A farmer was detained for questioning about an election scandal.
“Did you sell your vote?” the attorney asked.
“No sir, not me,” the farmer protested. “I voted for that there fella ’cause I liked him.”
“Come, now,” threatened the attorney. “I have evidence that he gave you fifty dollars for a vote.”
“Well, now,” the farmer said, “it’s plain common sense that when a fella gives you fifty dollars you like him.”
Winning Big in Relationships is a major league topic! As we discussed last week, people throughout time have asked three main questions:
- Who Am I? This relates to your Identity
- Do I Matter? This relates to your Importance
- Why Am I Here? This relates to your Impact
For most of us, in one way or another, those three critical questions are answered in the context of relationships with other people. From the earliest days of our infancy to the last stages of adult life, our lives are intertwined with those from whom we hope to receive love, support, encouragement, and or direction. Tragically, many of us are unable to answer those critical questions positively because we have not received what we needed from our primary relationships.
Others of us have pushed on through life even when our relational “wheels” seemed pretty wobbly. We’ve succeeded, accomplished much, and have climbed high on our ladders. And yet, one dimension that seems to elude our grasp, slithers regularly out of our control, and can befuddle us(especially if we are male engineers or accountants!) is the area of relationships. How Can we Win Big in Relationships?
“We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually. We need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.” C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Today, I’d like to share several truths from the Bible, God’s source book of principles and practices that serve to enrich our lives and draw us in right relationship with the Maker of the Universe. And, that is where we ended last week…to get on the playing field of Winning Big, we take the first step when we enter into relationship with God. That gets us on the playing field. Moving forward in relationship with others requires some additional steps. Let’s look at three cornerstone principles before we build our relational gameplan.
1. God’s Word is truth, and the principles bring joy to the heart
Psalm 18: 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
2. God desires us to be in supportive relationships with one another
Hebrews 3:13a But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today
2 Thessalonians 1: 3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
3. Relationships are the arena where character and convictions get worked out
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Hebrews 10: 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
My neighbors are keeping me broke. They are always buying things I can’t afford.
Summer must be over. My neighbor just returned my lawn furniture.
We make our friends; we make our enemies, but God makes our next-door neighbor.
— G. K. Chesterton
In order to “Win Big” in Relationships, we’ve got to follow the game plan established by the Maker of the Universe. Here are six “Be statements” that can make the difference in your relationships. WHEN you put these six characteristics into play, you will Win Big!
1. Be Caring: Romans 12: 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves
I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you, and therefore I love you. – Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
2. Be Humble: Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Most of us tend to relate to God and other people on the basis of performance rather than on grace..we accumulate baggage, we lift up a bar.
3. Be Truthful (verse 25)
Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
4. Be Self Controlled(verses 26-27)
Ephesians 4: 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold….
5. Be Constructive, Not Destructive(verse 29, 31, 32). Give people grace and space.
29 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… 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.
6. Be like Christ
Philippians 2: 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!