DiscussionLooking back, are there people you feel God brought into your life at crucial times? Who? How did God use them?
If you are like most people, you can’t tell your life story without mentioning the people who played significant roles along the way. Parents can talk about other kids who impacted their own children in important ways. The same is true of your faith story. Relationships play a huge role in the development of our faith.
God uses human relationships to impact our faith in Him. This impact can be both positive and negative. Relationships can increase our faith and draw us closer to God. Or, relationships can negatively impact our faith and lead us away from God. We need to be intentional about investing in our relationships so that we can build and establish greater confidence in God.
God wants to work in and through our human relationships to not only increase our faith but also to positively impact the faith of others. For many of us, the issue is not whether we have relationships that are impacting our lives, the issue is whether we are willing and available to be that God-given relationship in someone else’s life.
Look at the impact of friendships and relationships in this string of episodes from the Gospels.
Engage with Scripture
Read Mark 2:1-12 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
Further Study (Optional)
Read Mark 3:13-19 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
Looking back, is there a time when you feel God brought someone across your path that could have helped you, but you resisted the relationship?
Are there people in your circle of relationships that would say YOU are someone God providentially brought into their lives?
Taking a step forward in a relationship usually starts with a risk. In fact, significant relationships often begin in the “that’s none of your business” moments of life. Looking back, who do you see that God providentially brought into your life to shape your faith and your view of Him? Who has God used to rescue you? Who do you need to thank for being willing to create an awkward situation in order to save you from wrecking your life or your faith?
Before we go any further we’re going to look at a decisive moment in the life of the apostle Peter.
Engage with Scripture
Read John 21:1-25 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
Learning, growth and change happen through action. We learn as we pray. Here is a small project to help you engage with key relationships in your life.
There are a few different ways you can take your next step. Take some time to talk through the options together and work out a meaningful way to take what you’re learning further.
- Identify someone you know (it might be more than one) who faces loneliness and isolation. It might be due to physical or relational reasons or because of circumstances. Work out and put into practice a plan to bring support and life-giving relationship into their life.
- Approach somebody you trust and respect and ask them to help you grow in your life by becoming accountable. Work out some goals and boundaries and commit to a period of time for this key stage of your friendship.
- One way we delight in the friendships and relationships we have is by doing small and often unseen acts of kindness and service. Commit yourself in this way to a key friend.
- Use a significant amount of your resources (that can be time, money or effort) to celebrate a significant milestone (a birthday, anniversary, graduation or something like that) for an important friend.