“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 15:5-6
Trust influences us every moment of every day. Trust impacts the quality of our relationships, the value of our work and the health of our churches. Biblically a trusting relationship is a harmonious relationship. When there is trust in our relationships we have confidence that we cherish the same things. When trust is absent we tend to be suspicious of each other’s agendas. When trust is present there is an assured reliance on the character of others. When trust is lacking we are wary of one another’s words, actions and motives. The Apostle Paul prays for the church to trust one another, to walk in a deep level of confidence in each other as they lock arms in advancing in the mission of God together. In this we continually glorify God with a united voice and lifting up the name of Jesus for the world to take notice.
What is trust?
Trust is seen through one’s character (the work of God in one’s soul) and it is felt through the competence of our work (the ability to see God in your ministry). Trust is experienced through the consistency of our character and through the ability of our ministries to deliver what we promise.
How is trust developed?
Endurance is rooted in the character of God and is received through the Word of God (Romans 15:4). It is the God given ability for us not to veer off God’s purposes no matter what we are facing. For the follower of Jesus the phrase, “I can’t take it anymore!” need not be in our vocabulary. As we learn to rely on God’s enduring power, His empowering word, and the strength of His presence, we can push through the quitting points in relationships and in pursuing His mission. In this we cultivate trust in God and in each other.
Encouragement is also embedded in God’s character and is experienced through His Word (Romans 15:4). It is the God-given ability for us to get so close to one another that we can confidentially speak God’s promises, warnings and concerns into each other’s lives. God’s Word brings comfort, correction and challenge only when we view the Word of God as our only life source. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). In relying on and sharing the word of God with others, we breathe life into our souls and refresh God’s vision in our hearts. Encouragement nurtures trust and builds a trusting environment.
Harmony is the result of us obeying and experiencing God’s enduring and encouraging words in our lives. Harmony leads us to think the same thoughts, agree on the same goals and to cherish God’s desire for the church above our own agendas. Harmony leads to a deeper level of trust. Trust will lead to healthier relating, effective teamwork and fruitful ministries. Trust will lead to unity! A unity that overcomes differences, that disables defensiveness and silences strife. A unified church glorifies God and puts all its focus on the work of His Son.
Pray, Study, Reflect and Do
To get the most out of this study, “remember that our text is a prayer”. It is an appeal to Heaven for the church to know God in a deeper way. In it we see a plea for the church to experience Jesus in their relationships, to follow His example and to seek the unity He desires for the church. Jesus prayed, “…that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23). A unity that is missional in nature reflects our Father’s love. May this be the prayer of our hearts as we enter this study.
As you study these ten lessons each are designed to deepen the level of trust in your relationships, your teams, throughout your church and community. In walking through a few of the ‘one another’ passages you will glean life-giving principles to build, maintain and, if necessary, rebuild trust.
- Love: familial and sacrificial devotion (Romans 12:10).
- Responsibility: taking charge of our attitudes and actions (I Peter 1:22)
- Respect: showing honor and esteem (Romans 12:10)
- Submission: bring order into our relationships (Ephesians 5:21)
- Directness: talking straight and speaking gently (Colossians 3:16)
- Listening: tuning in and feeling what others feel (Colossians 3:12-13)
- Truth-Telling: speaking unvarnished truth in love (Ephesians 4:25)
- Encouragement: bringing the Word of Life to others (I Thessalonians 5:11)
- Forgiveness: letting go and turning our hurts over to God (Ephesians 4:32)
- Trust: harmony that leads to unity (Romans 12:16)
Take time to reflect on the questions provided. These come out of the Apostle Paul’s appeal to a group of church leaders, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God” (Acts 20:28). Each are designed to guard your heart, the hearts of your teammates and the heart of your ministry.
Respond in obedience as God’s Word brings light to the actions and attitudes that hinder your relationships and your ministries. The Apostle James encourages us to, “…be doers of the word, and not hearers, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror…and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:22-24).
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another…” Romans 15:5-6
This ebook is designed to be used in a leadership setting with your church board, church staff, ministry team or even in a small group setting. Our prayer is that God will strengthen your relationships throughout your ministry.