Sermons.love Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - The Surprising Secret to Every Relationship Ever

Craig Smith - The Surprising Secret to Every Relationship Ever


Craig Smith - The Surprising Secret to Every Relationship Ever
TOPICS: Am I Right?!, Relationship

Well, hey, welcome to Mission Hills Church Online. So good to have you with us this weekend for the launch of our new series, Amiright?! For the next few weekends, we are gonna be pushing into something that my guess is most of us are having to push into already, maybe without intending to, but this coronavirus quarantine has got us having to lean into our relationships. And here’s what we know about relationships. We know that relationships can be challenging under the best of circumstances. And difficult circumstances put additional strain on our relationship. And they show weaknesses and cracks. Difficult circumstances put additional strain on our relationships. And I don’t know what that looks like for you. I know for a lot of people around the world right now, they’re finding that this quarantine is putting strain on their relationships. I wonder which of these you can relate to.

Here’s a thought that maybe you can relate to. If schools are closed much longer, parents are gonna find a vaccine before the scientists. Am I right? That’s supposed to be funny. And can I just be honest with you? Funny things said into an auditorium that is able to seat 1,800 people and has no people do not feel funny. I’m assuming that you’re laughing along with me, but I feel like I need a little bit of help. This is a weird question. Would it be possible for us to get up? Oh, we have it. Sweet. Okay, let’s try that again. I’m gonna give you a little bit of help. If schools are closed much longer, parents are going to find a vaccine before the scientists. There we go. All right. Yeah. How about this one. In an unsettling reversal of my teen years, I am now the one yelling at my parents for going out too much. Am I right? Yeah. All right. Let’s see. For those of you who are on way too many Zoom calls right now, how about this. I am going to kill the next person who says that we all look like “The Brady Bunch.” Am I right? Day 14 of no sports, losing hope, but found a woman on my couch. She seems nice. Am I right? How about this. Day 10 of quarantine, very disappointed in police who won’t remove unwanted people from my house just because they pay rent. Am I right?

You know what? Whether you can relate to those or you can write your own, the reality is that this situation, like all difficult situations, is exposing some of the cracks in our relationship. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a difficult thing. It’s never fun but let me tell you something. If you are facing difficulty in relationships, I want you to know you’re not alone, and I want you to know that it’s gonna be okay. In fact, let me just say this, if you feel like you are just absolutely at your wit’s end with your kids, that does not make you a bad mom. It doesn’t make you a bad dad. It just makes you normal, okay? Especially in this circumstance. If you feel like you are…you and your husband or your wife are getting on each other’s last nerve, that doesn’t mean that your marriage is doomed. It just doesn’t.

If you feel like you and your roommates are just at each other’s throats, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to place an ad on Craigslist, either for a hitman or for a new roommate, it just means that you’re experiencing what everybody else is experiencing and that is that this difficult circumstance is kind of revealing some of the weaknesses in our relationships. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because we can lean into that. And in fact, this is something that I’ve come to understand. I’m not crazy about this truth, but I’ve seen it confirmed too many times in my life to deny the reality of this principle. And it’s this, is the most difficult relationships and the seasons or the seasons of our relationships that are most difficult, those actually have the greatest potential to help us become more like Jesus. And that’s what we’re all about at Mission Hills, helping people become like Jesus and join him on mission. And our relationships actually become one of the greatest tools in God’s hands to do that.

And so for the next few weeks, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna lean into what it looks like to experience from our relationship everything God intended, and to get out of our relationships everything God intended, and to give in our relationships everything God intended. And so for the next few weeks, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna lean into what I call the surprising secret to every relationship ever. God actually has a secret that he wants to communicate to you that will transform any and every relationship that you have. It will transform your marriage relationships, your dating relationships, your friendships, your relationships with your co-workers, with your neighbors, with your boss, with your employees, with absolutely every…there’s literally no relationship that this secret cannot transform if we understand it and put it into practice in our lives, okay? It’s the surprising secret to every relationship ever.

