This past weekend, our church continued our series, Adventure(Us). Each weekend of this series, we have talked about how our relationships can move from monotonous to adventurous, and one of the ways that happens is by having relationships that are harmonious. This weekend, Eric Williams shared with us that God has more adventure for us “when I offer up the best of ME to create a better WE!”
Relationships can be defined as harmonious when both you and the other person use your strengths and give the best of yourselves to each other.
Harmonious relationships are perfectly illustrated in the book The Power of 2 by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller through this story:
Several decades ago, a junior high shop teacher wanted to impress upon his new students the dangers of the oxyacetylene torch. “Pay attention, class,” he said, pulling a balloon from his pocket and holding it to the nozzle of the torch. “I am going to fill this balloon with oxygen.” When the balloon was full, he lit a match under it, producing a strong pop. “Not bad, eh?” said the teacher, smiling at the rapt students.
He pulled another balloon from his pocket. “Now this time, I am going to fill the balloon with acetylene,” he said. Following the same procedure, he made a short flare as the fuel caught fire. “Wow!” said the kids. “Cool!”
The teacher pulled yet another balloon from his pocket. “You’ve seen what happens to each of these elements separately. Now let me show you what happens when I put them together.” He repeated the procedure a third time, opening the valves for the oxygen and the acetylene as the balloon grew larger. “You might want to plug your ears,” said the teacher, putting the flame to the latex.
The mixture exploded with such force, the students could hear it loudly despite their plugged ears. Their jaws dropped as they looked at one another. Point made.
Was it the oxygen or the acetylene that caused the explosion? Neither. Or rather, both. Separately, they are impressive. Together, they create a mixture so hot it can melt steel. The power is in the combination.
Power in the combination! In order to move your relationships from monotonous to adventurous, you must understand what you bring to the combination, and when you do, you will be able to offer the best of you to others.
Over the next four days, we will look at Romans 12:1-16 and discuss how we can offer the best of ourselves to others. To start off our study this week, read through these verses!
Romans 12:1-16 (bold font added)
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
How would you define your closest relationship, adventurous or monotonous?
List a few of your most important relationships and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5.
1) Not Harmonious 3) Somewhat Harmonious 5) Very Harmonious.
Over the course of this week’s study, continually pray that those relationships will grow in harmony.
God, thank you for gifting each of us in a special way. Help me to recognize my strengths and to bring the best of me to my relationships. Instead of wishing everyone was more like me, help me to appreciate the beautiful diversity of all Christ followers and the harmonious way we are meant to work together. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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