We began this series understanding that “The Confidence of Joy” is found in Christ alone. With this confidence, we can “Defend our Joy” regardless of the circumstances. When we have confident Joy, we can then have joy in all of our relationships.
CHALLENGE QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IN RELATIONSHIPS?
Every relationship that we encounter can usually be placed in one of two categories. They are either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE. Max Lucado shares the following humorous illustration of a Dog and a Cat to show the differences of a positive and negative personality.
EXCERPTS FROM A DOG’S DIARY- DAY NUMBER 180
8:00 am – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am – OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am – OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am – OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon – OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 pm – OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
4:00 pm – OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM – OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!
EXCERPTS FROM A CAT’S DIARY
DAY 752 – My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal.
DAY 774 – I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The Dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the hanging metal room, he is safe. But I can wait, it’s only a matter of time.
DISCUSSION: What is the difference between the dog and cat? Which one are you?
CHRIST IS OUR RELATIONAL EXAMPLE
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Let’s examine the life of Christ for examples of a true people person:
- HE THINKS OF OTHERS, NOT HIMSELF (2:5-6)
- HE SERVES (2:7)
- HE SACRIFICES (2:8)
- HE GLORIFIES GOD (2:9-11)
Again, relationships are usually positive or negative. Let’s look at this a little closer through the lens of scripture. We are going to use the popular terms of Red and Green relationships:
1) RED RELATIONSHIPS
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
RED RELATIONSHIPS represent the most negative, small- thinking, and toxic people in your life. Whenever feasible, avoid these red relationships. From our scripture above we can see Biblical qualities of a Red Relationship:
- Whose end is destruction – Wrong DIRECTION
- Whose God is their belly – Wrong APPETITE
- And whose glory is in their shame – Wrong VALUES
- Who mind earthly things – Wrong FOCUS
2) GREEN RELATIONSHIPS
Philippians 3:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
GREEN RELATIONSHIPS are the most positive, joyful people in your life right now, plus the people you hope will become a bigger part of your life in the near future. To engage the 4:8 principle, focus on deliberately increasing the quantity of time you invest with these individuals.
3 types of feelings that Paul mentioned in reference to Epaphroditus.
- BROTHER (Concern)
- LABORER (Effort)
- SOLIDER (Fight and Determination)
INVEST MORE TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE THIS:
Tommy Newberry in his book, “The 4:8 Principle” proposed we should seek to yoke with people of the following attributes:
1) Their character and faith is equal to or greater than your own.
2) Their lives demonstrate the joy-filled fruit of their faith.
3) You’d like your children to grow up and be similar to them.
4) They hold you accountable and ask you the tough questions.
5) They draw out the best of God’s gift from you.
3 SOURCES OF JOY IN RELATIONSHIPS:
- People not things, must be the foundation of your thoughts
- Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every REMEMBRANCE of you.
- ALL – Continually Paul thanks God for ALL people.
- When is the last time that you thanked God for the difficult people in your life?
Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
- A) Defending ~ Making an Argument for the Gospel
- B) Confirming ~ Encouraging others in the Gospel
– Pray for others in your life in the following areas:
- Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
- Growth with knowledge and depth of insight.
- Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and WITHOUT OFFENCE till the day of Christ;
- Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
- We must pray that the ones around us will be effective for Christ’s Kingdom
I NEED YOU TO SURVIVE
I need you, you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body. Stand with me, agree with me. We’re all a part of God’s body.
It is his will, that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive. You are important to me, I need you to survive.
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I won’t harm you with words from my mouth. I love you, I need you to survive.
It is his will, that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive.