Summary: Find out ten ways to improve, enhance and enrich any relationship.

Ten Ways to Improve Your Relationships (Phil. 2:2-5)

No one is island. We all need friendships.

Acts 2:42- "They devoted themselves to fellowship" (Koinonia - mutual sharing with one another)Make up your mind to whom you can fellowship with and devote yourself to them regardless of feelings, setbacks or circumstances. The early church suffer terrible persecution and need the affirming fellowship, support and mutual protections from one another. They were sustained by friendships that could be summarized in this song:

Blest be the tie that binds. Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; Our fears, our hopes our aims are one, OUr comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear. And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear."

Let us learn to appreciate and express our gratitude for the friendship, fellowship and strength we gain from our Christian relationships.

Illustration: A man once asked Henry Ford, "Who is your best friend? Ford said, "Your best friend is he or she who helps you bring out of yourself the best of that which is in you."

Illustration: Dick Sheppard served as a chaplain in the British army during World War I. One night he was lying in the dense blackness of no man’s land when he heard footsteps approaching. Unable to see who it might be, he was tempted to cry out, "Friend or foe?"

The best friendships require time, patience, love, energy, forgiveness, and honesty. Most of all, deep friendships require vulnerable involvement for the good of others. Often, these investments are beyond the limit that some people are willing to pay so they forfeit some of life’s best advantages. The people who have been graced with true friendship know its costs and it worth.

A suffering Job wrote, "A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends."

When you are hurting nothing comforts one like a good friend.

Illustration: Years later, on another dark night back in his homeland, Dick remembered that experience as he gazed up into the sky and wondered about the God of the universe. Again he felt like calling out, "Friend or foe?"

Often in the blackness of some bewildering trial, unable to discern God’s purposes, we are tempted to question His goodness. Some even wonder whether there is a God; and if there is, whether He cares for us.

We who believe the Bible know that the almighty, eternal Creator has revealed Himself as a loving Father, and that He infinitely cares for us. And through His Son, He has shown Himself to be a Friend of sinners (Mt. 11:19). When in faith anyone accepts the sin-atoning sacrifice of Jesus, that person receives the promise that he will never be forsaken by God (Heb. 13:5). What a privilege to know in our darkest moment that when we cry out, "Friend or foe?" Jesus answers, "I am your ever-present Friend!" (Our Daily Bread)

Quote: A friend is someone who walks in to help when everybody else seems to desert us.

Quote: A friend loves at all time and a brother is born for times of adversity. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs)

The following are ten ways to improve any relationship:

1. Mutual Goals – Discuss how you can synergistically work together toward a mutually agreed upon goal. Cooperate through prayer, discussions and ministries that will contribute toward the accomplishment of enlarging the church in qualitative and quantitative measures. Paul writes, "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ. In whom are hidden all the treasurers of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:2,3)

2. Mutual Interests – Work together on areas of shared concerns. Shared hobbies and leisure time activities can act as a bridge for enhancing interpersonal communications. Paul writes, "Make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." (Phil. 2:2)

3. Mutual Experiences – Find areas of ministry and lifestyle that you share in common with others. These opportunities can help break down many barriers of distrust. Paul writes about his friend, "Epaphroditus, "I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare." (Phil 2:20)

4. Mutual Understandings – Find areas that you can agree upon together before finding areas that you cannot come to any consensus. Paul writes, "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We remember your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thes. 1:2,3)

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