• Tony Birkhead

Week 1- #RelationshipGoals



My marriage (my future marriage) will be Centered around the One who can make two become one!

INTRODUCTION

What’s the funniest thing you have fought about with a loved one?


Name a couple whose relationship you want your current or future relationship to look like. Why them?

KEY SCRIPTURE

Genesis 2:18-23

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Ephesians 5:1

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:16-21

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Read Genesis 2:18-20.

Why do you think God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time? Do the events here mean Eve was an afterthought or that God’s “Plan A” was animals instead of females? Why not?


What can you infer Adam was discovering from the start of verse 20?


Describe a time when you realized you needed other people. What happened? Why do we sometimes think we can or want to do life on our own?


What words in these verses help you know the purposes of men in the lives of women and women in the lives of men?


God created man with a need to partner with a woman. Adam needed a complement, but he didn’t know it until he began to do life without that complement. Verse 20 indicates a realization on Adam’s part, not God’s. God already knew Adam’s need. There was no suitable helper or complement for Adam yet. We need to recognize our need for each other. God designed us to walk through life with a helper.


Read Genesis 2:21-23.

Couldn’t God have created Eve in the same manner He had created Adam (v. 7)? Why do you think God chose to create Eve in this way, from a part of Adam?


What phrase in verse 23 reiterates Adam’s knowledge of his longing and need? What does “at last” tell you about Eve’s purpose in the creation story?


Why a rib? What reasons can you think of why God took a rib to form Eve instead of a bone out of Adam’s foot or a hair from his head?


“She was taken from man.” What does this truth tell you about the intended relationship between men and women?


God stepped into Adam’s moment of recognized loneliness to create one who would meet his need. Using one of Adam’s ribs, the woman would complement Adam perfectly, though not identically. They would walk side by side; she would not rule over the man (1 Cor. 11:3), and he would not oppress her (1 Pet. 3:7). She, too, was created in God’s image, and Adam’s first recorded words express his joy and recognition of Eve’s unique suitability.


Read Ephesians 5:1

In what specific areas of life are you working to imitate Christ? In what ways are you working to reflect His values?

In what areas of life is it most difficult to imitate God? Why is this?


Read Ephesians 5:16-21

What commands did Paul give the Ephesians in verses 17-21? Why are each of these actions examples of wise living? How do they help us ensure we are living as imitators of God (5:1)?


How can we know if we’re being “foolish”?


Whereas being drunk with wine leads to foolish actions, being filled with the Holy Spirit leads to the ability to discern and follow God’s will. Living under the influence of the Holy Spirit is the primary characteristic of “children of light.” Being filled with the Spirit also explains how we’re to “be very careful” to how we live, the command that begins verse 15. In verses 19-21, Paul gives four different characteristics of people who live filled by the Spirit. Each of these examples reiterates our need for the Spirit’s help to live as imitators of God


MOVING FORWARD

  • If you’re married, what things can you do this week to draw together toward God as a couple? If single, what things can you do?

  • Commit to pray daily, and if you’re in a relationship, pray together.

PRAY TOGETHER

Invite volunteers from your group to close in prayer. Have one person pray we would be people changed by the truth of the cross. Have a second person pray for the ways you see the Spirit’s presence in your lives. Then have another group member close your time of prayer by thanking God for His grace through the cross and His active involvement in your everyday lives.

COMMENTARY

Genesis 2:18-23

2:18. The theme of God providing for Adam’s needs is picked up again here, as God declared that Adam’s being alone is not good. God created the man with a need to relate to one as his complement, and now God will meet that need.

2:19. Like man, animals were formed out of the ground, but they did not receive the breath of life from God (v. 7) nor the image of God. By giving names to the animals, Adam showed that he ruled the animals and that he perceived the nature of each animal.

2:20. Adam’s understanding of the nature of the animals he named only highlighted the differences that existed between him and the rest of God’s creatures: no helper was found as his complement.

2:21. At what must have been a moment of loneliness in Adam’s life, God stepped in to create one who would perfectly meet Adam’s need. Because God took one of his ribs to use as His raw material, the woman would correspond perfectly—though not identically—to Adam. Like Adam, the woman possessed God’s image. The fact that she was not taken either from the man’s head or his foot may suggest that the woman was not to rule over the man (1Co 11:3), nor the man to oppress the woman (1Pe 3:7).