And I’m not gonna make you wait through the entire series to figure out what it is. I’m gonna share it with you right up front today. So if you wanna know the surprising secret to every relationship out there, why don’t you go ahead and grab a Bible, start making your way to the Book of Ephesians. We’re gonna be in Ephesians 5 today. And while you’re doing that, let me just say this. Here’s what you need to know about the Book of Ephesians. It was written by a follower of Jesus, a man named Paul, to a group of Christians, a group of followers of Jesus in a city called Ephesus, who were experiencing some very difficult circumstances, very different from our own. They were experiencing the difficult circumstance of persecution because of their faith, as opposed to our quarantine situation or the coronavirus fears. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter what kind of difficult circumstances, all difficult circumstances do the same thing. They put additional strain in our relationships, but that also reveals those places that we need to shore up our relationships, okay?

And so Paul, writing to a group of people who were in difficult circumstances, needed to shore up their relationships, he gives them this secret to every relationship ever. He says this, this is Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. That’s it. That is God’s surprising secret to every relationship ever. And I know some of you are probably going, “Are you kidding?” That can’t be it, right? There’s gotta be more to it than that. Submit to one another? Because that’s crazy. Honestly, that’s crazy talk. I mean, if you knew my boss, you would not be asking me to submit to him. If you knew my husband or wife, you would not be asking me to submit to them. If you knew my kids. And what does that even look like? What does that even mean? How would you submit to your kids? Does that mean we have ice cream for breakfast every morning? What are you talking about “submit to one another?” And listen, if that’s how you respond to that, I just wanna acknowledge that I feel that, too. I’ve actually read this passage probably hundreds of times in my life as a follower of Jesus, and every single time that I read that, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” every time I read that, there’s a part in me that goes, “No, that can’t be right. That has to be messed up.” And if you’re having that same response, then I get that because I’m in the same place.

But here’s what I want you to understand. Probably two things that we need to recognize, come to grips with, two things that make us very hard to receive this truth in the way that God intends it or to put it into our lives in the way God intends it. Two things that make it hard to receive this as the secret to every relationship ever. The first one is this. Sin and submission are like oil and water. Sin and submission are like oil and water. They just don’t mix. They actively repel each other, okay? And the reason for that is pretty simple. It’s because sin, by its very nature, is anti-submission. In fact, you might…could make the argument that sin is almost, by definition, it is the act of not submitting, right? Because sin is our refusal to submit to God. God’s the one who decides what is right and wrong, what is good and what is true. And he decides really what our lives are supposed to look like when they’re living or when they’re being lived in the way that they’re supposed to be lived. But sin, by its very nature, says, “Hey God, I appreciate the life and everything, but I think I’ll take it from here. I think from now on I’ll call the shots. I think from now on I’ll decide for myself what is right and what is wrong, what’s good for me and what’s bad for me. I’ll make the decisions from here on out.” And that’s the opposite of submitting to God. And so sin, by its very nature, is the opposite of submission. And the problem is we’re all sinful. We all have sin.

Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I love this. In one of his letters to the churches, the Apostle John, who was a follower of Jesus directly, he was there throughout Jesus’s life, right? He should have been a really holy person, we’d like to think, and yet he said this. He said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” And the truth is not in us. Even the Apostle John, one of the closest companions of Jesus, said, “Yeah, if we say we don’t have sin, we’re kidding ourselves. We’ve all got it. We’re all sinful.” And what that means is that we all have something in us that is working against us when it comes to understanding what submission is supposed to look like, and what God means when he says to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We’ve got something in us that’s working against us and understanding that.

Second reason I think that we always struggle to accept that this is the secret to every relationship ever is simply this. It’s that we don’t know what submitting to one another is supposed to look like. We don’t know what submitting to one another is supposed to look like. We’ve got a lot of messed up ideas about what is submission. We’ve had people call things that had nothing to do with submission as God defines it, had nothing to do with submission. They’ve called it submission and we’ve gotten that idea, well, that must be submission, and it’s not. We’ve seen people use a call to submit to them as an excuse to abuse their power over us or over others. And so that’s kinda messed us up. But the point is that the world has not given us a very good picture of what it looks like to submit to one another. And so really, before we can take a hold of this truth, one of the things we have to do is we have to get free of some of the myths of submission. So let me just cover five myths of submission. My guess is that one or more of these are ones that you struggle with. And we wanna identify them and then we wanna sort of deal with them and then we wanna kind of set them aside so we can move forward in what God actually means by it.

So here’s myth number one. Myth number one is this. It’s that submission is a one-way street, submission is a one-way street. That’s the way we naturally think about submission, right? Is that it goes from person who was under someone’s authority to the person who has that authority over them, right? So it goes from the kid to the parent. It goes from, you know, the employee to the employer. It goes from the citizen to the government. It goes from the one who has authority over them to the one who has that authority. It goes from the one who has somebody in authority over them to that person who has that authority, right? It’s a one-way street.

