Why is it important that we grow spiritually? How have you grown in the last year?
Summary: Spiritual growth happens in the context of relationships and occurs over time when we are in an environment of grace and truth. Growing in our relationship with yourself and with others is no different. We’ll explore five components of growth which will help us grow in our relationships. All the concepts in this lesson can be found in the book How People Grow by Henry Cloud.
Note: This lesson has few discussion questions due to the deep and personal nature of some components of growth. Feel free to volunteer to share your thoughts on each of them, but don’t pressure anyone to share.
In the big picture of growing relationally we need grace, truth and time — all in the context of relationships.
Discuss: Grace, truth and time — how would missing just one these aspects affect our ability to grow?
Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person, to relate to another on the deepest level. When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams and feelings with each other with no fear that they will be rejected by the other person. A key text is Matthew 22:37-39. Bonding involves becoming vulnerable, being others-centered and embracing love as God’s highest value.
Are you over-bonded?
Are you not bonded enough?
Boundaries are lines or things that mark a limit or border. In a relational sense, boundaries help us be our own person apart from others. Boundaries don’t excuse us from helping others, they help us to define who we are and what we have capacity to do. A key text is Daniel 1:8-16. Having healthy boundaries encourages us to say “no” to things that aren’t good for us or that would exhaust us, so we can say “yes” to loving others willingly.
Do you have poor boundaries?
Are your boundaries too strong?
Are you a boundary buster?
We are both good and bad. The people around us are good and bad. Our natural tendency, however, is to try to resolve this problem by keeping the good and the bad separated. This creates a split in our experience of ourselves, others and the world around us — a split that is not based on reality and cannot stand the test of time and real life. Trying to keep the good and the bad separated results in an inability to tolerate badness, weakness and failure in ourselves and others. A key text is Philippians 3:12-15. Maturity concerning the good/bad split means we admit and accept our strengths and weaknesses, and adopt a progress mentality.
Becoming an adult is the process of moving out of a “one-up/one-down” relationship and into a peer relationship to other adults. “Adults” make their own decisions without permission from others, evaluate and judge their own performance, choose their own values and opinions and disagree with others freely. This is the final step of development so that one can exercise the gifts and responsibilities God has given. A key text is 1 Corinthians 13:11. Adulthood allows us to embrace responsibility and authority and to live free under God’s rule.
Pray: In light of what we’ve discussed, how can we pray for each other right now?
Since we last met, what happened as a result of expressing Christ’s love to others?
How can you, or we, express Christ’s love to others this week?
Here are a few ideas:
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