2:23. Adam’s first recorded words express his delight with God’s handiwork and his recognition of the unique suitability of God’s last recorded creation in the creation accounts. As with no other piece of divine craftsmanship, this one was singularly suited for the man, being bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Adam expresses dominion by choosing a name for God’s final created being, but the name he chose suggests that he viewed her as his equal. The Hebrew term ‘ishshah, woman, identifies her as the feminine complement to ‘ish, the man.

Ephesians 5:1, 16-21

5:1-2. Just as it is natural for an earthly child to imitate his earthly father, so should the spiritual child imitate his Heavenly Father. The word “imitate” comes from the Greek word “mimeomai,” from which we get our word mimic. It means “to act like.” To imitate God in this context means to walk in love. Love denies self. It is willing to give up self-interest for God’s sake. Since Jesus gave Himself up for us, we ought to give ourselves up for Him. “To give oneself up” means “to follow, to obey, to live in relationship with.” When we live with this attitude toward God, we please Him just as a pleasant aroma pleases the one who smells it (see Lev. 1:17; 3:16; Isa. 53:10). Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins. We must become a living sacrifice, obeying Him (see Rom. 12:1).

5:15-17. The world in which we live is filled with dangers and deceptions. It is not always easy to live an enlightened life even when we want to. We can get tripped up or ambushed by events and people without even being aware of the danger. We must be very careful to live our life rooted in wisdom, using our time wisely. Not to do so would be foolish. The will of the Lord is that we live carefully, cautiously, always matching our lifestyle with the teachings of Scripture.

5:18. Ephesus was a center of pagan worship and ritual. The Ephesian culture worshiped Baccus, the god of wine and drunken orgies. They believed that to commune with their god and to be led by him, they had to be drunk. In this drunken state, they could determine the will of their god and determine how best to serve and obey him.

Paul was talking about how to commune with the God of heaven, how to live for Him, how to serve and obey Him, how to determine His will. It was natural for Him to draw the contrast between how the god of Ephesus is served and how the God of heaven is served. With the God of heaven, you do not get drunk with wine. Rather, you are filled with the Spirit. Being drunk with wine leads to the sexual sins and immorality of darkness described above. By being filled with the Spirit, you can determine God’s will and serve Him faithfully in moral living.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Some interpreters equate this command with instances of being filled with the Spirit in the Book of Acts in which miraculous things happened: people spoke in tongues; prophecies and visions were given; people were healed. “Be filled” in this verse is not the same word as the one used in the Book of Acts, nor are the consequences the same. Rather than understanding this command in verse 18 to have anything to do with miraculous or extraordinary happenings, it is better to understand it in context. In this ethical context, it means directed, influenced, and ultimately governed by the Holy Spirit. This filling, then, is best understood, as a command for the believer to yield himself to the illuminating, convicting, and empowering work of the Holy Spirit. As He works in our hearts through His Word, our lives are brought into conformity with the will of God (v. 17).

5:19-21. Four Greek participles—”speak, make music” (melodying), “giving thanks” (thanking), and “submit” (subjecting)—in verses 19-21 modify the verb “be filled” of verse 18, describing the person filled with the Holy Spirit. The first two participles suggest the importance of music and Scripture in being filled with the Spirit. An attitude of gratitude is a third characteristic of being filled with the Spirit. Finally, an attitude of mutual submission among believers is a characteristic of being filled with the Spirit.


DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE


HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME

The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart:Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God:Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer):After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action:Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?


DAY 1

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

In Between

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Anytime you thumb through wedding albums, glance at walls filled with family pictures, or scroll through social media, you see smiling faces. If you guessed at what the lives of those smiling people were like, you might assume they’re always happy. Right?

But what about the days, weeks, and months in between those pictures? The “thousand words” a picture represents are filled with joy, peace, and hope, but between those pictures exists the drama, frustration, and sadness every person and relationship experiences. As much as we’d like to hope our relationships would be immune to such obstacles, every kind of relationship faces challenges.

Would you believe those in-between times actually can make our relationships sweeter? It’s the disagreements you’ve walked through that make you appreciate, and maybe even cultivate, times of peace. It’s the caring for a sick friend that makes you thankful for days of health. It’s the account balance approaching the single digits that brings gratitude in times of plenty.

But that’s not all the in-between can do.

The in-between makes room for us to learn how to love with the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s easy to be patient, kind, selfless, and forgiving when times are good. Yet real love is needed on in-between days when we’d rather be impatient, angry, selfish, and unforgiving. This in-between, 1 Corinthians 13 love doesn’t happen overnight. It comes with all the time and tests between the picture-perfect moments. It comes as we learn to love selflessly, like Jesus.

