Holistic part 5
How Does Faith Affect My Relationships
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
October 10, 2010
Holistic. If something is holistic, it is all-encompassing. It affects every area of life.
the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about having a holistic
faith—one that is not just reserved for Sunday morning but on that is
evident in our lives everyday and in every way.
we’ve already talked about how a holistic faith affects our schedules.
It means we’re going to make it a priority to be here on Sundays to
honour and worship Him, but it also means that we’re going to spend
time with Him daily in prayer and reading His Word. And even beyond
that, we’re going to spend the rest of our time in ways that will be
pleasing to Him and not embarrassing or degrading to Him.
also talked about how a holistic faith affects the way we manage money.
If you are a Christ-follower, then you acknowledge that everything we
have comes from God and rightfully belongs to Him. And so we’re going
to manage it in the ways He has asked us to. That means we’re going to
pay attention when He asks us to give Him back 10% of what we earn.
call this a tithe, which means a tenth, and we give it through the
Church in obedience and worship of God. And we do that for two primary
reasons: because we love Jesus, and because we believe in the mission
of the church. It’s not about meeting a budget; it’s about loving God
and supporting His ministry. And so as we give to Him, we saying that
we trust God to provide for our needs and that He is even more
important to us than our finances, instead of the other way around.
even beyond giving to God by tithing, we’re going to be financially
responsible in other areas, too. The Bible has more to say about money
than pretty much any other topic, and it’s packed full of wisdom for
how to manage finances. It talks about being debt-free, about not
wasting on destructive habits or on gambling, it talk about budgeting
and planning ahead, about putting some aside for retirement or for
rainy days, about earning a living through honest work, and about
investing wisely and earning interest. You’d be surprised at just how
much good advice the Bible has for you in the area of money.
also talked about the dangers of becoming obsessed with money, and how
our heart follows our treasure. We don’t invest in what we care about;
we care about what we invest in. So put your money where you want your
heart to be. If you want to grow spiritually, then put God first in
your finances and your heart will follow. If you want to care about
other people and be known as a generous person, then don’t wait for the
feeling of generosity; start being generous and the feelings will
Today, we’re going to move on and talk about how a
holistic faith affects your relationships. We’re going to talk about
three different areas of relationships that we have, and we’re going to
have to move quickly to get through them. So let’s get going…
A Holistic Faith Will Be Evident In Your Relationships With…
1. Your Family
How does your faith impact your family relationships? With your spouse…
with your kids… even with your parents? Let me give you three
principles for building a strong, healthy, God-honouring family. These
are some general principles I’ll be giving you today; we’ll talk about
some more hands-on ideas at another time. But the first priniciple is
• Prioritize the Word of God within the context of your family.
like the Bible has a lot to say about money, it has a lot to say about
marriage, about raising children, about the struggles families face,
about reconciling broken relationships, about treating each other with
dignity and respect… The apostle Paul wrote a lot about loving and
respecting each other, about sacrificially giving of yourself for your
family, about spouses being mutually submissive and deferential to each
other… So as a family, look to the Bible and draw from it wisdom and
guidance that can enhance and enrich your family relationships.
suggestion I would make to you is this: Spend time with your spouse or
with your family reading the Bible and talking about how it applies to
your family. You can even get what are called family devotional books
which have a short reading everyday to go along with a passage from the
Bible. Just go down to Maritime Christian Bookstore on Hillsborough
Street and ask to see their family devotional books.
Nate, at two years old, is already carrying around a Bible picture book
of his own, and he’ll bring it to us for us to read to him. And he’s
got a bunch of other Bible story books that we read with him, too. And
then we pray with him before every meal and then again at bedtime.
Deuteronomy 32:45-47 (NLT)
Moses had finished reciting all these words to the people of Israel, he
added: “Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today.
Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word
of these instructions. These instructions are not empty words—they are
your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you
will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.”
• Make the spiritual growth of your family a priority.
let me ask you this: what do you communicate to your children through
the way you spend your time and manage your money? Do they see that God
is important to you, of does He just fit into your life when it’s
convenient? When the busyness of life presses in, does God get pushed
out? Or how about your speech? When tempers get short, do you strike
out at each other? Do you say hurtful and destructive words? Or even
those outside of the home… do you gossip about them, and backbite, and
slander them? Or do you build them up? Part of growing spiritually
means learning to control your tongue. So what does your language
communicate about the role God plays in your life and in your family?
need to make the spiritual growth of your family a priority, which
means you need to be part of a community of believers on a regular
basis and you need to be an example for your children. Even for your
spouse, you need to show them that honouring God and growing to
spiritual maturity is important to you.
