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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Going the Distance

Andy Stanley - Going the Distance

Andy Stanley - Going the Distance
TOPICS: You'll Be Glad You Did

It's closing prayer, I think that's pretty much it. So here is a verse of scripture, here's a verse from the Bible that appears on no sticky notes, on no makeup mirror, anywhere. "Wives", I haven't even read it yet. "Submit yourself to your own husbands as you do to the Lord". This is not anybody's life verse, ladies. Nobody's like, I just gotta keep that in mind, right? In fact, I wanna just push back on this a little bit, okay? Please don't leave early, okay? What an irresponsible thing for someone and potentially dangerous thing for someone to suggest, right? I mean especially to a general audience. When this was written, it was a letter that was circulated around churches all around the Mediterranean rim.

I mean that people read this, the author had never even met. He's telling 'em how to run their marriage, and he's never even met these people. He's never met the women's husbands. I mean, how can you just say this to a general audience? Like wives, like all wives, every wife in every marriage, I mean, before he even knows their story. I mean, just submit and you're supposed to submit to your husbands as basically to God? I mean, what kind of advice is that and how in the world did it make it into the Bible? I mean those are good questions, right? I mean, you've thought that, but it's like since the Bible, I can't ask it, and now the preachers asking it, you're wondering what kind of church is this?

So I said, don't leave early, okay? But actually, actually this is why I don't want you to leave early. This is actually great advice in context. And context is very important. For example, in our family, we say this a lot. "Let's eat Khaki". Now Khaki is our dog. It's not some special sushi. Let's eat Khaki. But context is important, right? And commas, commas are important. "Let's eat, Khaki". That's different than "Let's eat Khaki", right? Today we are in part four of our series, You'll Be Glad You Did Timeless Advice For Troubled Times. We've all lived long enough to have made some decisions. We're so glad we made to develop some habits. We're so glad that we did, right? We've also lived long enough to face the consequences of some decisions we've made, or some habits that we didn't break soon enough and we wish we had.

So basically we're all old enough to, you know, we're either glad we did or we wish we had. We're glad we didn't, we're glad we didn't, or we wish we hadn't. So we've all got stories. Every one of us can stand up and tell a story around these two contrasting pairs of statements. Eventually we all realize 'cause we're adults, we're all old enough to realize that life is connected, that one thing leads to another. That today impacts tomorrow, that yesterday impacted today. My relational decisions today, my professional decisions today, my financial decisions today, my academic decisions today will impact, will eventually impact me in all of those areas later.

And this is of course the number one lesson, or one of the number one lessons parents want to impart to their kids, or to the grandparents wanna impart to their grandkids that life is connected, especially for example, when it comes to their friends, because we know that friends determine the direction and quality of a person's life. I mean, we say to our kids, hey, your friends determine the direction and quality of your life, so you gotta choose wisely now because your friends now are gonna impact perhaps what your future looks like down the road, because life is connected. In fact, one of the things I told my kids, I said, "Look, unhealthy relationships, two, two and a half years max".

And then those people won't even be in your life anymore. They just won't. And all you'll have are scars, and memories, and regret, and records. I mean, who knows what's gonna happen? But the people will be gone. The people, the unhealthy relationships, it's not reciprocal. They feed off of each other and eventually the relationship goes away. But you're left with the aftermath, the shrapnel. I said, but healthy relationships, you'd build healthy relationships, healthy friendships young, these might be your friends for the rest of your life. These are the people that will stand at the altar with you when you get married. I mean, these are long term, because your friendships, your decisions now relationally impact potentially the rest of your life, to which all the parents and grandparents are like, yeah, preach it, but I'm gonna share that. In fact, that's great. But forget the kids and grandkids for a minute.

What about us? Because our decisions today impact the direction and quality of our life. Our financial decisions, our health decisions. You're ignoring your health now, 'cause you can get by with it. You're gonna pay for that later, right, because life is connected. So let's live as if our life is connected, and let's model that for the next generation. Again, with this relationally, financially, spiritually, whatever it might be. So in this series, getting back to the series, in this series, I'm offering some unoriginal, I didn't make any of this up, unoriginal, in some cases learned it the hard way, You'll Be Glad You Did advice. This is just an advice series. These are not imperatives or rules, but if you take this advice, it will keep you from breaking the rules that have the potential to break you, or break your heart, or break the heart of the people that you love the most.

