Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Discipleship

Can I Do This?

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Friendship Lesson 6:

Yes you can! You may think this friendship stuff is too much and say, hey, I cannot do that; I will be embarrassed! Perhaps you will, especially if you are not used to it, so take it slowly. Look at the...

Lesson 6: Can I Do This?


Understanding and Developing Healthy Biblical Friendships

 

 

Read Ephesians 5:1-2, 14; 1 John 4:16-19

              

Yes you can! You may think this friendship stuff is too much and say, hey, I cannot do that; I will be embarrassed! Perhaps you will, especially if you are not used to it, so take it slowly. Look at the importance of praising people; maybe you have never done this, or feel very awkward at it. Start off by praising people for the things they have done. Then, start to praise them for whom they are. Then, start to praise them for being special in your life. The more you do it, the more you will be comfortable with it. It may take time because your habits and mindsets will have to readjust. Your hurts and resentments will have to be held back and risks be placed forward.
 
Yes, you may get hurt. If you have never been hurt, then you have never ventured far in a relationship. Remember, relationships are dangerous to our self-concept and feelings. The self-concept and feelings of others may collide with ours. As with any collision, anything could occur, from a ?dent? to being ?totaled.? Just remember, our Lord owns the body and repair shop! You have to take yourself in through prayer, devotions, fellowship, and service to Him to get your dents pulled out, so to speak. If you do not go to the Lord, the dents will remain, and rust will cause even more damage. Crashes can turn a ding into a breakdown!
 

Our natural tendency is to criticize and put others down. We normally do this to make us feel better about ourselves. Yes, there are times when we are to correct someone, such as a parent to a child, a boss to a worker, or a pastor to a parishioner. We, as humans, like to put the dents in others; some of us make it a sport as in, whom and how many can I hit today? But, as a Christian, our call is higher. We may still hurt others by our convictions and opinions or our personality, and that is OK, as long as we are being and acting in good character. Many people just do not like to be liked; some do not know how to handle a compliment, and others may detest you because you represent Christ here on earth. The point is, we are not to be intentional aggressors, causing dents in people; we are rather to be the detailers of others. The detailer is the person who washes and waxes, who buffs the shine in others, and who brings out the best in others by example and love. They will know we are Christians by our…LOVE!

 

He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. John 8:47

 

Now remember; no one likes a pretentious praiser like the Eddie Haskell types of the world (the "Leave it to Beaver" neighbor) who goes around praising everyone and everything to achieve his own goals. Nor, do you want to manipulate the feelings of others so you can hear praise or receive affection for yourself. Praise must be real and not overused or it will be taken wrongly, even if one is sincere. Otherwise, people will not take you seriously; they will be suspicious of your motives and disregard you. This will cause you to repel friends instead of gather them. So, you need to find the balance of character, your personality, and assess the situation to determine when and how to praise.
 
 There is also the male/female factor; men and women give and respond differently in relationships, especially with praise and feelings. Unsure? Does this sound too complicated? It really is simple. Character, love, being open, affection, listening?it all comes back to you being you and continually operating in those godly characters. Be consistent; that's it! The rest will fall into place as long as you are able to grow and mature in the faith. 
 

Relationships are simple on the surface, and the ingredients needed to keep them functioning are simple, too. Relationships are also tough-stuff, because, as they are places in which to love, they are also places in which to be hurt. You will not be perfect; you will fail at times and others will fail you. But, be willing and able to get back up! Keep your eyes on the most important relationship you have, which is with Christ as Lord. Allow your growth and maturity in Him to be the template to fuel your steadfastness, consistency, and character. We have to keep trying even when we get knocked down! It may not seem worth it at times, but it is worth it! It is what life is about, and it is what you will take with you into eternity!

 

How to Discover my Friendship Factor

 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

 

Here is how you can find out if you are effective at building and making friends. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Friendship from God's most precious Word by examining these passages. Now ask yourself:

 

How are my friendships?