What Paul wrote in Titus chapter two was not necessarily about setting an example for your children, but I think it applies…
Titus 2:7-8 (NLT)
you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every
kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of
your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
• Include God in your family decisions.
a new job, moving to a new city, putting the kids in a new school,
choosing between private school and public school… there are all kinds
of decisions that families have to make; sometimes they’re big
decisions and other times they’re relatively minor. Sometimes they’re
easy, and sometimes they’re more difficult.
In my family, we
have to make family decisions all the time… are we going to watch Toy
Story for the 838th time, or are we going to watch Cars for the 237th
Okay, we don’t actually pray about decisions like that,
and I don’t think we need to. God gave us the ability to think and to
investigate and to make informed decisions, so most of the time I think
He just tells us to go for it. I don’t really think He cares if we
watch Buzz and Woody or if we watch Lightning McQueen.
the longer you walk with God and the closer you get to Him and the more
you grow spiritually, the better you will become at sensing His
guidance in your life anyway, in big and small ways.
there are certainly times when you need to gather as a family to make
decisions, and when you do you should involve God in the conversation.
Pray, seek His wisdom, and trust His guidance.
Galatians 5:25 (NLT)
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
you know what makes some decisions so difficult? It’s the unknown. You
don’t know the outcome so you’re not sure what you should decide.
of the joys of living outside of the city in York is that I often find
myself driving behind farm equipment. I think that’s just part of PEI
life. You can be traveling down the highway at 90 km/h when all of a
sudden you’ve got to slow down to a crawl because a tractor has pulled
out on the highway.
Of course, when that happens, what do you
want to do? You want to get around them, right? But the problem with
where we live, and really with all the back-country roads, is that
they’re single lane and there are all kinds of turns and blind hills.
So you can’t always see what’s ahead and what might be coming over the
next hill. Which makes your decision on when to pass just a little bit
But here’s the thing: when you and your family
have major decisions to make, you might not be able to see what’s
around the next turn You might have no clue what’s over that next hill.
But God sees it all with perfect clarity. He loves you and wants to
direct you down the paths in life which will bring you the greatest joy
So include God in those family discussions, pray,
and trust His guidance. Often, I think you’ll find that He still leaves
the decision to you. He trusts your judgment. But He may also prompt
you with gentle nudges. If you are praying and just can’t find peace
about a decision, even if everything looks great but you just feel like
there’s just something wrong, that may be God directing you down a
So pay attention and trust Him. He loves you, He loves your family, He knows all the variables, and He wants the best for you.
2. Your Friendships
• Be Loyal to your friends.
the Old Testament, there’s a famous friendship between David and
Jonathan. One of the reasons their friendship is so famous is because
of the loyalty they had to each other. Jonathan’s father, King Saul,
absolutely hated David. The prophet Samuel had named David as the next
king of Israel, which meant that Saul would lose the throne. So Saul
plotted to do away with David. He was going to kill him. But when
Jonathan found out what his father was planning, he warned David and
David was able to escape.
But think for a moment what this would
cost Jonathan. Jonathan was the oldest son of the king. And you know
what that means; Jonathan was next in line for the throne. But if David
were to become king, that meant Jonathan would not. But their
friendship and their loyalty were strong enough that Jonathan didn’t
care. All he was concerned about was saving the life of his friend,
regardless of what it might cost him personally. Listen to what he told
David when he warned David to go into hiding:
1 Samuel 20:42 (NIV)
said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each
other in the name of the LORD , saying, ‘The LORD is witness between
you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’”
then years later, David was actually able to do that… he was able to
take care of Jonathan’s descendants. Jonathan had a son named
Mephibosheth who had a couple of problems. First, he was names
Mephibosheth. That was a problem. Second, he had been injured as an
infant and was crippled as a result. So when David became king, he took
care of Mephibosheth and assigned servants to watch over him.
means you keep your promise of friendship. Even if it costs you
something personally, even if it’s inconvenient, even if it’s not the
safe or popular thing to do. You keep your promise of friendship.
Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
• Express mutual love and support.
Sing it if you know it:
PLAY SONG - Lean On Me (by Bill Withers)
Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow.