This advice, just like the advice you give sits between the rules. This isn't right versus wrong, this isn't moral versus immoral. This isn't legal versus illegal. It sits in the realm as we've talked about throughout the series of wisdom. And wisdom, just a working definition is, insights informed by the knowledge that life is connected. Again, that one thing leads to another, that today impacts tomorrow. So, so far our advice, we've only covered two pieces of advice so far.

Number one we talked about was listen, we all need to learn to listen. Last week we talked about forgive, and today I wanna talk specifically to couples, engaged couples, married couples, moving into a different season of life couples. You just had your first child, or you've just, you're empty nesters. Or you're in a relationship that you hope is gonna become a couple permanent kind of relationship. Or maybe you're just hoping one day to be part of a couple. This is relationship advice for people who were thinking about pursuing or in the process of pursuing a romantic, let's get to the finish line, love to finish life with you kind of relationship.

Now, before I give you the advice, one quick disclaimer to the guys. Guys, in week two, I told you that I don't like to be told what to do. And I saw heads nodding. I didn't hear a bunch of "amens", but we're generally that way. And I especially found myself early on pushing back against advice as it related to how to parent my kids, these are my kids, right? Hey, I was a kid once I know how to raise one. You know, completely faulty logic, but I kind of just went there. I also tended to push back on other men telling me how to manage my relationship with Sandra, or telling me how to run my marriage. I mean, so for the men in the next few minutes, when you find yourself pushing back, 'cause here's another guy who doesn't know you, doesn't know your wife, doesn't know your fiance, doesn't know your situation, telling you how to run the relationship when you kind of internally cross those arms.

I just want you to know that I understand. It's challenging on several levels. And ladies, you may have some parallel thoughts and feelings, but I just wanna stay in my guy lane for just a moment. So just to make sure, men, we're all on the same page to begin with as I already said, we don't like to be told what to do. To the point of the topic, we don't want another guy, another man telling us how to run our relationships. And this is the sensitive part. Part of the reason we don't want another guy telling us how to run our relationships is we want our significant others to believe that all the great ideas were our ideas, that we just came up with this on our own. You're just doing that 'cause the preacher said no, no, no, I already thought about it. I'd already thought about that.

Well you just read an article. Well I read an article, but I'd already been thinking about that, right? Now, ladies, I know that you know those are some of the dumbest things you've ever heard. Why would anyone think that way, right? And beginning with the first comment, the truth is we desperately need to be told what to do. And we wouldn't need another man telling us how to run our relationships if we would just listen to you, because you're way more relationally astute than we are. And you know, I mean, we know this, you know our best ideas were actually your ideas, you allowed us to believe were our ideas, because that was the quickest way for us to recognize a good idea, right? I know, because I just, amen. No don't amen, that hurt. I felt like it was directed, amen is right, yeah. Because the quickest ways to get us to recognize a good idea is for you to make us help us think that it was our idea. The male ego, I'm just saying is so fragile, and it is so strange.

Now, having said all that, okay, that's kind of the disclaimer to let you know, I kind of know how this is gonna feel a little bit. I do wanna offer one piece, just one piece of relational advice. Actually it's just one word like the others. It'll lead to a more mutually satisfying relationship. You know, you hear people talk, we're gonna have a strong relationship. I hope it's strong, but I hope it's mutually satisfying. I mean that's why we got into the relationship to begin with. This one idea will prepare you to go the distance. It will, in some cases it could ensure that you actually finish together. And today's advice is anchored in a concept, I didn't originate the concept, but these are just my words because I like it to be simple, and portable, and memorable. It's anchored to the principle of what I call mutual submission.

My opinion, I think this is the most powerful relational dynamic in the world in existence, especially as it relates to couples, to married couples, people who want to go the distance together. Mutual submission creates an escalating sense of trust and cooperation. It diminishes suspicion. It creates, it automatically creates more transparency, less pride, more humility, faster apologies, less resistance, less blame. And the reason is because it's mutual. Now unfortunately, and actually not just unfortunately, tragically, tragically, the New Testament passage of scripture that introduces the idea of mutual submission maybe to the world, not just in the Bible, but maybe to the world has been misunderstood, and misused, and twisted by religious people for generations, church leaders specifically.

