Day 5: 21 days to better relationships 

Topic: Fruit of the Spirit (2)

Text: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22, ESV) 

God is love (1John 4:8). That is a powerful statement. There is nothing like it. 

And if you are not seeing God from the eyesight of love, you are not seeing Him correctly. 

Also, the way we view God affects how we see others. 

You cannot give what you don’t have. If a wrong image of God is impressed on you, you are going to express the same.

God is an authority figure and past terrible experiences from authority figures can communicate a wrong impression about God and we are not able to do express the right image. 

To solve this problem Jesus came as the full expression of God. John said: and we behold him as the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). 

He is the epitome of love, full of compassion. Otherwise, how would you describe the fact that when he hung on the cross, suffering shame and humiliation, he prayed to God for those who put him there, “forgive them because they know what they do (Luke 23:34).”

What love! What forgiveness! What perfection! Therefore love does not be mutual agreement and acceptance. It is a communication of God.

And love is only sourced in God and Jesus gave a new definition of love saying, even your enemies you should extent love to them. Love can be defined as compassionate attention. 

It is the opposite of selfishness, callousness, lack of forgiveness, being revengeful, hatred, wrath, gossiping, slander, unforgiveness (1Corinthians 13). And the Bible says that we should forgive one another. What about you? Forgiveness is the grease on which relationships run. 

Action: Who is the person who has offended you the most? Say: I forgive (name the person).  for (name the offense)

Declaration: I am forgiven and I forgive 


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Day 4: 21 days to better relationships 

Topic: Fruit of the Spirit (1)
Text: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22, ESV)

Better relationships flow on the wings of the fruit of the Spirit.

That Paul said that the fruit of the Spirit IS love etc, listing nine items, does not mean the only expression of the Holy Spirit is love and the rest are mere adjuncts (Galatians 5:22-23). 

It is just that the fruit on “the tree” of walking in the Spirit has nine different parts, just like in a single food item you find different food classes. 

But for the purpose teaching we break it down into nine different items, just as you do in to food items in a science lab. 

It is hopeless to try to emphasise better relationships without a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

He is the expression of the holiness of God. We should not look into ourselves to draw resources to help our relationships, we should look to God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will be in us as helper (John 14:15-17). Because, you should not continue struggling to make your relationships work. 

Jesus said that it is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63). Stop being fleshy about relationships. Stop the struggle, yield to the Holy Spirit.

The problem is not what you are feeling, it is how you feel about what you are feeling. (read that again). 

Let the Holy Spirit be “the feeling” in you. That is not a far-fetched concept. Jesus has said that the Holy Spirit will be in us and He is not a static, inanimate dweller. 

He is invisible and comes into us to exert his influence, like the wind exert influence on leaves (John 4:6-8).

This is a call for dependence on the Holy Spirit for our inner attitudes.

The Bible says that heart of man is desperately wicked who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9).

So you need the Holy Spirit to be the influence in you heart. You cannot survive on your own. 

Therefore, we have the fruit of the Spirit because the Spirit is one, a person and not fragmented. 

He brings wholeness to our inner being, calming our thoughts, making us one within ourselves and also able to genuinely connect with others.

Action: In what ways do you struggle in relationships? What do you want the Holy Spirit to do in you?

Declaration: I am walking in the Spirit

Day 3: 21 Days to better relationships 

Topic: Think of yourself 

Text: So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:22, ESV) 

You are different, therefore your relationships will be different from another’s.

Your self perception is an important dynamic in your relationships.

Therefore, think about who you are, what you want, your peculiarity, uniqueness, your likes and dislikes; “Know thyself”.

Think of how you want to feel, what direction you want to go.  All these will determine your choice of relationships and approach to them.

Think of the direction God wants you to go (Hebrews 10:5). And understand that living to please men (Galatians 1:10) contrary to your own unique destiny is a waste, a drain. 

God has called you to separation to himself and has said we should not be yoked with unbelievers (2Corinthians 6:14-18). 

Do not be involved in the seat of the scornful, counsel of the wicked, and the way of sinners (Psalm 1:1). 

“Evil” relationships will corrupt good manners (1Corinthians 15:33). So,  be courageous enough to walk away from bad influences. “Walk away” from the one who unrepentantly puts you down. Be like a chess player, thinking many moves ahead. 

What does that have to so with better relationships?

When we choose our relationships based on the understanding of who we are, we are able to connect well with the right people, rejecting the wrong people, as your time, energy are limited.

