Community Group Questions 3/17/13

Kevlar: Bulletproofing Your Relationship [vimeo 62000584 w=500 h=281]

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Sermon Title: Kevlar, Part 2: Mind Games

Main Text:  Proverbs 7:13-17, 21


  • In Proverbs 7 we find a story that explains how marital unfaithfulness happens. Temptation is described as the “forbidden woman.”
  • Often times we believe that unfaithfulness happens because of an inability to control lust. We break it down to physiological impulses. But this passage shows another way that we get hooked into a temptation. It is through mental games.
  • We have to watch out for these mental games. If we do not realize what the hooks are, we can easily swallow them.  We have to hold onto this axiom: Strong Mind - Strong Relationship.
  • The first game is: RATIONALIZATION. The forbidden woman says that earlier that day she has offered sacrifices and paid her vows. She would only say that if she thought for some reason that would make him more likely to give in to her. Why bring God into the picture except to rationalize. She is saying that she is squared away spiritually so she is fine. One of the first mental games we play is to rationalize the action we want to do.
  • The second game is: ADORATION. The woman says that she has come to seek him. She made great effort to meet him. She is eager for him and that she has finally found him. This is one of the most dangerous hooks, because he feels adored by her. She goes to great length to get her house ready for him. It is all prepared, she went to great pains to make it perfect. And it is all for him.
  • The third game is: MANIPULATION.  This is subtly present in her description of how she has prepared her home. She spread the couch with coverings and expensive, luxurious linens. She prepared the room with the perfect ambiance. She has done a lot for him. Imagine, now if he rejects her. Implicit in what she has told him, is the manipulation that she has already gone to great lengths. If all else fails there is subtle guilt for him to say no to her.
  • These are the things that will lead him to fall into temptation. Later in verse 21 it says, “with much seductive speech she persuades him.” In particular that is what seduces him. And these are timeless mental games that we can be totally unaware of. Today those same traps can snag us if we do not watch for them.  We have to be mentally strong against them.
  • What does RATIONALIZATION look like:
    • Some rationalize an affair spiritually. They may say something like, “God wants me to be happy,” or “God will forgive me,” or “I don’t think God was ever in that other relationship.”
    • Some rationalize it relationally. They rationalize it by telling themselves that their spouse doesn’t love them, or pay attention to them, or treat them right. They tell themselves that they are truly in love with the “forbidden person” and so that makes it ok. Or they rationalize it because they have been significantly hurt in their current relationship.
  • What does ADORATION look like:
    • This is one of the most seductive games, because we have a deep need to be adored. We want to be pursued and admired. And it is almost irresistible when someone is giving you that attention.
    • This all starts with wanting the attention of someone else. Are we trying to get attention from people other than our spouses? We have to do a gut check: are we trying to collect admirers?
    • We can collect admirers in how we talk. We can use language that flirts, teases or is overly charming. We have to check our hearts and ask ourselves if we doing that to get someone’s admiration. That is a dangerous place to be.
    • This is the biggest danger for ladies and how they dress. Often the subject of modesty is taught around the concept of “not causing a brother to stumble.” But the biggest danger is what is going on in the heart of the woman. What is going on in her heart? What is her motivation? Wanting attention and admiration around her clothes, her looks, her body is a dangerous thing. Express that, show that off within the context of your marriage only. If you need attention beyond that, you are in dangerous territory.
    • This is also why confiding in members of the opposite sex, other than your spouse is so dangerous. Because it is alluring to have someone willing to listen and empathize with you. And on the other side it is alluring to be the hero for someone.
  • What does MANIPULATION look like:
    • Anytime guilt is used, it is manipulation. This is used in all types of contexts, but perhaps the most common in a dating relationship. Someone can guilt the other into thinking they owe it to them. They suggest that if they truly loved them they would express that sexually to them.
  • As we look at this, let’s take cues from this and be PROACTIVE in our marriages. Especially in the way of adoration. If we do not adore our spouse, there are others out there who are ready to fill up that tank. That is a huge needs we have. To neglect that, leaves our marriages unfulfilling and leaves our marriage vulnerable.
    • Men: adore your wife by loving her. Regularly find ways to communicate how much you adore and cherish her. How does she receive that love the best? How does she feel like she has your full attention the best? Pursue her.
    • Ladies: adore your husband by admiring him. Regularly find ways to communicate to him that he impresses you. Seek his advice. Ask for his help. Affirm him.  Pursue him.

Key Questions:

  • What stuck out to you?
  • Read Proverbs 7:13-17, 21
  • What is the danger of seeing temptation merely as a physical thing rather than a mental and emotional thing?
  • When we fail to recognize the mental and emotional sides of temptation, how are we setting our selves up for failure?
  • How is understanding how men and women seek attention helpful to guard yourself? To guard others?
  • Why do you think we prefer to put ourselves in a position of being a "victim" rather than a responsible party?
  • Of the three types of mental games: rationalization, adoration, and manipulation, which do you think is typically the most effective trap? Why?
  • When we ignore God's outlines and plans for relationships and marriage, how are we messing up what God designed?
  • When we believe the lies in these mental games, what are we forgetting (or ignoring) about Jesus' death on the Cross for our sins?
  • What are practical ways to positively employ adoration in a marriage to strengthen the relationship?

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