Have you ever tried to grow something in a garden? What was it, and were you successful?
Thank You, Jesus, for redeeming lives.
2 Timothy 2:1–6 NLT: “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.”
Sometimes we start out strong with a diet or exercise regimen, but things soon begin to get in the way and we find ourselves getting off track. “Life is just so daily,” as the saying goes. What must we do to finish our race as Christian men and women? Let’s look at what the apostle Paul recommended to Timothy, a young leader he was raising up.
Have you ever started a diet or exercise program that did not last very long? What caused you to give up on it? Share with the group.
In our culture, we are more connected than ever, but also more distracted. We have so many things, including all our devices, that compete for our attention. Getting off mission, therefore, can happen quite easily. Forgetting God’s purpose for our lives can happen to anybody.
What do you find distracting to growing in your walk with Christ? Share with the group.
A second tactic of the enemy is to get us to step out of bounds, so to speak, and be disqualified. We have all known people or public figures who have had to resign because of breaking the rules. Hopefully, you can look back through the seasons of your life and see consistency. If you have failed in the past, start a new chapter through the grace promised in 2 Timothy 2:1. Remember, we all need others that we can draw strength from. Your B-Group can be that for you.
Name some things that can disqualify a Christian leader. Which do you think is the most dangerous, and why?
Farmers understand difficulty and hardship. They sow patiently, wait expectantly for rain and proper environmental conditions, and finally, if all goes well, they reap in due time. Can you imagine their discouragement if things don’t go as planned?
Have you ever gone through a discouragement that almost did you in? How did you make it through? Share with the group.
Make a plan this week to limit distractions and foster the enjoyment of the farmer’s fruit. Maybe that enjoyment can be found through pursuing God’s presence or building godly friendships.
Remember, one of the tools the devil will use against you is discouragement. Find strength in church and friends.
What upcoming event are you looking forward to, such as something fun on your calendar?
Thank You, Jesus, for coming back for us so that we can be with You.
Philippians 3:20 (NLT, emphasis added): “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”
What are you anticipating with great expectation? Christmas? Your vacation? Becoming an empty nester? Like an expectant bride before her wedding, we are living in the “in between,” longing for the day of celebration when Jesus comes for His own. Jesus used this wedding analogy to underscore the significance of the waiting period prior to His coming back to earth from heaven.
The Philippians, like many people today, were fascinated by the topic of the Lord’s return, but just like today, their culture provided many opportunities to live sinfully. Believers, in any time period, must learn how to live in the “in between” as they wait for the Lord’s return. They can do this by following the principles of holiness, hope, and harvest.
Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? Explain your answer to the group.
Holiness means being set apart. We can make the definition much more practical by understanding that holiness pertains to three main ideas:
What we allow in. What we allow to stay in. What we allow ourselves to do.
What in your life has the ability to distract you from walking in holiness?
Because of hope, we realize that our redeemed loved ones are with the Lord, so we do not grieve like those who do not understand this biblical reality.
We also have hope that one day we will see Christ face-to-face. We hope for our new glorified bodies that we will enjoy forever with the Lord.
Have you ever had the enemy try to steal your hope and make you focus on temporal circumstances? Share your experience with the group.
We should live in harvest, because we are the only people who can reach this lost generation. We do not exist just to fatten ourselves spiritually, but rather to bring others into the family of God. Jesus said, “Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NLT).
Are you using your lifetime on earth to accomplish harvest? What type of change do you need to make in your life in order to impact more people for the kingdom of God?
The Philippians lived shadily and the Thessalonians were lazy. Let’s personally receive these admonitions to them while we live in the “in between.”
Live holy or set apart. Stay hopeful because there is so much to look forward to. Bring someone to church this week.
What is your favorite worship song?
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Prince of Peace.
Matthew 13:22 (NLT, emphasis added): “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.”
The word for worry in the New Testament means to be choked. Jesus said that worry chokes the life out of us, making it impossible to fight any longer. There is a direct connection between worrying and losing our peace. Let’s look at things that cause people to worry and lose their peace.
The devil wants to choke your faith through worry. Can you look back on your life and see times that the enemy tried this strategy to rob you of your peace? Share with the group.
The plan of the enemy is to divide and conquer through strife, thus causing us to lose our peace. People who sow strife and grief in the church have forgotten their history and many times their future, not remembering that both of their names are written in the Book of Life. The two women in Philippians 4:2, Euodia and Syntyche, though they had previously worked together serving the Lord, were involved in some type of dispute. Paul urged them, “ Because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement” (NLT).
Have you ever been tempted to pursue a feud with someone? Perhaps an offense occurred and you contemplated letting it go on and on. What did you do, and why? Share with the group.
Not only will rage will cause you to lose your peace, but it will also inhibit your ability to worship. Paul’s solution was to rejoice in the Lord. When you worship at the top of your lungs and lie prostrate before the Lord, rage will leave your heart.
What do you do to calm down when you feel angry? Have you ever gotten your nose bent out of shape and it caused you to lose your peace? What happened, and how did you get back on track?
Remember, the enemy shoots fiery darts into your mind. These wrong thoughts do not originate from you, so don’t water that seed. Don’t dwell on that temptation or lie. Take it captive, like a SWAT team would.
We need to confess and talk to people when terrible thoughts come. Who in your life could you go to in confidence? Share with the group.
Don’t worry about anything; pray about everything. Value peace over other aspects of your daily existence. Worry solves nothing and is the opposite of faith. Don’t be choked by worry. Remember, your fruit depends on the peace that comes from Christ.
Put into practice Philippians 4:8 (NLT): “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
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