When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
We all have expectations in relationships, but the reality is relationships are not like they are in the movies! So how do we bridge the gaps?
God wants to help us by teaching us about His perfect love. This week Jodi talked about how we can grow in our relationships, accept and serve others, and how we can experience a perfect relationship by pursuing God.
Though this week is primarily about marriage, it’s equally important for any relationship we want to take to a deeper level.
Connect with each other
What’s your love language?
i.e. acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, gift giving, quality time
Connect with the Message
When you have relationships, disagreements are unavoidable. Disagreements are important for growth. In fact, having a “fight” is a great time to change yourself and an opportunity to serve others.
Have you ever chosen to give up your own way and experienced freedom because of it?
How can I serve you today?
When we’re in an intimate relationship, we want to be accepted and loved as we are. But most of all, we notice when someone chooses love for us over their own needs. Showing love comes in many forms, but love that is selfless is an act that serves someone else.
Have you experienced someone actively serving you before? How did they serve you?
Assume the Best
Couples that stay together assume the best in each other. For example, when someone is late, I bet they were stuck in traffic. When your spouse forgets to pay the bill, they must’ve thought they paid it.
What situation do you typically assume the worst? How can you assume the best and create more connection (bridging the gap) in your relationships?
What other people believe about us does not define us. Our identities should only be defined by what God says about us. God shows He loves us through His actions. He sent His only son to take on our sins so he wouldn’t be separated from us. God actively pursues us and wants us to pursue Him back.
Here are some examples of what God says about you:
You were chosen: “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
You are God’s child: “if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance].” (Romans 8:17)
You have an inheritance: “You were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession (Ephesians 1:13-14).”
Every moment of your life is precious to God: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8)
God knows everything about you and still loves you: Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
How do you currently view your identity? How does your identity change the way you pursue God?
Do you pursue God the same way you pursue your other relationships? How is it different or the same?
READ. PRAY. DO.
Work your way through all of 1 Corinthians this month during this series! When Paul wrote them this letter, there was a huge host of problems the church was experiences - and his chapter on “love” is sort of the pinnacle of the letter! Many of their problems dealt with not being able to see their relationships of all kinds through the new lens that Jesus offers us. Check out this intro video and start reading!
Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
Father, I am so grateful for your unfailing, consistent, perfect love. Thank you for your constant reminders of how much you love me. Please speak into my life and teach me to walk in your way. Help me to see things the way you see things today. Thank you for laying down your life for me and teaching me what perfect love really is.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 13), he called the Christ followers there to a whole different kind of love. He called the church to not wait for love, find love, or fall into it. He called them to become love - just as Jesus had become love for them.
So put your name in these blanks and starting asking God to help you become love in tangible ways. Try focusing on one a day or every few days, and watch how God starts shaping you into a person that embodies love for the world to see!