But did you notice what Paul said here at the church at Ephesus? 5:21 in Ephesians again, he says this, he says, “Submit to one another, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” He’s not picturing a one-way street. He’s actually picturing a two-way street. And I know that might seem strange. You’re going, “Oh, wait a minute. So you’re saying not only do kids submit to parents, but parents are supposed to submit to kids?” Yeah. Yeah, I really believe because God’s Word teaches it and because I’ve experienced the power of it in my life and in my relationships that as a father, I’m actually supposed to submit to my daughters. But, and this is really key, submitting to one another looks different depending on our role in the relationship. Submitting to one another looks different depending on our role in the relationship. And so what it looks like for me to submit to my daughters does not have much to do at all with what it looks like for them to submit to me. What it looks like for me to submit to the governing authorities is different than what it looks like for the governing authorities to submit to me. But God always intended it to be a two-way street. It just plays out differently depending on our relationships.

Now, we’re gonna unpack this in a lot more depth over the next few weeks because what we’re gonna see, as Paul continues here, is that he takes a whole bunch of relationships that we can all relate to, and he starts with the one who was kind of under someone’s authority, and he says, “You’re supposed to submit to the one who has that authority over you.” And we kind of all expect that. But then he flips it around and he says, “And to the one who has the authority over that person, they’re supposed to submit.” And he talks about what that looks like to the one who had or who was under their authority. He flips it around. Okay? And so he says, “You’re supposed to submit to one another,” but it looks different for different roles in the relationship. And again, we’re gonna unpack that. But for now, you just got to get rid of this notion that submission is a one-way street. It was never intended to be that way. It’s always intended to be a two-way street. It’s just gonna look a little bit different. And we’re gonna unpack what that looks like in specific relationships. So make sure you don’t miss joining us for the next few weeks.

Here’s myth number two that we need to kind of get rid of if we’re gonna understand God’s secret to every relationship ever, and it’s this, that submission is all about giving in, right? That’s the way we naturally think. Submission is all about giving in. It’s about letting somebody else have their way, right? And so if I, as a parent, if I submit to, you know, my kids, that means we’re gonna have ice cream for breakfast every single morning, right? Or if I submit to my wife, that means I never get to see another car chase and we watch the Hallmark Channel exclusively. And I need my laugh track again, right? Yeah. That’s not biblical submission. It doesn’t always mean giving in.

Here’s what we need to try to understand is that biblically, from God’s perspective, submission isn’t about giving in, submission is about setting aside my agenda to pursue God’s purpose for that relationship. That’s what submission is about. It’s about setting aside my personal agenda in that relationship in order to pursue God’s relationship in that and for that relationship, God’s agenda in that for that relationship, right? That’s what it’s all about. And did you know that God has a purpose for every one of your relationships? He does, every single one of them, the easy ones, the really hard ones, right? He has a purpose for every relationship.

I love what the Book of Proverbs says. One of my favorite statements. It says, this is Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In other words, God wants to use your relationships to make you into everything he designed you to be. He wants to get rid of the stuff that has nothing to do with the person who designed you to be, and he wants to bring out all those things that are in there, sometimes buried under the crud and the junk, so that you can shine as the man or the woman of God that he created you to be. God wants to use your relationships to sharpen you. He has a purpose for every one of those relationships. And submission isn’t about giving in to the other person, although it might involve that at times. That’s just not what it’s all about. It’s not about giving in, it’s about setting aside my agenda in the relationship in order to pursue God’s purpose for that relationship. Again, we’ll talk in a lot more depth over the coming weeks about what that looks like in specific relationships, but for now, just set that myth aside that it’s all about giving in because it’s not.

Third myth is this. It’s the myth that I can’t submit to someone I don’t respect, right? I think one of the reasons a lot of us struggle with the idea of submission is because the people that we naturally understand that we’re supposed to submit to, whether it’s a boss or a parent or a governing official or somebody like that, where we look at those people and we go, “I don’t respect them. I don’t respect the decisions they make. I don’t respect the choices that they’re making. I don’t respect their politics or their ways of thinking about things. I don’t respect their attitude.” There’s so many different ways, we go, “I don’t respect them.” We have this idea that I can’t submit to somebody that I don’t respect.

