May 22, 2022
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Priority #4: We cultivate authentic relationships.
We live in a strange time when most of us long for authentic relationships, but we are surrounded by so much that is fake.
The church should lead the way in fostering an atmosphere of authenticity.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
1) Be completely honest with one another. (verse 5)
Flattery is a way to avoid being authentic. Encouragement builds others up; flattery seeks to manipulate others.
Paul didn't "put on a mask" in his interactions with them. In other words, he was authentic.
2) Never seek approval from people. (verse 6)
Remembering 2 things will help us not to seek approval from people:
1) We are fully known and fully loved by God.
Remember that God doesn't love us based on our performance or worthiness.
2) We can be fully known and fully loved by others.
We can't be fully loved until we are fully known.
3) Invest in relationships. (verse 8)
1) Care deeply about others.
2) Open ourselves to others.
It doesn't get any more open and authentic than what Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 14:34. Opening up is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
Cultivating authentic relationships creates opportunities to receive much-needed feedback or correction.