10 Steps to Building Stronger Relationships

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READ: Ephesians 4:25-32

NO DECEIT: To build strong relationships with others we need to be right ourselves (v25a). Let's pray for personal integrity and truthfulness.

SHARING GOD'S WORD: Ultimately the truth we need to share (v25) is the truth of God's Word. Our personal opinions, especially as they relate to others, can be damaging. It is good when we encourage each other to see ourselves as God sees us. Let's pray for such a ministry of encouragement.

A GOD-GIVEN RELATIONSHIP: When we build relationships within the church we are outworking something which God has already worked in! Our new birth established us as members of one another (v25), each of us being members of the body of Christ. Let's praise God for the miracle of unity that He has already performed.

KEEPING SHORT ACCOUNTS: The thought of being angry with someone for more than 24 hours should really shock us. If righteous indignation becomes lasting resentment it is sin. We need to clear things with people as quickly as we possibly can and never carry things over to another day (v26). Let's be open about areas where we might appreciate some prayer support in dealing with provocative situations.

BLOCKING OUT THE DEVIL: The devil wants to do all that he can to divide people (v27). Let's take a stand against any examples of specific divisive attempts known to us.

PRACTICAL ASSISTANCE: It is good to meet each other's practical needs (v28), especially if in doing so we can put right past wrongs. Let's pray for a real spirit of generosity and for an ability to overcome any feelings of inferiority that might still be around from a  negative past.

VERBAL ENCOURAGEMENT: Sometimes when we have nothing tangible to give we can bless people by something that we say (v29). Let's pray that we will increasingly be a blessing to people in this way.

THE GREAT ENCOURAGER: The Holy Spirit is alongside us to help in our relationship building. He is grieved by strife and discord (v30). Let's pray for a greater dependence on the Holy Spirit.

SIX THINGS TO CLEAR: Paul lists six things that have to go - bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice (v31). Let's spend a few moments in silence letting the Lord check out our lives.

THREE THINGS INWHICH TO EXCEL: Paul sets out kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness as key aspects of our relationship with one another (v32). In all of these things the Lord's treatment of us is the standard we need to adopt. Let's spend a few moments in silence letting the Lord check out our lives on these things too.