There is a strong correlation between spiritual progress in one’s life and one’s relationships. Pastor Andy Stanley speaks about establishing intentional relationships. He reminds us that when we apply for a job, because we need the money and we seek a certain vocation, we choose to invest in the relationships with whom we work. When we pursue an education to gain knowledge and open doors of opportunity, we form relationships with fellow students and instructors. When we move to a new neighborhood, because we like the house, we choose to meet and get to know our new neighbors. Why then would we not seek intentional relationships within the realm of church? Why would we only respond to those who seek us out first? Why are we not more intentional about joining groups for the purpose of making spiritual progress?Read Acts 2:42-47.
1. How did the believers show intentionality in becoming a community?
2. How well do you think these Christians knew each other?Significant relationships require some transparency. Yet, we live in a culture that is very much image oriented. We can be whoever we are on facebook! To get real, we have to allow others to know what is beneath the surface. When people come in for counseling there is a predominant belief that everyone else in the church has it together except themselves. This is simply not true. We are all human and we all struggle! Only God has it all together!
Read James 5:16.
3. If we are forgiven by confessing our sins to God through Jesus, our High Priest, why does this verse admonish us to confess our sins to each other?
4. Why do you think it is healing to open up to another trusted individual, whom you admire in the faith, and confess your sins?
5. Can you name someone who knows your struggles and can pray for you with a real knowledge of your life?
Read Romans 15:7.
6. Give an example of when you felt accepted by someone?
7. Explain what it means to accept someone.
Read Romans 15:5.
8. Who gets the glory when we are real with each other, work through difficulties, become transparent with each other, confess our sins to each other and pray for each other?
9. After working through this study have you become more convinced that it is necessary for your spiritual progress to be intentional about establishing and nurturing relationships? What specific step will you take as a result of what you learned?