God created us to live in relationship with each other. We were not made to live in isolation. This is because when we are working together, partnering together, and living life together, we are stronger and more successful than we would be on our own. The challenge of working together is that conflict is bound to arise. This is true in our marriages, friendships, and work relationships. Because of this, we have to learn to work well together. This week we are looking at Ephesians 5, which gives insight into how husbands and wives are to treat each other and live their lives. As we study these verses, we will see that relationships require respect and self-sacrifice to point others to Jesus.
What is the worst relationship advice you have ever been given? What is the best?
1. What are some ways that we can show our respect for others?
2. Why is the concept of respect so important for relationships? How does it undermine everything in a relationship when a person is disrespected?
3. Read Philippians 2:1-8. What stands out to you about Christ's attitude? How can you model that attitude in your relationships?
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
4. Read Ephesians 5:21-25. In your own words, define "submit." Why is reverence for Christ of utmost importance in marriages?
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her
5. Why is submission so hard for us to understand in our culture?
6. Do you find these principles in the verses that we read easy or difficult to model? Why or why not?
7. If you are married, what would it look like for you to model these verses in Ephesians? If you are single, how can you live out these principles in your everyday relationships?
One of the ways that we most often feel respected is when we are offered admiration from others. It is an encouraging word at just the right time. If you are in a married couple's group, or your group includes mostly married men or women, spend some time writing out a list of things that you admire in your spouse. When you are done writing the list, take some time as a group to share with one another the things that are on your list. If your group is mainly single, take some time to share with one another something you admire about each person within the group. When we respect other people, we lift their spirits! Let's make this a practice in humility to lift others up!
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Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.