Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Genesis 2:18

God’s plan for our lives is paved with relationships.  To ensure this, God built us to breakdown when we are not involved in relationships the way He intended.  Marriage, career, spiritual, emotional and even physical breakdowns can be traced back to our unwillingness to build the kind of relationships God planned thousands of years ago.

All too often we find ourselves trying to manage our breakdowns with superficial techniques that are a surface band-aid rather than addressing the root of our challenges.  Although we can experience temporary relief with our humanistic band-aids, after a few days, weeks or months, we find ourselves back in the same condition we started.  This is a bible study for those who are willing to put ask the hard questions and put in the work to change.

 How do you define love?

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

The first step in becoming a great relationship builder is having a Godly definition of what love really is.  So many struggle in relationships because they do not agree with God about what love truly is.  God’s measure of whether we are loving people is whether we lay our life down for our friends.  This means, we have a lifestyle of giving up our comfort, pride, ego, time, life pace and definitions of success, in order to stay close.  This flies in the face of our media driven world that has reduced love to a hollow word referring to sentimentality not sacrifice.

How do you define whether you are a loving friend?  Is it based on what you receive or what you give?

Do you believe faithfulness starts with God?

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:6-13

Before we experience any relationship challenges with people, we make a decision to be unfaithful to God.  We learn from Adam and Even that it is not possible to become a great relationship builder if we maintain distance with God.  Let’s take a look at the relationship problems that are produced when we are unfaithful to God:

  1. Unfaithfulness Produces Guilt – V7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
  2. Unfaithfulness Produces Hiddenness – V8-9 – …they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  3. Unfaithfulness Produces Fear – V10 – He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
  4. Unfaithfulness Produces Blame – V12 – The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Guilt, hiddenness, fear and blame – 4 of the most destructive forces in relationships and they are all the fruit of unfaithfulness to God.  Regardless of how badly ‘we want’ to build relationships, there is no substitute for closeness to God.

How hard are you working on your faithfulness to God?

Are you revealing your faithfulness challenges to your friends, so they understand why you are relationally challenged?

 Is your inside life the same as your outside life?

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:15-16 (NLT)

The danger for those who attend church regularly is to become false in friendship.  To pretend to be ‘spiritual’ and ‘harmless’, not realizing their neglected inside life makes them as dangerous as wolves.  We guard against this by making sure every thought, sin, feeling, desire and fear is known.  Every religious person will feel a temptation to disguise their weakness, we must rely on God’s love to be continually known.

 Do you value self-awareness?

“Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NCV)

When we try to be good friends, but are not aware of our own weaknesses and challenges, it is impossible to be close.  Self-awareness is the key to having empathy, compassion and connections with other people.  When we are not aware, we either are too harsh with the weaknesses of others, or we compromise the standard because of our own guilt.  Self-awareness is essential to helping others.

 How do I rebuild my friendships?

1) Be Real – Proverbs 22:10

  • Who do you need to decide to be real with today?

2) Be Unselfish – John 3:30

  • Who can you build up and make greater through serving?

3) Be Faithful – 2Samuel 22:26-27

  • Who can you help wee God’s love by being a faithful friend?
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