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BAC Sermons

Perception and Performance 2: Relationships

2004-04-18 Ephesians 4

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23  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25  Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26  "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27  nor give place to the devil.

29  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice 32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.  5:1  Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

I. Our Habits & Values create Expectations, influencing our Perceptions & Emotions, determining our Performance.

II. Relationships can be based on Bargaining (economic exchange), Bonding (accessibility & responsiveness) or the Bible (love)

A. BAD Relationship Objective: Meet my needs for ___________ through others (validation, fun, security, fulfillment, companionship, etc.)

To never be hurt or vulnerable and to be accepted and supported unconditionally. To please others so they'll like me.

B. BETTER: To develop intimate, transparent, and accountable relationships which model and stimulate Christlikeness

(Marriage and Church) To profitably reflect the unity, wisdom and love of God

C. Barriers to Loving Relationships: Value (self-worth from experience>perception/capacity) and Values (self-centered, worldly)

III. Worth and Value come from a disciple’s daily decision to deny oneself to obediently follow Christ and please God

1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him... 21...we have confidence toward God. 22  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight 23  And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment..24  abides

A. The Result of this daily decision is proactive trust and love, and a consciousness of our need for worth and approval being met by God

B. Failure to live under Christ’s lordship will result in anxiety & using others to prop up a forever fragile self image {Worth Validation}

                (Are you doing everything you know you’re supposed to be doing? James 4:17)

IV. Differences (lack of commonality>>threat) lead to Distance: Values, Perceptions, Expectations/Emotions, Performance

V. Resolve, Remove, and Reduce Sources of Conflict

Song of Solomon 2:15; Ephesians 4:29-32 (cf TOYL Marriage)

Communicate over effect and cause

Clarify expectations>>>Are they Biblical>>Are they covenanted>>Are they God’s will & timing (objective/subjective)?

Out with the excess baggage, erroneous expectations, and self-centered slop

We have to have our expectations/standards met in order to be happy; Valuing our perception/expectation above another’s


No hiding and hurling (Defensive walls, blaming to balance guilt)


Forgive as you've been forgiven (graciously, undeservedly, permanently) {Anger & Bitterness are red flags for Satan Heb 12:15)

Learn your lessons well or you'll repeat them in a living hell

Chose to compromise on what's right and change yourself on what's left (as a gift of love to you the other person)

       Pleasure from pleasing another Phil 2:4  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Transform your filters, values, self-talk and tapes (parental, societal, and other) with the Truth {otherwise, see "L" above}

Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

1. What do you value most in a relationship? Is it possible to have “perfect” relationships? What happens when people change or grow?

2. What factors contribute to stress or distance in our relationships? Which are due to us, which to others, and which are mutual?

3. How do your perceptions and emotions influence your relationships? What’s your response when your expectations aren’t met?

4. How could you be more Christlike in your relationships? What would prevent you from acting differently? Thinking differently?

5. How could you change yourself to change your relationships? What would be the result? How can you start this week?



Secular view of Relationship that leave God out of the picture



Couples seem to have a desperate need to connect emotionally-and a desperate fear of connecting.

There are, of course, many elements to a relationship. It is true that echoes of the past are present in relationships, but this focus does not capture enough of what goes on and ignores the power of present interactions. Couples do also make bargains. But the essence of their connection is not a bargain. It is, rather, a bond.

The bond between two people hinges on two things--their accessibility and responsiveness to each other. The notion that the tie between two people is created through accessibility and responsiveness is an outgrowth of attachment theory. First put forth by the late British psychiatrist John Bowlby 30 years ago and later elaborated both by him and psychologist Mary Ainsworth in America, attachment theory is only now gathering significant momentum. It promises to be one of the most significant psychological ideas put forth in the 20th century. As many researchers are now demonstrating, it is certainly the most viable way of making sense of the mother-infant (and father-infant) bond.

John Bowlby observed that the need for physical closeness between a mother and child serves evolutionary goals; in a dangerous world, a responsive caregiver ensures survival of the infant. Attachment theory states that our primary motivation in life is to be connected with other people--because it is the only security we ever have. Maintaining closeness is a bona fide survival need. Through the consistent and reliable responsiveness of a close adult, infants, particularly in the second six months of life, begin to trust that the world is a good place and come to believe they have some value in it. The deep sense of security that develops fosters in the infant enough confidence to begin exploring the surrounding world, making excursions into it, and developing relationships with others-though racing back to mom, being held by her, and perhaps even clinging to her whenever feeling threatened. In secure attachment lie the seeds for self-esteem, initiative, and eventual independence. We explore the world from a secure base.

The implications of attachment theory are extraordinary and extend to the deepest corners of our psyche. Attachment impacts the way we process information, how we see the world, and the nature of our social experience. Our attachment experience influences whether we see ourselves as lovable. Research now shows that we carry attachment styles with us into life, where they serve as predispositions to later behavior in love relationships.

WE SEEK PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO A partner, and rely on their continuing affections and availability, because it is a survival need. What satisfies the need for attachment in adults is what satisfies the need in the young: Eye contact, touching, stroking, and holding a partner deliver the same security and comfort. When threatened, or fearful, or experiencing loss, we turn to our partner for psychological comfort. Or try to.

The core elements of love are the same for children and adults--the need to feel that somebody is emotionally there for you, that you can make contact with another person who will respond to you, particularly if you are in need. The essence of love is a partner responding to a need, not because it's a good deal--but even when it's not. That allows you to sense the world as home rather than as a dangerous place. In this sense, we never grow Up.

It is growing clear that the dynamics of attachment are similar across the life span. Implicit in the anger of a couple who are fighting over everything is the protest of the child who is trying to restore the closeness and responsiveness of a parent.

Big Five factors (OCEAN): Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. psychology.about.com/cs/personth/a/big5.htm