In fact, what the passage that introduces us to this was has actually been used to communicate the opposite of what the author intended. In fact, and embedded in this passage, we're gonna look at it in just a minute, embedded in this passage that introduces the concept of mutual submission is the verse that we began with, within the context of this talk about mutual submission, we find the verse, "Wives submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord", which has been so misapplied by Christian men, and so criticized by non-Christians. And honestly, and I understand this, used basically to write off Christianity as a misogynistic ideology that empowers men and disempowers women. But Christianity, first entry Christianity is the very opposite of that because Jesus was the very opposite of that.

And I talk about this all time. I don't think we can ever say it enough. Jesus introduced the dignity of women and the equality of men and women because Jesus is the one that said, "Your Heavenly Father is her Heavenly Father". And then Peter who spend time with Jesus will come along and say, "Men, she's not just your wife, she's not your property, she is your sister. And she has a father and he cares about his daughter, and you better treat her right". I'm telling you, this was earth shattering. This was new. This was so not common sense. Now it's self-evident to us that men and women are equal. In the first century, it was not self-evident to anybody. In fact, what was self-evident, it was that, duh, the gods created men to rule. And duh, the gods created women to be subservient, and they're not all that intelligent, and you better not put 'em in charge of anything, and please don't teach 'em to read and write, what would happen then? That was self-evident.

And we hear those stories, read those stories, and if you know history, you think, what were they thinking? They were thinking what everybody was thinking until Jesus came along. He just doesn't get enough credit for the seeds he sowed when it comes to the equality of men and women's dignity, because Jesus says there's one God, and you are to approach him like father, and your wife is his daughter, and your husband is his son. And that changes the playing field, that changes the rules, and suddenly what was one over the other becomes mutual. And then his first sent Jesus, 1st century followers, they did more to empower women. And they had empowered women in their ministries and the church planning in just unprecedented ways.

Now the statement that actually introduces this verse that we're all so familiar with is actually, I think maybe one of the most empowering statements in all of ancient literature. And again, it's the setup for what we've just read. Paul's statement preceding this actually provides, as I mentioned earlier, the often overlooked context for the verse that's so disturbing to women when taken out of context, as it should be in a statement, unfortunately, that's used by men. Years ago, this only happened twice, and I don't do premarital counseling. I was terrible at it anyway, but I used to do a lot of premarital counseling, and every once in a while I'd get some guy and he's like, he would bring this up. But the Bible says, women are to submit, and I'd be like, do you know where that is? No, it's in the Bible.

It's Ephesians 5, let me show it to you. What's the first word? "Wives". So who's that written to? Wives. Yeah, it's none of your business. Not even talking to you, it's talking to wives. Let's look at what he says to the husbands. You know, buckle up buddy, right? Okay anyway, so the statement, listen, the statement that introduced this unthinkable, culturally, so culturally disruptive, way ahead of its time, dignifying concept of mutual submission that put men and women on equal plane, it was again, self-evident to us, not self-evident to people in ancient times. So here's the verse that sets up the problematic verse and puts it in context. You ready?

Here's what Paul wrote. Here's the thesis of the passage. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". This is mutual submission. This is one another. In fact, throughout Paul's letters, he's constantly, one another, one another, one another, one another, because he's teasing out and he's helping Gentiles understand the teaching of Jesus. And basically he says, let me, as we change subjects here in this letter to those of you living in Ephesus, let's start with this. You are to put each other first, regardless of each other. I mean, this is as insensitive as the other verse in the sense of wait a minute, we're to submit to one another, you don't even know all the one anothers. You've never even been here. You don't even know the people you're talking to, and you can just make this blanket statement we're to submit to one another?

Paul's like, yep. And he says, women, wives, let me tell you what that looks like for you. And the verse that follows is simply his application for wives. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". Wives, just to the wives, husbands, we'll get to you in a minute. You're to submit yourself your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Basically, it's just an application of this verse. Now, this is the advanced stuff right here, okay? Every once in a while we go deep. People accuse us of not being deep. And you know what I always say? Deep is you can't touch bottom. That's what deep is. So if you can't, if you don't wanna touch bottom, you know, I can give you some stuff to go do. It has nothing to do with knowledge, or Greek, or any of that stuff, okay? But here's advanced Christianity, okay? So you can use this sometime, right? You'll sound so smart.