There are people the Bible warns against- the person given to change (i.e. presenting different images of himself, unstable, inconsistent) (Proverbs 24:25); the person prone to anger (Proverbs 22:24).

You don’t want these kinds of people to damage you and make you incapable of connecting with better people with whom you can have better relationships. 

Jesus did not waste his time with the Pharisees. They met but he did not bother having a working relationship with them, trying to connect with them for a bigger spread and thereby compromising his integrity. 

He recognised that they were going in opposite directions. There is no “fellowship” between light and darkness (2Corinthians 6:14). 

You should not think of yourself in one way and your relationship picks are the opposite. There is no need for non-thinking pity in decision making.

Paul said we should not company with a brother (someone you should be in a close relationship with) who is a fornicator (1Corinthians 5:11) or one who is idle (2Thessalonians 3:6-8). 

Therefore, think of yourself. 

Action: write out ten things you want from your life. List three friends and indicate how much they align with them.

Declaration: I am nobody’s puppet

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Day 2: 21 days to better relationships 

Topic: Think of others 

Text: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (Philippians 1:9, ESV) 

Think of others, how do they feel, what they like? Don’t be too self involved. Think of what will benefit them? 

Jesus came thinking about us. That is the basis of his appeal. He was full of thoughts about us. God said: my thoughts for you are not of evil but for good (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV) That is why good relationship with us was possible for him. 

You cannot have good thoughts about another and not relate well with them. It all starts with the thought. Master at that level and relationships become an easy road to take. 

But what if that person has rubbed you in the wrong way, irritated you by their showiness etc?

What you need is to realise is that the people are “who they are” and you are “who you are”,  and both of you are in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28), though differently and uniquely expressed. 

Paul goes a step further saying: think of others as better than you (Philippians 2:3). That means you see such value in others that you are almost tempted to turn yourself into their servant. 

Jesus did that. He saw in us what we did not see in ourselves and became our saviour (giving his life for us), forming a new relationship with us as he became human to help us.

Jesus asked: what do men say that I the Son of man are (Matthew 16:12-15)? They could not relate to him well because they missed it at the level of the identity.

Knowing who people are will help you to think correctly about them and that takes discernment. 

So, according to the text,  Paul prayed that the love (a relationship factor) of Philippians abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment/right judgement (Philippians 1:9). 

So Paul said that we advance more in love through knowledge (information available) and discernment (divine insight). 

Let’s add that to Paul’s recommendation of what should define what we think. 

He said that truth and pleasantness should define our thinking (Philippians 4:8). With that you can’t get angry with someone for too long. You get to think positively about them eventually. 

Action: Is there someone close to you that you think negatively of? How can you think differently with knowledge and discernment?

Declaration: I think like God 

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21 days to better relationships: Day 1

Topic: Be the best you can be 

Text: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV) 

If you are better, your relationships will be better. Your response will be better. How you handle emotionally charged situations will be better. You will be better at reading people and loving them the way they are. You will know when to walk away and when to talk. 

As you become better, you will know that it is not everything that comes to your mind that you should say, as the text shows. And your choice of words will be controlled. 

A better you has more self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Enough of giving excuses for losing your temper and latching out at everyone (Ecclesiastes 7:9). 

Take responsibility for your action. Paul said that our words should be seasoned with salt ministering grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29). 

It’s not just the other person that needs to change, you also need to change. And your change becomes a catalyst for their change (John 17:19). 

The better you are, the more confident you become and can correct others in love when they do you wrong; the less you confuse the person with the issue, the less you sweep issues under the carpet until it builds up into a monster that will consume everyone involved, and you become an emotional wreck. 

The better you are, the less attention you give to the negativity that people spew at you (Ecclesiastes 7:21), call the bluff of the emotional abuser and live free of anger in the midst of it all. 

The better you are, the more you love yourself enough to consistently reject abusive relationships (James 2:8), reject being called names without calling people names, and not have the compulsion to enact revenge (Romans 12:19). 

Continue to be better than you were (2Peter 3:18), continue to learn, you are only as valuable to others as the value you have added to yourself. And note that who you are is more important than what you do, as it impacts on what you do. 

There is always space for you if you have something to offer. Be the giving one and not just the taker (Acts 20:35). Increase your capacity so you can be more a blessing.

Action: What don’t you like about yourself that can change? Ask for the help of your Father in heaven concerning this. 

Declaration: I am always getting better 

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