But if you go back to Ephesians 5:21, there’s a really important statement there. He says, “Submit to one another.” And he does not say, “Submit to one another out of respect for the other person.” That’s not what he says. What does he say? Says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Out of respect for Jesus is what he says. That’s what drives our willingness to submit to one another. Not our respect for the other people, but our respect for Jesus. Listen, this is so, so important to understand, Jesus doesn’t call us to submit ourselves to others because we respect them, but because we respect him. It’s because we respect him. And if you think about it, why wouldn’t we respect him? He sacrificed himself for us. He gave up his own life, he shed his blood so that we could be free of our sin. When we were living in a rebellion against him, he came and did that for us. And in a very real sense, biblically speaking, what he did was he submitted to us for our salvation and for our transformation. And that’s what drives our willingness to submit to one another. Not our respect for them, but our respect for Jesus. Jesus didn’t call us to submit to one another out of respect for them, but out of respect for him.

Myth number four, submission means becoming a doormat. I think a lot of us have this idea that if I do submit to somebody, what I’m doing is I’m inviting them to walk all over me, to abuse me, to mistreat me. And I realize that some of that’s driven by the fact that we’ve seen that happen. And I understand that. I wanna acknowledge that. But you need to understand that when God talks about submitting to one another, he doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to just lay down and take all kinds of endless abuse. In fact, God calls us to speak up against abuses of power. That’s especially true when we’re speaking up for those who can’t speak up for themselves, for the powerless and the oppressed, but it’s also true for us. It’s also true when we’re being abused by somebody else’s misuse of their power. In fact, Jesus said this, this is Luke 17:3, he said, “If your brother or your sister sins against you, rebuke them. And if they repent, forgive them.” Right? He says if they sin against you, if they mistreat you, if they hurt you, if they abuse you, you’re not supposed to just always lay down and take it, but he says, challenge them on it, rebuke them. Call them on it. Tell them, “What you’re doing is wrong.” And so we’re not being called when we’re called to submit to one another. We’re not being called to just become doormats and just let everybody walk all over us. There’s a complexity to it. We’re gonna unpack some more of that over the next few weeks. But it’s important that you recognize that you’re not being called to be a doormat, that there’s a lot more to it than that. Okay?

Myth number five is that submission means losing power in our relationships. It means losing power. I think a lot of us believe that, that if I submit to someone, then they automatically get a lot more power over me. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. In fact, let me tell you a surprising truth about submission. You might find this hard to believe, but I promise you both from God’s Word and from my own experience that it’s absolutely true. Here’s what I need you to understand. Submitting to one another doesn’t mean losing power in our relationships, it means gaining power for our relationships. Submitting to one another, as Paul calls us to do, doesn’t mean losing power in our relationships, it actually means gaining power for our relationships and for our individual lives as well. Why is that? Well, let me tell you a couple things. The first one is this. That’s true because submitting to one another breaks down barriers, submitting to one another breaks down barriers.

See, the problem in our relationship so often is we find ourselves butting heads and we’re just kind of leaning against each other and pushing and no grounds being gained. And we feel like, well, but if I let off, then, you know, we are gonna go his direction or we’re gonna go her direction. And that’s the way we naturally think about it. But the reality is that what we do when we stop asserting our agenda is we’re actually beginning to take apart the barrier that we’re building as we’re pushing against each other. Every time we come into conflict, we’re pushing against each other. We’re actually building a barrier between us. And submitting to one another actually begins to dismantle that barrier. It breaks down that barrier.

There’s absolutely no better example of that than Jesus himself. This is such an incredible truth. This is something that actually Paul says in the Book of Ephesians a little bit earlier than what we’ve looked at so far. We’re looking at 5:21 but let’s back up to Ephesians 5:2. Listen to this. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love,” listen to this, “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.” It’s an incredible statement, right? He says we’re supposed to follow Jesus’s example. And what did he do? He gave himself up for us. He set aside his agenda in the relationship in order to pursue God’s. When he was in the garden, he was thinking about what the cross was gonna mean. He was thinking about how painful it was gonna be to be our sacrifice. And he actually pleaded with God. He said, “It’s possible, take this cup away from me.” That was kind of his agenda in that moment as he was contemplating the suffering he was about to go through. But he ultimately said, “But not my will, but yours be done.” He set aside his preferences. He set aside his natural human agendas in that moment in order to pursue God’s purposes for his relationship with us. Right? He gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. And because of that, listen to this, this is what the Apostle John says. This is 1 John 4:19, “We love God and others because he first loved us.” We love because he first loved us.

