We started a new series on Relationships. Successful relationships don’t happen by accident. What makes us most happy in life? More than money, success, or achievements it is relationships. Happiness was made to be shared. God never intended us to live life alone. We all long to belong because God made us that way.
Healthy Relationships make us happy and unhealthy relationships can make us miserable. Over the next five weeks we are going to talk about: family, friendship, singleness, dating, marriage, and your relationships with God. You were born into a family. Ephesians 3:14-15 says, “For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” You were not born knowing God, but He knew you. He knew you when you were in your mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1:5, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” Psalm 139:14 says, “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” The ultimate goal in life is a loving relationship with your creator. Your relationship with God will affects all your other relationships. It starts with God and ends with God.
The first relationship you had was with your parents. Below are the four areas of family that we looked at Sunday. Rules: Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right.” Obedience has to do with actions. Obey when young. The goal is for them to obey God. Children need boundaries and structure. God is a God of order. Is your home orderly or disorderly? Some parents are too authoritarian and do not exercise love. Other are too permissive and do not exercise discipline. A child’s spirit must be conquered not crushed. The ABCs of parenting: A- Authority over their attitude / actions. The family is not a democracy. Obedience is not optional. B- Boundaries for their behavior. Don’t be the overprotective helicopter parent. Don’t be the permissive parent who avoids conflict at any cost. Be a responsible parent who build fences around your family. C- Consequences with consistency. This one is self-explanatory. Josh McDowell said, “Rules without relationships lead to rebellion.”
Respect- Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise…” Obedience has to do with actions. Honor is an attitude. The book Love and Respect says to set this goal: We must treat each other respectfully even when someone does something that is not respectable. Respect is the core of family relationships and harmony.
Roles- Ephesians 6:3 says, “So that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.” Your relationships can only be as healthy as you are and no other relationship shapes who you are more than family. What role did you play in your family growing up? Where you the problem solver, peacemaker, troublemaker, rebel, victim, rescuer, comedian, mediator? We are all homeschooled whether we know it or not. The home is the university of relationships.
Responsibilities- Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” This does not mean you are never to make a child mad. If you are a good parent your child will sometimes be angry with you. This is a divine prohibition against verbal, physical, and sexual abuse against children. How often did you encourage one another in the family this week? How many times did you stir things up to anger? You are either bringing each other up or tearing each other down.
Family is complicated. Parenting is messy. You are going to make mistakes. Jesus paid for all our sins we would ever commit, and every sin committed against us on the cross. The greatest need of the children born into our family is to be born again into God’s family.