A theme that is prevalent in our culture is “life is all about you…you are the centre of the universe.” As a result, the idea of dying to myself, having the “same mindset as Jesus” and being totally committed to another person and his or her wellbeing is likely to be perplexing and difficult for us. In every relationship we have a choice. Love is a verb; to commit is an action you choose to do.
Our lives are full of relationships – best friends, spouses, exes, neighbours, co-workers – and those relationships can be complicated. Relationships are messy, and love can be hard. So how do we have good ones? And get over bad ones? During this series, we’ll talk about how to develop strong and thriving relationships in every area of your life.
Crazy Stupid Love comes with a discussion guide for small groups to use each week. This series was inspired by Pastor Gene Appel at Eastside Christian Church in Los Angeles.
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Who do you consider to be a close friend and why?
Have someone read Philippians 2:3-4. Would your current relationships look different if you were to approach your relationships with this mindset?
The word commit is used in the Bible as an active word. It is continual; not a one-time “I’m all in” sort of thing. The meaning implies we continue getting to know the other person. In an age of social media and superficial connections, it is easy to forget that deep friendships and great marriages take work and time. Share the greatest barrier you are currently facing that keeps you from fully investing in your relationships.
Have someone read Proverbs 20:6. Beth Moore said, “Faithfulness is resting in God’s certainty, persuaded by his honesty, trusting in his reality, being won over by his sincerity, being sure that he’s sure, and believing he’s worth believing.” Is there a place or relationship in your life where you feel you need to be more faithful or loyal?
Have someone read Psalm 89:1-2, 8. The foundation of faithfulness is our relationship with God. Are we faithful in our relationship with Him, investing our time to know him and learn what the scriptures tell us his will is? How about our other relationships? Share how you see the correlation of your current relationship with God with how your human relationships are going.
Faithfulness is persisting even when feel like we want to quit. Mature, Spirit-led people live by their commitments, not their emotions. This is different from the motto of going with how you feel in the moment. Emotions come and go. They can be valuable as a tool, an indicator of what’s going on that needs attention, but that is not the same as letting your emotions rule your decisions. Faithfulness is intentional persisting, doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it. Maybe you have overcommitted, but the fact is you made those commitments. Do you recognise patterns in your life where in challenging moments, you want to quit or bail? Talk about a choice or change you could make in your current situation to avoid those patterns kicking in.
Have someone read James 1:3-4. It is those moments — when you’re in those pressure situations where you feel like quitting — that the Holy Spirit can do His best work in perfecting faithfulness in your character. Share a time when you experienced God meeting you in the midst of a situation when you turned to Him for help, choosing to keep moving forward and persisting.
If you’re comfortable doing so, share a time when someone broke a significant promise to you. How do you restore the capacity to trust after trust has been shattered?
Have someone read Proverbs 20:7. Where do you need to apply this principle in your life?
Share where you need to commit. Spend time this week thinking over the following questions:
- Do you show up?
- Do you keep your promises?
- Is your word good?
- Can people trust what you say?
- Can your friend trust you?
- Do your parents trust what you’re telling them?
- Can your spouse, your family count on you?
- Do your kids know that you are absolutely committed to them?
- Can your kids ‘take your word to the bank’?
Break into groups of 2-3 and pray that God would give you the courage to honestly look at your life and relationships. Pray that you would choose to commit, looking to and trusting God to help you as you move forward.