In other words, Jesus’s sacrifice for us broke down the barrier between us and God. And actually, it breaks down the barrier between us and others as well. And that’s what I mean when I say that submitting to one another actually breaks down barriers. It begins to get us moving together rather than just in opposition to one another. I’ve seen this so often in my relationships with my wife, with my kids. We have this place where, you know, we find ourselves just in conflict, and we just can’t seem to get past it. And sometimes you sit there and maybe you know what this is like, you sit there and you’re just like, “I don’t know what we’re gonna do.” Maybe you’ve said that. I’ve said that before, “I don’t know where to go from here.” And the only thing that’s ever changed it is that one of the people, and I wish I could say it was always me, but it hasn’t always been, sometimes it’s been my wife and sometimes it’s been my daughters, but sometimes it’s been me, but somebody eventually has to go, “You know what? It’s more important that we be right with each other than it is that I be right. Our relationship is more important than getting my way or getting my agenda.” In other words, somebody basically says at some point this incredibly powerful phrase that I’ve tried to keep at the forefront of my mind as I find myself going into conflict. This is the phrase, “My need to be right isn’t as important as my need to be right with you.” Does that make sense, Church? Such a powerful thing to begin to try to pursue in our relationships. My need to be right isn’t as important as my need to be right with you.

And that’s why I say that submitting to one another, setting aside our agenda actually allows us to break down barriers and begin moving forward together. That’s one of the reasons why it is that submitting to one another actually gains us power for our relationships. But there’s another reason, and it’s unbelievable to me. This is the other reason. Submitting to one another invites God’s power into our relationships. Submitting to one another invites God’s power into our relationships. It doesn’t just break down the barriers so that we can move forward under our own power again, it actually invites divine supernatural power, the power of Almighty God into our relationships.

Why does it do that? Well, to understand that, we need to understand that what Paul says here in 5:21, he says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” it isn’t actually a command, it’s actually an explanation for how we follow another command. In this section of Ephesians, there’s actually only one command. And it starts all the way back in 5:18, and this is the command, “Be filled with the Spirit” He says, “Be filled with the Spirit” and the Spirit there is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, the very person, presence, and power of God in our lives and our relationships. And he says, “I want you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I want the Holy Spirit to be so present in your life that you’re filled up to overflowing with his power.” He says, “Do it. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

And you might go, “Well, how on earth do I do that? How on earth do I cause God to fill me up?” Well, Paul goes on then and he actually gives five ways that we do that. Five ways that we invite God’s presence to fill us up. Now, as you may know, or maybe you don’t, the Bible wasn’t originally written in English. It was originally, this part at least was originally written in Greek. And in the Greek, the next several things that follow are clearly not commands, but a lot of times in the English, they come across as commands. But the more literal way to translate them would be “by doing this thing.” He says, “Be filled with the Spirit,” that’s a command, “By doing this thing.” And this is the five things he says. He says, “Be filled with the Spirit by speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” He says, “That’s the way you do it. That’s how you be filled with the Spirit. You speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”

And you might go, “What are you talking about? We’re supposed to talk to each other using only lyrics from worship songs?” No. Well, what Paul is doing is actually, he’s making a poetic point. He is talking about worship songs here, but what he’s doing is kind of poetically saying that we’re supposed to think of our relationships with each other and the conversations we have with each other and the way that we talk to each other, we’re supposed to think of that as an act of worship. And so what he says is this. He says, “When you think about your relationships as an act of worship, you’re actually inviting the presence of God.” So he says, “We invite the presence of God by seeing our relationships as an act of worship.” Okay? That’s the first way we be filled with the Spirit, by seeing our relationships as an act of worship.

Second thing he says is, “Be filled with the Spirit by singing and making music from your heart to the Lord.” Those are actual worship songs. And what he’s saying here is basically this, is that we invite the presence of God by worshiping him. And we see that throughout the Bible. Back in the Psalms, we’re told a couple different times that then he inhabits the praises of his people. And when we make a habit of worship, we’re making a habit of consistently making room for God to come in. And we’re inviting him into our lives and into our relationships. And so we invite the presence of God by worshiping him.