The statement, see how the word "submit" shows up in both of these statements? In the oldest Greek manuscripts, the verb "submit" does not show up in this verse. The oldest Greek manuscripts read like this, "Wives, to your own husbands, as you do to the Lord, or as unto the Lord", literally. "Wives, to your own husbands as unto the Lord". There's no verb. Well, every sentence needs a verb. Well, this was common in Attic Greek and in Koine Greek. Oftentimes they leave out a verb, and when there wasn't a verb, everybody knew you went to the preceding statement to find the verb and then you add it. So in our English Bibles that read like this, this is a correct English translation. But in the oldest Greek text, there's no verb. Paul's making the point, this is the main idea. This is simply an application for a specific group of people of the main idea.

Notice what this doesn't say. This does not say women submit to men. Doesn't say that. It doesn't even say wives submit to other husbands. It's wives, you submit to your own husband. And then, of course, he's gonna apply this to the husbands. Now he could have written, "And husbands, you submit yourself unto your wife as unto the Lord", but he doesn't. He ratchets it up just a little bit. He pushes us guys to a little bit different level, even though he is communicating the same thing, because basically this is how husbands are to apply the submit to one another. So he writes "Husbands, you love your wives", but you don't get to choose what that looks like, sounds like, and what it reacts like. You are to love your wives, but I'm gonna tell you how you love your wives.

This is why this was a safe statement to make in general, because love had already been defined by the life and teaching of Jesus. He says, "Husbands, you love your wives just as", this isn't the golden rule. That's "Unto others as others doing unto you". He says, no, we're not doing that. That's so BC, okay, that's so in the past. This is new covenant, okay? "Just as Christ loved the church", his ecclesia, his ecclesia that he birthed the Jesus movement, the gathering, the congregation of Jesus. And how did Jesus love his church? How did Jesus love this movement that he birthed? He protected it. He guarded it. And then he gave his life for it. He laid down his life for it. That Jesus put the church first.

So, here is some Jesus, original with Jesus relationship advice. I'm just gonna summarize it in one word. I'm not gonna use the S word, we're gonna use the D word, because it's not quite as offensive in the English language. And our advice today is simply this, is defer. Defer, or to tease it out a little bit, to defer to one another. You just put him first, ladies. You just put her first, gentlemen. You just put your spouse, you put your person, your special person, you just put them first, in everything that you make as I like to call it, 'cause as Sandra said, I like to make things rhyme. Remember she said that, that was so interesting. Anyway, I like to make things rhyme and it's true 'cause it helps me remember. We are to make our marriages a submission competition.

That's it. This is what Paul says. He says, oh yeah, you're Christian? Then you should have make your marriage a submission competition. Literally, here it is, ready? Literally, you are to treat him or treat her as if she is more important than you. Question, have you ever met anybody who's more important than you? Now, but don't answer in your mind yet. When I ask that question, if you're like, "I can't think of anybody more important than me", you have work to do, but we're not gonna talk about that today, okay? We have all, yeah, I did not a soul, I think I'm the most important person I've ever met. Anyway, so we've all met people that are more important than us. And by more important, here's what I mean. I mean just humanly speaking, they're either more famous than us, or they're just richer than us, or more influential than us, or maybe it was an author, or maybe they're the boss of us. You know, when you're with your boss, it's like, you are more important to me. You determine my paycheck and my bonus.

So in that context, they are more important. So we've all been around people who we consider for whatever reason. I don't mean it meaning the eyes of God, they're more important. I just mean in culture, they're just, they're famous, they're untouchable, they're the people that you're like, "Should I go say something? I don't know if I should go say something". And then you walk up and say the dumbest thing, you walk up and say, "I didn't mean to interrupt you". Well you just did, don't ever say that. Just interrupt, say, "I'm interrupting", okay, 'cause you're famous and I just want your autograph, okay? So we've all been around fame, and do you know what you do without trying? You don't even try. This just happens naturally. When you're suddenly walk into around the corner, you're around somebody who's just more famous, or just more important to you, you automatically defer. It's like the you'd treat them with honor. You treat them with a little bit more respect.

Again, this has nothing to do with who's more acceptable in the eyes of God. This is just a human. When you're around the king, when you're around somebody important, you just defer. And what Paul is suggesting is that in our marriages and in our special relationships, we should just defer to one another. Now, before you push back, you know how to do this. And I know you know how to do this because especially if you're married, you've done this before. I want you to think back, wasn't that your posture, when you were in pursuit? Like when you've met, saw her or you saw him, and it's like, okay, I'm gonna get her, I'm gonna win him, I want this to work out. Do you remember what you did? Of course you do. You treated that person like they were the most important person in the world.

