:34-35)
- This series will look at 4 specific qualities needed for healthy relationships. In other words, you can’t “love one another” without committing to these four things.
- We are sharing these attributes as rules, especially 4 rules to guide you in your relationships
When it comes to relationships, it’s not about me.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, humility in value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
- This letter is written to a church that was experiencing disruption within their relationships, and ultimately the source was a focus on self.
- Selfish ambition…working to advance self
- Personal prestige….thedesire for the attention and applause
- Often we see the example of someone looking for the interests of others above themself as extreme, but that is not the example of the extreme, but rather the standard.
- Why is this the standard? Because it is what Jesus did.
- Why did Jesus do it? Because that’s what love is. (John 15:13)
Almost every sinful act begins with a focus on self.
- The truth about selfishness is it’s a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves.
- God wants to liberate us from the “me first” way of living and transform our relationships.
- Imagine what a relationship could look like when each person has the other’s best interests in mind.
Other Texts for Study/Reflection:
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.