And then he says, “Be filled with the Spirit by always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because being thankful actually invites the presence of God, right? He says that we invite the presence of God by being thankful at all times. And, you know, if I can just lean in for just a moment, right now, you might find yourself in a place where it’s really easy to focus on things that you’re not thankful for, but we actually push away the presence of God in our homes, in our lives and in our relationships when we fail to be thankful for the things that we can and should be thankful for. So I wanna encourage you, lean into this truth that we invite the presence of God by being thankful at all times.

And then finally he says, the one we’ve been looking at, he says, “And be filled with the Spirit by submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It’s the fifth way. He says that we invite the presence of God by submitting to one another. And I could make the argument that this is just one of five things, but I actually think the truth is, this is actually the most important of the five things. There’s a couple of reasons that I say that. Number one is that the act of submitting to one another is actually practice for reversing the power of sin in our lives. Because remember, the power of sin, the essence of sin is a refusal to submit to God. And so when we’re submitting to one another, we’re actually choosing to practice in everyday life the very opposite of what our sin has done. And so we kind of set the stage for us submitting to God.

The other reason I say this might be the most important of the five, though, is that it’s the only one of the five that Paul goes into great detail about. And over the next several weeks, we’re gonna see him go into very intricate, deep, specific detail about what it looks like to submit to one another in our marriages and in our parenting and family relationships, in our work relationships. He unpacks it in a lot of depth because there’s tremendous power in this. That the truth of the matter is this, that submitting to one another invites God’s power into our relationships and our lives. More than everything else today, I hope that’s what you grab a hold of. It’s a hard truth, but it’s an incredibly powerful and important one, submitting to one another invites the presence and the power of God into our relationships and our lives.

I was thinking about that this week, and I was thinking about what happens when the power of God comes into my relationship. And I was remembering a verse. It’s from an Old Testament Book called Ecclesiastes. One of my favorite verses, actually, in the whole Bible, it says this, this is Ecclesiastes 4:12, it says, “A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The cord of three strands is not quickly broken. And I was thinking about that. You know, the idea is that, you know, by ourselves, we’re just a strand. And by ourselves, we find ourselves in difficult circumstances or any number of things, and honestly, pretty easy to break. Same thing is true for a two-person relationship. You put two strands together, doesn’t matter how tightly wound you are, the reality is with enough effort, we’re broken. But three strands, you put three strands together, in other words, it’s you, it’s the person you’re in relationship with, and it’s God who you’ve invited into that relationship by being willing to submit to one another, by putting God’s agenda ahead of your own in that relationship, those three, the power of God together with us.

And I’m not even faking it. Maybe I need to work out more. This is not gonna happen. The cord of three strands is not easily broken. That’s what happens when we invite the power and the presence of God into our relationships, into our lives. And one of ways we do that is by grabbing hold of this surprising secret to every relationship ever, that we submit to one another. Got a lot of work to do to figure out what that looks like, got a lot of work to figure out how we go about doing that in all of our different relationships. So I really wanna encourage you to join us for the next several weeks as we unpack that. But that’s the secret. That is the surprising secret to every relationship ever, submit to one another out of reverence, out of respect for Christ.

Let me give you just a couple questions this week to think about, three questions actually. Question number one, which of these myths that we’ve talked about do I most struggle with? Chances are one of those five is something that’s getting in the way of you submitting to one another, following his command to submit to one another, and thereby inviting his presence into your relationships and into your life. So I think it’s helpful to identify that one and just take that one to the Lord and go, “Hey, God, maybe because of what I’ve seen or what I’ve been told, I really struggle with this particular myth. Would you begin to teach me the truth? Would you begin to set me free from this lie so that as my mind is set free to think more biblically about what submission is supposed to be, that I have the freedom to actually practice that?” Okay? So what’s the one myth that you struggle with the most? Or maybe it’s two or three, but identify that, submit that to the Lord and ask for his help in changing.