In fact, in some ways you were kind of in awe. You know, in some ways you might have even been a little bit intimidated. You felt a little bit insecure, because she was so, or he was so, and so you just, you automatically deferred. You treated them like they were the most important person in the world because they were the most important person in that season of life, they were the most important person in your world. That's how you won them. So we know how to do this. So here's some advice. Do this. I mean, why not? Okay, turn it around, it's how you wanna be treated, right? You wanna be treated like you're the most important person in his or her life. You wanna be treated as if you're the most important person in the world and their world. And you don't wanna be a hypocrite. So just essentially, you do for them if nothing else, what you would want done for you. You defer.

Now real quick, if you're not a religious person or you're not a Christian, or you have different faith, or you just think this is all crazy, or you maybe used to be a person of faith and for whatever reason, you just bailed out. And I'm sure if we heard your story, we would be like, oh my goodness, I would've bailed out too. So if you're not a person of faith, I'm gonna hit, I want you to just maybe, I'm just gonna let you sit down for a moment, or you hit pause for a moment, because what I'm gonna say next is just for Christians. I want you to listen. Don't leave because I'm gonna come back to you in just a minute. But this next part is specifically for Christians.

Now, if you're not a Christian, if you try this, this will make your relationship better, I promise. I mean, mutual submission, it's just, there's an escalating sense of trust. I mean just try it, okay? But if you're a Christian, a Jesus follower, there's an extra incentive. I want you to notice what Paul doesn't say, because this is kind of where our minds go. He does not say, "Submit to one another out of reverence for one another". That's the golden rule. I mean that's not bad advice. Submit to one another out of reverence for one another, but that's conditional. That's, I'll put you first, as long as I think you're worthy of being put first, that's what that means. Meanwhile, I'm sure I'm worthy of being put first, so I'm gonna decide whether or not I should submit to you and put you first based on your behavior, but I am sure that you should put me first based on my character and based on my behavior.

What Paul is doing in this passage, he's actually applying the law of Christ. We talk about this all the time, that Jesus in his final communion said that I'm establishing a new rule, I'm giving you a new rule that superseded all the other rules. This is Paul would come along later and say, this is the law of Christ. The law of Christ is that we are to love one another the way that God through Christ loved us. I don't just do unto others as I want others to do unto me. That again, that's pre-Jesus. Jesus says, no, we're taking it to the next level. I want you to love other people the way that I have loved you. So what Paul actually writes is, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ".

And then he applies that to women, as unto the Lord, he applies it to husbands, as Jesus did unto the church, that we are to take our relational cues from Jesus, not one another. That we are to do unto others, especially in the home, as God through Christ has done for us. That's our marching orders. That's what it means to be a Jesus follower. In his letter to Christians living in Philippi, he teases this out, he applies this a little in, I guess in a more broad way. And listen to these words. This is so compelling. I mean, goodness, if Christians have been doing what he writes next, for generations and for decades, goodness, the world would be such a different place. Here's what he writes. he says, and again, these it's a general audience, he hasn't even met all these people. "In your relationships", there it is again, "with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus".

In other words, let the behavior and the teaching of Jesus govern or dictate how you treat one another. You're to have the same mindset, and he doesn't qualify this. He says in all of your relationships. And if you wanna know what the mindset of Jesus was relationally, do you know what you do to find out what that is? You just follow Jesus through the gospels. And he just forgives the unforgivable, and he embraces the unembraceable. And he calls out hypocrisy, but he has a smile on his face, and he loves people, and his heart goes out to people, and he weeps for people, that he knows he's gonna raise from the dead. I mean, if you wanna take your relational cues from Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, there it is. And what the apostle Paul does in his letters is he helps contextualize that teaching for his Gentile audience to say, "We are to one another".

This is why his letters are full of "one another". We are to one another, one another, not the way we deserve to be one another, and not the way they deserve to be one another. We are to one another one another that reflects the way that God through Christ has one another each of us. And if you do, your relationships will be better. The world would be a better place. We're Jesus followers, we're not one another followers. And then listen to what he says next, this is so powerful. "Who, being a very nature, God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage," talking about Jesus. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage".

