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Summary: This sermon gives five aspects of building good relationships. 1. Stop having selfish AMBITIONS 2. Stop having selfish CONCEIT 3. Increase HUMILITY 4. Increase CONSIDERATION of others 5. Develop a Christ-Like CHARACTER

How To Find Joy In Your Relationships

Here is a fact: God has made us to have relationships.

We can have a relationship with Him and we can have a relationship with other people. Since the fall of Adam and Eve – maintaining relationships have been a major struggle between man and man - and man and God.

One of the biggest causes of unhappiness in our world is strained relationships. Conflict kills happiness. There is a daily struggle to live in a world where there is no conflict. Whether it be nation against nation or family member against another family member to live conflict free is a struggle.

How do you handle the conflict? How do you strive for unity? Unity is a key ingredient for success and fulfillment in life. To have a successful business the employees must get along and work together. To have a successful football team the players must work together. To have successful government the congress and the president must cooperate. To have a successful family the members must work together. To have a successful church we must work together. Very little is accomplished in life by yourself. Very little is accomplished without cooperation. When there is unity there is tremendous power and potential. The problem is people don’t always get along – they don’t always co-operate. How do you strive for unity? How do you reduce conflict and increase cooperation?

In Philippians chapter two Paul talks about how to have unity and co-operation with others. Follow along with me as I read:

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2 (NKJV)

Christians - we are to have unity in Christ. We are supposed to get along with one another. There ought to be fellowship among us. Paul says we are to be like minded. We are to show the love to one another – because Christ has loved us. We are to display mercy and grace – because that is what God has shown us. We are to put on the mind of Christ and if we did that we will be like-minded – in unity and harmony.

Unfortunately – unity and harmony does not happen very often. But Paul gives us in Philippians chapter two - five practical steps of finding joy through reduced conflict. The first step is found in verse three. Follow along with me as I read:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

Paul in this one verse gives us the first three steps of reducing conflict. Let’s look at these one at a time.

1. Stop having selfish AMBITIONS

I like the way the Message Bible translates this verse. It says:

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” Philippians 2:3 (MSG)

All too often we compete with people who are supposed to be on our team. What type of team will ever win if they a busy competing with themselves – rather than working together? Stop fighting one another.

As a child you may have been involved in sibling rivalries. You competed with your brothers and sisters and now you’re much older and much more grown up. But some of you are still competing with your brothers and sisters, trying to prove that you’re better. That may be your ambition in life – “Let the world see that I am better than my brother or my sister or my neighbor.” You’re an adult and you’re still acting like a child! You’re on the same team – you’re in the same family! Stop holding on to selfish ambitions.

There is an interesting passage of scripture found in First Thessalonians – follow along with me as I read:

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NASV)

What are the ambitions in your life? How are they driving your life? Are your ambitions causing conflict? Look at what James says on the subject:

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires (ambitions) for pleasure that war in your members?” James 4:1 (NKJV)

Our society teaches us instant gratification. When my needs and ambitions conflict with your needs and ambitions, we have trouble. We live in a very competitive world. If you want to have unity you need to check if you ambitions are selfish.

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