Second question is this, what relationship in my life most needs the presence of God? All of them do, okay? That’s a given. All of our relationships need the presence of God, but some of them need the presence of God a little bit more than others, right? Right now maybe in this situation with the coronavirus and the quarantine, maybe there’s one relationship in particular that you’re really worried about. I wanna encourage you to identify that one relationship where you most need the power of God and then recognize the truth that one of the most important ways that we invite the power of God into our relationship is actually by choosing to submit to one another. It might be a difficult truth, but I think when we identify the relationship that most needs it and we invite God to show us what it looks like to begin submitting ourselves to one another, you’re gonna find that it becomes clear what it looks like to move forward in that relationship with God’s power at your back.

Question number three is this, what area of my life am I most struggling to submit to God? Because the reality is the power of God is available only so long as we submit to him as God. Okay? When we insist on doing life our own way, when we refuse to acknowledge God’s authority over us, when we continue to choose our own path, to set our own course, to decide for ourselves what’s right and wrong and all that stuff, when we refuse to submit to the power of God, whether it’s in all of our lives or just one area of our lives, we’re not gonna experience the power of God. And so if you’re a believer, I wanna encourage you to spend some time reflecting this week on what area of my life am I not submitting to what I know God wants? I encourage you to identify that area, confess it to him, ask for forgiveness and know that, as his Word tells us, he is faithful and just to do so.

But you know, maybe you’re not a follower of Jesus. And maybe the reality is, it’s not one area of your life. Maybe in all honesty, you’re like, “Yeah, I’ve never given my life to Jesus. I’ve never submitted his authority over me. I’m that person who’s living on his own.” But maybe at this moment, you’re recognizing the need that you have for the power of God in your life. Maybe you’re recognizing that living on your own right now, it’s not playing out the way that you hoped it would. It never does. It cannot ever play out the way that we hope it will and we think it will.

So I’m gonna pray for all of us right now to take hold of this truth, but if you’re not a follower of Jesus, I wanna ask you to just right now start considering the question, is today the day that I need to submit myself to God? And I’ll give you an opportunity in just a moment to do that. But wherever you are, would you just all close your eyes and bow your heads and join me?

God, I wanna thank you for a promise that you’re giving us here. A promise that no matter what struggles we’re having in our relationships, there is a solution, that there is hope, that there is the possibility of a future where the relationship gets easier. It gets better. It becomes more joyful, more peaceful, more hopeful, more all those things that you want. And we thank you for that promise that’s available to us. And we thank you for the simplicity of what we have to do to take hold of that promise, that we are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We thank you for the simplicity of that truth, but Lord we just acknowledge that there’s a lot in us that works against us when it comes to understanding and applying that truth. So we ask that you would move in our lives right now and you’d move in our lives over the course of the series to allow us to take hold of this truth and its power, your power in our lives.


And if you’re a follower of Jesus, would you do something for me? Would you just begin praying for all the people watching from all over the world that don’t have that relationship with Jesus? They don’t have God’s power in their lives at all. Would you pray that right now God would meet with them wherever they are and speak love to them and hope to them and peace to them. And if you’re not a follower of Jesus, let me just speak to you for a moment. My hope and my prayer has been that in this moment, as we’ve been talking about the possibility we can have the power of God in our lives to transform our relationships, you’ve realized at this moment that you don’t have that power in your life because you don’t have a relationship with that God, but you can. Please understand this, God loves you. He loves you so much. It’s his love for you that caused him to send his own Son Jesus. And it was Jesus’s love for you, the Son of God’s love for you that caused him to give himself up for us to die on the cross in order to pay the consequence of every wrong we’ve ever done, to purchase forgiveness for our sins by his blood. And as we just celebrated this last week, three days later, he rose from the dead to prove that his sacrifice had been accepted, that our sin was paid for, that forgiveness was ours for the taking if we will only submit ourselves to Jesus.

And if you’ve never done that but you’re ready to do that, here’s how you do it. Just have this conversation right now in your heart. You’re gonna say this to Jesus:

Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to die for me. I know that I needed it. I know that I’ve done wrong. I know I have sinned. I’ve tried to do life on my own. And I know it’s not working out. So Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I believe that you rose from the dead, and I understand that you’re offering me forgiveness, freedom from guilt and shame. You’re offering me hope. You’re offering me eternal life, a relationship with you and the power of God in my life and in my relationships. And I need that. And I realize the first step is submitting my life to yours, to you. So, Jesus, I’m saying yes to you. Come into my life. Take your seat on the throne of my life. You’re the only one who belongs there. I put my faith in you. I’m yours for now and forever. Amen.

Comment
Security Code:*
reload, if the code cannot be seen