Summary: Four Points on How to Enjoy People. 1. Be THANKFUL for them 2. PRAY for them 3. Be PATIENT with them 4. LOVE them

How To Really Enjoy People - Friendship Factors

Today we start a new series from the book of Philippians. Philippians is a personal book. It is also a practical book. It deals with a lot of the problems in life that we all face – day in and day out. Even though Philippians deals with problems – over and again the book tells us to express joy – rejoice – be glad. It is a positive book – with a positive attitude. The words "joy" or "rejoice" or "be glad" are used seventeen different times in this book. The title of this series is: "How to Really Enjoy Life".

In the first chapter of Philippians, Paul starts right off talking about relationships. That is because relationships are important. If relationships are bad – life is bad – life stinks. If relationships are strained – emotions are strained. Life in itself is difficult enough – but when you add relationship problems into the mix – problems just seem to compound. Problems with people can kill the joy in your life. Follow along with me as I read from Philippians chapter one:

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:3-11 (NKJV)

Do you enjoy the people you’re around? Do you enjoy the people that you work with? Do you enjoy the people in your family? Do you enjoy the person that you’re married to? The Bible says in Ecclesiastes chapter nine and verse nine – in the Message Bible:

“Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift.” Ecclesiastes 9:9 (MSG)

The problem I find is that many marriages are more a matter of endurance than enjoyment. We don’t really enjoy the people in our lives – we tolerate them – we put up with them – we endure them. God wants us to enjoy people.

What does it take to enjoy the people in your life? Here are four keys:

1. Be THANKFUL for the people in your life

Look at what Paul wrote in verse eight:

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Not every memory in my life is a good memory. Not every experience in my life has been a good experience. I am sure it is the same for you. But I need to be thankful that God has placed people in life to help me grow. God is big enough to take the good stuff and work it for my benefit – but He is also big enough to take the bad stuff and work it for my benefit too. You all remember Romans chapter eight verse twenty eight don’t you? Follow along with me as I read:

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (HCSB)

You and I could dwell on the negative. You and I could get stuck on the painful memories – but I would rather dwell on what I have learned from a person. Some people have given me negative examples to follow. I need to learn – how NOT to behave that way. Others have given me good examples to follow – I need to imitate them. But – I need to be thankful for all the people in my life – whether good or bad and learn from each of them.

Maybe you have, in your past, been hurt by a parent or a partner and you’re still holding on to that hurt. As a result you can’t enjoy them today. You’re still focusing on the bad and the negative. Learn to grow from the experience and move on. Learn to forgive. Thank God that you can learn from the good and the bad.

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