The Struggle is Real: Week 3 – Relationships
The Struggle is Real: Week 3 – Relationships
The Struggle is Real /
Marriage; Submission; Love; Family: Wives; Family Relationships; Family: Husbands; Friendships/
1 Peter 3:1–12
It’s good to be back. But if I had of been thinking right, I would have let Bill preach on today’s text. All that to say Thank you Bill, and today to help with what might be a topic that’s hard for us to hear, I invited my wife to teach with me today.
We share one thing in common with every person in every culture, across time.
We were created by God to live in relationship with other people. In fact, to live without relationships is in many ways not living at all, because we bring such a depth and richness to life as we interact with each other.
In fact, the life of a Christian almost requires relationships with other believers in order to live life to it’s fullest.
This reality began at creation
Genesis 2:20–25 NIV84
So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
We were created for relationships
Did you hear that last part? They were naked and felt no shame. They were completely vulnerable, UN protected, yet…they were able to be completely present.
Relationships in the beginning weren’t a struggle. That would come on the next page of your bible when Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying his command not to eat the forbidden fruit.
One of the results of sin entering our lives is that while we were created for relationships, they became the source of some of our deepest struggles.
Just Like Adam and Eve, we struggle with our insecurities. We fear that we will be truly known. Just like Adam and Eve, we hide our true selves. We fear being known. Because if people really know us, they might take advantage of us…or embarrass us…or exploit our weaknesses.
Or we struggle with holding or giving up authority or control
Illustration: WANTING TO BEING RIGHT and pouting when you can’t win the argument…banging pots in the kitchen…going to bed mad because you don’t take time to listen or to be heard
This isn’t new to us…it was into this same reality that Peter was writing…
Marriage in 1st Century
Family was the identity of Husband. They were his status symbol in culture.
Marriage relationships are a place for much of our struggles. That’s why Paul told the church in Corinth
1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV84
But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
Woman had control over very little, except how she looked.
She was responsible for doing what ever husband asked and not making him look bad.
Now imagine if she becomes a Christian and starts hanging out with folks not her husband. Her pagan husband might get physical…her neighbors might get physical with her. It could get ugly fast for a Christian wife of a nonbeliever.
In that context, hear what Peter tells her:
1 Peter 3:1–6 NIV84
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
I know we don’t like that idea of being submissive. It brings all sorts of negative thoughts to our minds. But think about it this way. For these women, their whole lives would be controlled by their husbands. Peter is teaching them not to fight against it, but to respect them, to show their husbands respect and honor them and that just might win them over to the Gospel as they lived out the Gospel.
Their love and respect would make them more beautiful than any dress or hair do possibly could. Peter taught them not to fear anything just do what’s right.
Purity and reverence means for woman’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Our desire to love and please the Lord will produce a beautiful woman that is adorned with purity and reverence. It’s like a glow in side of us that produces an unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. I see this as God’s desire for women. Scripture says this can change our husbands. I’ve tried to fix my husband…lord knows he needs fixing…bless his heart. But I’ve come to realize that the best way for him to change him is to give God room to work in his life. I do this when I life in purity and reverence.
But the wife is only half of the marriage relationship.
1 Peter 3:7 NIV84
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
That’s right gentlemen…in the same way. The Greek word here is the exact same as that in verse 1.
Peter’s saying just like slaves respect their masters, just like wives respect their husbands…you guys, respect your wives. Peter teaches them to remember that they are physically weaker, and culturally they are more vulnerable as well.
This was a crazy idea…
Remember their wives are an heir to the gift of the Good News. Your neighbors might treat them like possessions, but you don’t…You owe them more than food and shelter. You owe them your respect…love them because husbands and wives are equals in the sight of God. And if we don’t honor and respect our wife, God wouldn’t honor your prayers.
The Apostle Paul put it this way
Ephesians 5:25–27 NIV84
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
I read an article this week that revealed that the greatest relational need for men is respect….the greatest relational need of women is to be loved.
Paul knew this I guess, even though he was single…teaching Husbands love your wife
Married life was certainly different in the 1st Century, it wasn’t the only source of relationship struggles.
You remember that Christians were opposed in culture at every turn. They were locked out of the government. Every where they went, there was conflict. So Peter wanted them to remember that we don’t treat each other that way.
1 Peter 3:8–9 NIV84
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Even further, don’t seek revenge against those who mistreat you. Love and respect was to be the rule for all their relationships in order to live a life filled with love.
Marriage and great friendships can be lived with full of love. life and good days but a relationship can be ruined quickly when our lips choose to curse one another or lie. Jesus wants us to turn from evil, to communicate with one another in peace and pursue that peace.
1 Peter 3:10–12 NIV84
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
what’s good knowing the right thing and not doing it.
This past week we went kayaking on one of the lakes off Lake Michigan.
My sister hadn’t kayaked before so we put her and Michelle in a double kayak. I tried to tell them what to do eventually they figured it out.
Later My daughter and I got in the double kayak….it was harder than it looked. We were going in all kinds of circles.
IF the DNR had of been around, we would have gotten breathalyzers for sure.
I knew what to do, but I wasn’t doing it.
The lords is watching us and as Christians his eyes are on us. It reminds me of the fruits of the spirit when interacting with others. I have a morning prayer that says dress me with success in your joy, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and humility. Prayer is so important to the Lord he wants to hear our prayers and he wants us to pursue peace. Communication with one another means active listening, humbling ourselves to the point where it doesn’t become a me thing but a them thing, and serving that represents how Jesus served. When we speak deceit or evil from our mouths or do evil deeds then the Lord is not listening. Do not sin in your anger.
We will get angry with one another but the question is we handle our anger. Do we hold a grudge or do we forgive, Do we seek peace or create gossip, Do we love one another or hate one another?, Do we serve or wait to be served.
WHen we disagree with others, God tells us to not quarrel. God says we must keep our tongue from evil and lips from deceitful speech. we must turn from evil and do good and seek peace and pursue it. If you can’t do this, if you can’t forgive, if you can’t tell the truth then the Lord does not hear your prayers.
When I was coming to Christ- I had to tell the truth. Jesus said when you tell the truth I will set you free. This was a time in our marriage and the exact time that I fully gave my life to Christ.
Love and Respect Spiral
When we fail to show love and respect our relationships develop a pattern that moves in one direction…downward. A lack of love and respect spirals us downward.
Maybe that’s where you are. You are in a relationship that has spiraled down. There is a severe lack of love and respect. How do you get out of that?
Communicate – Speak with grace…and really listen. Not just to the words, but to their heart
Serve them. Its hard to not respect someone you are serving. Our actions really do lead our emotions some times.
Finally Forgive them. They’ve made some mistakes. So have you. Jesus died so your sins, your short comings, wouldn’t be held against you.
Building these into your relationships will certainly keep you from the sturggles….they will also help you get out of the hole we dig for ourselves.
But If you are like me, when you have dug the hole deep, you will need help climbing out. That’s where God’s grace comes in.
That’s what we experience in Holy Communion. What I pray you experience today as we share