In other words, Jesus is God in a body and he never plays the God card for his own benefit. He never leverages his power for his own benefit. He never gets to the restaurant and sees at the corner table's got a family there and says, "We'll take the corner table. I'm Jesus". Jesus. That one, okay? Nevermind, I'll move 'em. No, no, no, no, Jesus let's do that. In other words, he never left. In fact, Mark who got his information from Peter. So Peter tells Mark, hey, on the way to Jerusalem, after he lectured us on having this whole thing wrong about his kingdom and who's first and who's last, Jesus makes this statement, for even the son of man, for even God in a body, for even the son of man did not come to be served, but to use all that power to serve and to give his life, a ransom for many.

And Paul says, that's who we take our relational cues from, that's who both people in the relationship take their relational cues from. Rather, Paul goes on to say, rather than so powerful, "Rather he made himself really a nobody". Wait, wait, was Jesus a nobody? No, Jesus wasn't a nobody. He was like somebody of all somebodies, and to somebody of all somebodies became a nobody so that he could do something for the nobodies like you and the nobodies like me, that he got under the weight of our sin, under the weight of our life, under the weight of our burden, and he chose to carry. That's why Paul says, hey, carry one another's burdens. This is amazing. Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ because that's what your savior did for you.

So basically, Christian marriage, and if you're not a Christian, again, you should try this at home. You don't have to be a Christian to apply the principle. But a Christian marriage is two people submitted to God, deferring to one another. Two people submitted to God deferring to one another. I'm not gonna treat her the way she deserves to be treated. I'm gonna treat her the way you treated me. I'm not gonna treat him the way he always deserves to be treated, I'm gonna treat him the way that you treated me when I wasn't worth you treating me the way you treated me. Now, if you're single, there's implications for you, okay? And I know this is hard, okay?

See, if you're single and you're a person of faith, I hope that you would date somebody of your same faith, it's just gonna make your life easier down the road, especially when it comes to raising kids. If you're a Christian, I would hope that you would be pursuing or looking for a man or woman who is a Christian. But it's not enough to be a Christian in the sense of, oh, they pray to prayer to ask Jesus in their heart. You need to pursue or find a Jesus follower. I mean, she may or he may be a Christian, but if he treats you like something you find stuck under the seat in the movie theater, you know, I don't know. She may be a Christian, but if it's always gotta be about her, it's about her, it's about her, it's about her, it's like, no, you should look for not just a Christian, a Jesus follower or somebody who understands, we are gonna defer to each other under the headship of Jesus.

That Jesus is our king, and we're gonna treat each other the way that God through Christ treated us. And when we mess up, we're gonna apologize quickly, because ultimately we are accountable not to just each other, we are accountable to our heavenly father. She's your sister, he's your brother. And you both share the same heavenly father. So defer, that's our advice. Defer, defer specifically to one another. You put others first. You never stop pursuing, you never stop honoring, you never stop with the awe, you never stop with the, hey, he or she's more important than me. Humility, come on, relationally, humility always wins the day. Pride is always poison, right? Selfishness is always kryptonite.

So in these kind of relationships, in a submission competition, you look for an opportunity to be wrong. You look for an opportunity to go to the back of the line. This is important. You loan one another your strengths rather than reminding each other of their weaknesses. And I want to give you a place to start with this. And because some of you married a long time, and you've gotten a little old, gotten a little stale, gotten a little isolated. Some of you you're in a dating relationship, and if you're the stronger personality, it's easy for you to miss this, regardless of male or female. If you're the weaker personality, it's easy to feel a little bit put on, so put upon sometimes. This is why it has to be mutual.

And here's the question that raises the bar, and here's the question that sets the table, and here's the question that gets everybody on the same playing field. And before I give you the question, just a little precursor. Your initial response to this question may say something about how much work you have to do in this particular area. So here's the question that mutual submission always asks. So if you're not a Christian, come back in, 'cause this part you can definitely apply as well. Here's the question that mutual submission asks. What can I do to help? How can I carry your burden today? How can I shoulder your burden today? How can I make your life easier? How can I prioritize your thing over my thing? How can I put you first? How can I get in the back of the line if that'll help you get to the front of the line quicker? How can I loan you my strengths? How can I loan you my resources? How can I make it easier for you? What can I do to help?