 

1.      How do I define being friendly? Does it line up with what God says?

2.      Do I like to be friendly? Why, or why not?

3.      How do I exhibit friendship in my daily life?

4.      What causes me to want to be friendly with someone?

5.      What causes me not to be friendly, or to be bitter with someone?

6.      What are my motives in being friendly with someone?personal gain, to get something, or love for others?

7.      How do my feelings, mood, my day, or my attitude affect how I treat others?

8.      How does being bitter counteract friendship? What happens to my relationship with God and with others when I am bitter?

9.      Have hurt and rejection in the past affected the way I am with others now?

10. Do I have at least one close friend whom I can call anytime I am in need, and who will be there for me?

11. Have I been friendly with someone when I should not have been?

12. What are the things I judge someone by to see if they are worthy to be my friend? How do my standards reflect God's standards? What needs to change in my outlook and standards?

13. Am I the kind of friend to someone who will be there for him or her, no matter what?

14. Do I have a circle of people with whom I share my life?

15. Do I socialize with a vast multitude of people, but have no real, close friendships?

16. When have I been filled with friendship the most? Why?

17. What can I do to develop a better attitude of friendship?

18. What blocks or inhibits friendship and relationship building from happening in my life?

19. In what situation did I fail to be friendly when I should have been? Why?

20. Do I allow God's hand on me to help me develop the skill and willingness to be a friendlier person? If not, why not?

21. Is there someone with whom God wants me to seek a friendship, and I have not done so?

22. What issue is in my life that would improve by my being friendlier?

23. What do I need to work on to be a friendlier person?

24. How can I make my friendships function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?

25. Think through the steps needed to put friendship into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I prevent bitterness from taking root in me? How do my moods affect my friendliness factor? How can I build more and stronger interpersonal relationships?

 

 

Discussion Questions:

 

1.      How have others criticized and put you down? How did you feel? How have you criticized and put others down? What can you do about it?

 

2.      How have you developed bad habits in making friendships? How can your improve?

 

Go though each of these 25 points on friendship factor. Ask yourself or your group,

 

a.      Is this me now? How so?

b.      What block me from doing this?

c.      How can I do this better?

 

Remember:

 

1        We did not come into this world equipped to be good and build quality relationships, so we have to learn the skills!

2        Be the person who listens with love, initiative, appreciation, kindness, and character!

3        See friendships as opportunities, responsibilities, and enjoyment?given to us to use!

4        We have to want to be good at relationships to be good at them!

5        Sharing the Gospel is more about who you are than what you say! 

  

 

Scriptures to help you with:

 

1        Communication: Proverbs 15:28; 16:32; 18:13; 25:28; 29:20; Luke 8:18; Romans 5:5; 12:10; Ephesians 4:15,25-27; Colossians 3:13, 19; 4:6; Hebrews 3:7,15; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; James 1:19; 1 John 3:16

 

2        Emotions: Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 12:21; Ephesians 4:31-32; Philippians 2:1-4; James 1:2-8

 

3.   Pride: Proverbs 3:7; Matthew 23; Luke 6; Philippians 1:2-8

 

4        Improving Personality: Matthew 4:18-20; 5:22,37; 12: 33-37; 15:1-20; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4; 1Timothy 1:10; James 3:6; Revelation 21:8

 

5        Being Good: Romans 6:5-8; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:5-17

 

6        Rotten Fruits: 1 Samuel 25:9-13; 2 Samuel 10:1-5; Luke 9:51-56; John 1:11; Galatians 5:19-22; James 2:1-6

 

7        Friendship Factor: Genesis 18:1-8; John 3:16-17; 8:47; 13:34-35; 15:13-17; James 1:19-25; 1 John 4:7-19; 3 John 1:2-4

 

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:19-25

  

 

This Bible Study series is a prelude to Richard's new book coming out in the Fall: The Field Guide to Healthy Relationships, Discovering and Applying Biblical Precepts to the Building of Lasting, Quality Relationships, Including Marriage and How to Find the Person Who is Right for You! By Richard Joseph Krejcir, Ph.D. The Field Guide to Healthy Relationships

 

 

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org 

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