Summary: Spiritual truths that teach me how to make my relationships more enjoyable.

We’re continuing our series entitled “Together We Make a Difference.”

One person can certainly make a difference, and every individual is important, but TOGETHER we can have even greater influence. One bee can pollinate a flower and that’s cool - but it takes a whole hive of bees to make honey.

Last week we saw that God has this intense longing for us to cooperate with others so He created us to be most satisfied in life when we work together. In our homes, on the job, in our community, and in the church, God wants us to practice His precepts so that we can enjoy the benefits of working together. None of us is as happy alone as we are together. God made us that way. Teamwork is one of the central keys to leading a rich and satisfying life.

Yet even though we’re made to enjoy the benefits of satisfying relationships we all struggle in this area. We all have problems with other people, which, ironically, is a sign of the centrality of teamwork in our lives. If it weren’t so important, there wouldn’t be such a cosmic struggle to make teamwork work. Teamwork is difficult sometimes because it’s so central to human existence. And just like any other worthwhile thing it’s worth the effort.

Have those of you who were here last week noticed that since we learned to: 1) Play by the rules in our relationships; 2) Make kindness the trademark of your relationships; and 3) Don’t take ourselves too seriously; that doing these things is hard work? Have you been tested in these areas this past week? I know I have. But that’s good. That’s part of how God teaches us. He tests us in our relationships so that our relationships can grow and become even more satisfying.

Today we want to see HOW TEAMWORK MAKES MY FRIENDSHIPS MORE ENJOYABLE. In other words, what can I do to enhance a good thing? Friendship is a good thing. It’s good to have friends - people to share the joys as well as the sorrows of life with. How can I take this good thing and make it great? What can I do to increase my personal level of friendship enrichment?

Today we’re going to see how to take our relationships to the next level. Not only does God want us to have friends, to be on teams, and to work harmoniously together. He also wants our relationships to be long lasting and satisfying. But in order to reach the next level we have to follow spiritual truth.

Christ said some extremely valuable things about this topic and we’re going to think about them today.

9 I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (Circle that phrase, “that your joy may be complete.” That’s next level thinking. Everyone is in relationships but it takes following what Jesus says here to take our relationships to a more joyful level, to make them “complete.”)

12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another. John 15:9- 17 (GNT)

From this passage from the Word of God we can see four…

Spiritual Truths about Making Friendship More Enjoyable Through Teamwork

First of all, if I’m going to enjoy my friendships better…

1. I need God as my role model.

Jesus said: “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.” John 15:12 (NLT) (Circle, “just as I love you.”)

Jesus told us what to do and even how to do it if we want to have satisfying relationships. If I want to go to the next level with those I live with or work with or spend any kind of time with - if I want to enjoy more than just the surface relationships that characterize so many people’s lives - if I want to be able to take my mask off and be myself with my friends and let them take their masks off and be themselves with me - then I’ve got to love them the way that God loves me.

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