This is such a powerful question in any environment, work environment, but especially at home. And if you're a teenager and you're listening, middle school or high school, let me just tell you, you wanna see your parents like faint over dead? Are you okay, Mom? Are you okay, Dad? You just start using this at home, all right? They'll raise your allowance, They'll probably buy you a car, I don't know. No, I'm just kidding. In other words, this is because, this is important, this question runs contrary to my self-centeredness every single time. This question runs contrary to my busyness, and my schedule, and my sense of self-importance, and that what I'm doing is more important than what she's doing or what he's doing.

So I want us to practice this out loud, okay? Because you may be sitting next to someone who hasn't heard you ask this question in a long time. So let's stay it together. Ready? If you're watching online or wherever, you're driving, sitting with some folks at home, ready together, ready? What can I do to help? One more time. Now, do you know why you don't wanna ask that question? Because they're gonna have a what? An answer, yeah, they're gonna have an answer. Well, yes, in fact I've been waiting. I haven't been waiting seven and a half years and I got a list. Hold on, I'll be right back with it, right? I mean, I'm this way, I told you some time ago in another message that how much I hate running errands. It's just like, ugh, and I just try to be better.

So I've just initiated this with Sandra because, and the best day, and I'm just being honest, so don't judge me too harshly. The best day is when I say, "Honey, what can I do to help"? And she says "Nothing, I think I got it all covered". It's like, that's amazing. I got credit and I didn't get an assignment. That's like the best ever, credit and no assignment. Goodness, I love this day, right? How weird, right? How selfish. But you know what? This is the question that keeps you leaning in, bending in. This is the question that keeps the dominant personality from dominating the relationship. This is the real, this is the question that keeps the striver and the driver from leaving the other person in the dust, unintentionally, because this question slows you down. And when it slows you down, it's a reminder of your extraordinary opportunity.

You'll say no to you, so you can say yes to them. And when you say no to you to say yes to them, and they say no to themselves to say yes to you, something powerful, powerful, powerful happens. And regardless of temperament and regardless of personality, there's something powerful and engaging that happens in your relationship. It's your opportunity, every time, it's your opportunity to do something powerful for the relationship. So, Christians submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Non-Christians, at least start with submit to one another. Christians, take your relational cues from your savior who, and this is why he adds this.

You take your relational cues from your savior, who, do you know what he did? Who submitted to you. Who placed himself under you. Who bore your, this is Peter's words, and he was there, saw the whole thing, the whole thing. Who bore your sins in his body. Who deferred to me and deferred to you. And he put me first and he put you first. And he says, now, I just want you to do for others what I did for you. And I want it to be magnified in that one-on-one relationship in your home or your future home. It's just another reminder that following Jesus really will make your life better, make you better at life, it'll make you better husband, wife, fiance, friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend. And in the end, you'll have a stronger, better relationship. But best of all, you'll have a more mutually satisfying relationship because it's mutual submission.

So, defer to one another. You will be glad that you did. And some other people will be glad that you did as well. And for many of you, there are some little people watching, taking their cues from you about their future relationships as well. You'll be glad you did, and we will pick it up right there next time in part five of You'll Be Glad You Did, more Timeless Advice For Troubled Times. I'd love to pray for us before we go.

Father, thank you. Thank you for inspiring the apostle Paul to launch, to initiate this ground-breaking idea, for Peter who would come around later and say it's because we all have the same father in heaven. So Father, give us wisdom to know what to do with what we just heard. Father, I pray for the dominant part of that relationship. It just tends to move on and forget to look back, and just think it all just needs to work out for him or her. I just pray they would slow down in the curve, slow down in that relationship, and just make it the daily practice. Honey, sweetheart, what can I do? What can I do to help? What can I do today to lift the burden off of you? Thank you for sending your son to do that for us in the most dramatic, painful way imaginable. So again, give us wisdom to know what to do with what we've just heard. Give us the courage to do it. And I pray, Father that you would raise up more and more couples who understand the power of a submission competition as we defer to one another in submission to our father in heaven, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Are you Human?:*
  1. Liz
    6 February 2023 19:51
    + +1 -
    I was looking for your sermon that involved hurting others and how to apologize. You gave wonderful advice on that subject. Not just "sorry" but have to go further than that. It seems like ALL Pastors will just say, let the past go and forgive. Don't live in the past. God forgives! That is not right because it was like YOU said go deeper into an apology when you hurt someone so terribly bad that there will never speak again to each other.