Is that the sort of love you want in your relationships? Then embrace the in-between, and keep reading to learn about real, biblical relationship goals from 11 very different people.

Adapted From: http://bible.com


DAY 2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Christ Centered-From Brandon and Christi, married over 23 years

Intentionally centering your relationship on Jesus is all-important. But how do you actually do that? Here’s what’s worked in our marriage.

Step 1: Decide and Commit

Have a conversation together to be sure you’re shooting for the same goal. Christ-centered means that your relationship is fully committed to Christ. Everything else is secondary. Try creating some belief statements that highlight how Christ will be at the center of your lives. “We have decided, as for us and this marriage, we will serve the Lord.” “We will trust the Lord.” “We will surrender to the Lord.” “We will follow the Lord.”

Step 2: Individually Seek God

Seeking God as individuals is a requirement of having a Christ-centered relationship together. A.W. Tozer gave a great example of this. He said, "Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are in one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow." To be unified together with Christ at the center, we must tune ourselves to Christ—not to each other. When we take our relationship with God seriously, He brings the unity.

Step 3: Together Seek God

You should make time to connect spiritually every day as a couple. This is where it gets fun. In order to keep your focus on Him, there are several things you can do. Your relationship may be strong in prayer. You may serve at church or in your community together consistently. Whatever passion God has given you as a couple, go with it!

For us, discussing God’s Word has become our most consistent and powerful spiritual connection. The Bible App offers Plans with Friends and we work on a plan together every day. It’s amazing to discuss what God is showing us individually and where He is leading us together.

When Christ is at the center of your relationship, He will do more than you could hope to accomplish on your own, even on your best day. So, take a step to put Him first.

Adapted From: http://bible.com


DAY 3

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Colossians 1:9-12

As Christians, we all long to make necessary changes in our life so we’ll become more like Jesus. And we’re also concerned about the spiritual growth of fellow believers—especially our loved ones. But transformation doesn’t come about by trying harder or putting Bible verses on sticky notes in hopes that family members will read them and shape up. The most powerful resource we have is prayer, and Paul has given us a pattern that is Christ-centered and specific.

Too often, believers pray without giving much thought to what God wants to do in a person’s life. Instead, we focus on our own ideas regarding what He should do. How much more effective our prayers would be if we prayed according to God’s will by using His Word as our source for requests.

The prayer from Colossians 1 focuses on the heavenly Father’s desires for His children. When we go before the Lord and substitute our own name or the name of a friend or family member for “you” in verses 9 and 10, we are praying His specific will for that person. The Lord delights in responding to requests that someone be filled with knowledge of His will and walk in a manner pleasing to Him.

However, we must be careful not to think of this prayer as a magic charm. It doesn’t work that way. These godly qualities take time to develop in a life. And if we are praying these things for ourselves, we must avail ourselves of the means God has provided for our sanctification or transformation—namely, His Word. If we want to know and understand God’s will, we should ask Him and search the Bible.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


DAY 4

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?

This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.

The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).

A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


DAY 5

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

1 Samuel 3:1-10

When we’re not listening for the Lord’s voice, He may send a message through someone else. In today’s passage, for example, young Samuel is confused about what is happening. He hears a person speaking but doesn’t recognize it as the voice of God. However, his mentor—Eli, the priest—discerns that the Father was calling, so he tells the boy what to do when the Lord speaks again (1 Samuel 3:9).

In taking his advice, Samuel begins a lifelong career of relaying to others what the voice of God says. This might not have happened, though, if Eli hadn’t given his young helper a word of instruction.

I myself had a similar experience several years ago. A friend called me unexpectedly and said, “While I was praying, God told me to tell you to spend tomorrow in prayer and fasting before you make that decision.” This struck me in a mighty way, because I was indeed facing a big decision, but there was no way that my friend could have known about it.

I did what he advised, and through this process, God led me to the answer I needed. In fact, I discovered that I had been moving in the wrong direction and would have made a terrible mistake if my friend hadn’t called. However, God stepped in and got my attention in a remarkable way.

When we’re going off course, the heavenly Father will sometimes speak through other believers to reach us. Therefore, it is vital to maintain a close network of men and women who love and seek Jesus in their lives. Thank the Lord for the Christ-centered people in your life, and pray for wisdom in discerning their counsel.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


MOVING FORWARD

One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…


Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1

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