Do you enjoy admitting that something was your fault or that you were indeed the one to blame? If not, why?
There is an enemy, but Paul doesn’t necessarily blame the enemy for all of the relationship issues. He seems to call the people of God to take ownership for their lives and their relationships. We tend to blame Satan, others, or even God but does that really change anything? Paul calls the church out of a victim mentality and into taking responsibility for relationships.
Book of Ephesians
What are some reasons we tend to blame other people for relational problems instead of owning our part? Why do we lean toward, “It was you,” as opposed to, “It was me”?
Read Ephesians 4:17-19
Paul says, “It’s you!” Notice the phrase, “So I tell YOU this: don’t live as the gentiles do.” That’s not what we want to hear, but Paul says that we are living in ways that won’t bring life–ways that will give the devil a foothold in our relationships. Share about a relationship from your past in which you now realize YOU played a major part in giving the enemy a foothold.
Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41). Talk about what Jesus meant by that saying. In what relationship could you apply that saying and that advice immediately?
Reference Ephesians 6:11. Paul talks about putting on armor and taking a stand against the enemy for our relationships. Paul is saying that with God’s power we can put stuff off and put stuff on. In a relationship (or, really, in every relationship) what is God calling you to put o and then put on that could really bring life?
Re-read the last part of verse 24. If Paul were in your small group and you asked him the question, “What is the best way to stand and fight for relationships?”, what would his answer be? Very practically and specifically, what would it look like for you to put on righteousness and holiness in your relationships?
The Spirit of God probably highlighted something in your mind and heart during this group discussion. Most likely, it was something that you have the opportunity to own so that you can be more free and take back the enemy’s foothold in your relationships. Share and ask for prayer.
There is a wonderful (and often exposing) spiritual practice called self-examination. In our modern psychological culture, this practice has often deteriorated into self centered navel-gazing, but throughout the history of the church, self-examination has been God-centered and done in His presence. Opening ourselves up in the presence of God’s unbelievable mercy as we welcome a self-examination to take place can lead to incredible insight and incredible freedom. We can approach God’s throne of grace with great confidence that we will receive mercy.
Ephesians 1 Psalm 96
Ephesians 2 Psalm 97
Ephesians 3 Psalm 98
Ephesians 4 Psalm 99
Ephesians 5 Psalm 100
Ephesians 6 Psalm 101