But if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow.
Lean on me, when you're not strong.
I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on,
For it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on.
Please swallow your pride, if have things you need to borrow.
For no one can fill those needs that you won't let show.
You just call on me brother when you need a hand.
We all need somebody to lean on.
I just might have a problem that you'll understand.
We all need somebody to lean on.
If there is a load you have to bear that you can't carry.
I'm right up the road, I'll share your load if you just call me.
Call me ( if you need a friend) Call me
song is a great picture of what friendship is meant to be. We lean on
each other. We need each other. We depend on each other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who
falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close
together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A
person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand
back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided
cord is not easily broken.
• Believe the best in each other.
a strong, healthy friendship, I put a “10” on your forehead and you put
a “10” on mine. (No, not literally.) We believe and expect the best in
each other. We encourage each other to reach for our potential and to
go to the next level.
Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)
Is there any
encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any
fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and
compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with
each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble,
thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for
your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
We spur our friends on when they feel like quitting.
We encourage them when all seems hopeless.
We celebrate with then over their victories and weep with them over their losses.
When our friends do something noble, we praise them in public.
When they do something awful, we correct them in private.
When others attack them, we defend them.
When others forsake them, we stick with them.
When the weight of life tries to crush them, we hold them up and share the load.
And our friends do the same for us.
3. Your Enemies
• Decide you want to love them.
just got to decide. Decide that you’re going to follow the example of
Jesus and learn to love others, even your enemies. You may not get it
right every time, but strive to get better every day. Learn to control
your anger. Learn to show love, not hatred. Learn to overcome
bitterness and contempt and replace it with compassion.
know that you can choose to love? We often treat love like it’s
something you fall into, like whrn you slip on a patch of ice. You’re
not ready for it, you’re not looking for it, but the splat… there you
are flat on your back in love. Or we treat it like it’s something you
catch, just like malaria. Well, maybe not just like malaria, but you
get the point.
But the truth is, love is a decision. You ca choose to love.
Deuteronomy 30:20 (NLT)
“You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God…”
you can choose to love, which means that even when you don’t feel like
loving your enemies, you can still choose to love them anyway.
Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies!”
• Pray for your enemies, not against them.
Mathew 5:44 (NLT)
“Pray for those who persecute you!”
for them, not against them. Don’t pray that God will get even with them
for you, don’t pray that God will destroy them or bring them harm. Pray
for their well-being… Pray for their prosperity… pray for them to be
reconciled to God… pray that you might even play a role in that
I think the reason that Jesus told us to pray for our
enemies is because it’s impossible to pray for them and remain hostile
and bitter toward them.
Remember how we talked about how your
heart follows your money? Well, it’s also true that your compassion
follows your prayers. As you pray for your enemies, those feelings of
animosity and even hatred will melt away and you begin to be filled
with a love and compassion for them instead. That doesn’t mean all the
problems between you automatically disappear, but your perspective of
“Prayer is the forerunner of mercy.”
~ C.H. Spurgeon
• Remember: If they matter to Jesus they matter to me.
have a magnet on my fridge that says that (“If they matter to Jesus
they matter to me.”) We actually gave those magnets away here a couple
years ago, so some of you may have that same magnet on your fridge. So
what does it mean?
Well, the way I see it, if God is God and is
completely holy and just, yet He decides to love me despite all of my
flaws and sinfulness, then I have no right to treat anyone else with
hatred or contempt. If Jesus was willing to go to the cross because of
His great love for me, then by what right can I withhold love from
anyone else? If I declare my enemy to be unlovable, I’m essentially
declaring myself to be more holy than God Himself! If God can love
them, then so can I.
What does Jesus tell us about how God the Father treats His enemies?
Matthew 5:45 (NLT)
“For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”
used to think this verse was telling me that God blesses both the evil
and the good… that’s the sunlight… and He allows bad things to happen
to them, too… that’s the rain. But I’ve come to realize that Jesus was
speaking to an agricultural society. Both the sunlight and the rain are
important. So there’s nothing in what Jesus was saying about bad things
happening… it’s all good. God blesses us, regardless of who we are.
simple truth is, people matter to Jesus. Regardless of how good they
are or how evil they are, they matter to Him. And if they matter to
Jesus they matter to me. “If they matter to Jesus, they matter to me.”
Say it with me…
“If they matter to Jesus, they matter to me.”