Sabotage

Introduction:
Christianity, at its core, is about relationships.The Bible is a dramatic account of men and women who learned to love each other as they followed God. In the same way, we as followers of Jesus, have any number of relationships that we seek to build on the bedrock of God and love. Some relationships are smooth sailing, some are the opposite. When relationships sour, more often than not, they are a victim of sabotage. Things were going so well and then the relationship went south. Many relationships are a victim of sabotage. Sabotage includes things like pride, arrogance, jealousy, self-focus and self-indulgence. These attributes can cause real damage to a relationship.

Fortunately, the Bible has a solution, and it starts and ends in the heart. If we were to slow down to consider it, the heart of man is a part of every conversation. The heart is a part of every relationship. Everything from our lives comes from our hearts. The Bible makes it clear: We live, we parent, we lead, we relate, we romance, we confront, we react, we respond, we instruct, we manage, we love and we problem solve all from the heart. Every arena of life is impacted by the heart.

And that includes what we talked about this week – pride. Pride can do more damage to your relationships, including our relationship with God, than any other attribute we will cover in this series.

Something To Talk About:
Charles Spurgeon said, “None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.” We all have bouts with egotism, pride, and self-awareness. We become heady, high-minded, even arrogant. We swagger. And, it shows up in our relationships at home, work, school, and even at church.

The anti-venom for pride is humility. In Sunday’s message we talked about mutual submission. Ephesians 5: 21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Being filled with the Holy Spirit means to be under the Spirit’s control. The attitude of humility is necessary for true, heartfelt submission. We are to imitate Christ, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant? (Philippians 2: 6-7).

Humility is a necessary attribute to have in and for healthy relationships. Humility will cause us to be meek, patient and long-suffering with others. Humility is a yielding door to understanding, insights, and wisdom. Those traits are a positive in any relationship.

Questions:
1. How do you define pride? How does pride show up in a relationship? What are some of the destructive results of pride?
2. Humility is the cure for pride. What is your definition of humility? Why is humility so important in our relationships? How do you know if you are humble in a relationship?
3. Read the following verses: Proverbs 11:2, 18:12, 22:4; Micah 6:8 and James 3:13. From these passages, what does the Bible say about humility?
4. Read 1 Peter 5:5-7. In this passage, the Bible says to “clothe” yourself with humility. What does that look like? How do you clothe yourself with humility?
5. How does the command, “submit,” make you feel? Why? How does a person submit without becoming a doormat?
6. Pray and ask God to show you a way to surprise the other person in a relationship with love.

Take One Thing Home With You:
Love Conquers All. Philippians 2: 5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” That mindset includes love. Ephesians 4:2 says: ”Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Or 1 John 4:11 that says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Jesus loved people. He loved thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors, diseased people, poor people, children and His followers. He loved people who were devoted to Him and those who were different from Him. He even loved difficult and dangerous people. Because we are loved by Him, we are called to love like Him. The extent to which we love one another validates and communicates our faith (John 13:34-35). The New Testament contains 54 “one another” passages that teach us how to love. So, no matter if you are a spouse, parent, brother, neighbor, church member, employee, whatever relationship you are in, we should love the other person as God loved us. No, it is not always easy. But, it is the surest way to both remove pride, with humility, and to improve relationships.

The surprising love of God to you is one that frees you to surprise others with love. Surprise them this week.