Sunday, January 8th
Growing up physically and intellectually do not guarantee we will grow at the same pace (if at all) emotionally and spiritually. Charting a path of growth towards becoming our true selves requires that we take an honest look in the mirror. Are you ready?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you’re learning!
- As you think about your own emotional reactions to the people and circumstances in your life, where do you most often fall on the scale of emotional maturity that John mentioned — infant, child, adolescent, or adult? What is your biggest area of opportunity to grow?
- What are some of the lies and distortions that exist in the “thought bubbles” floating above your head? Are they your own thoughts, or did they spring up because of what someone else said to you or about you?
- Read Ephesians 3:16-19. What changes can you make to ensure the healthy feeding of your soul and spirit, in order to experience more of the “inner strength” that empowers us and makes us complete in God’s love?
- Which of the enemy’s 3 temptations (Performance, Popularity, Possession) is most difficult for you to resist?
- Read Ephesians 4:20-24. What do imagine your “new self” (your true self) being like? What’s holding you back from becoming that self?
- Paul said that we are to discard our old self and put on the new self “in the attitude of [our] minds.” One way to do this is by replacing negative thought bubbles with the truth of how God sees us. In the weeks ahead, what steps can you take to consciously reject a powerful negative thought bubble and replace it with a godly truth that will “empower you with inner strength?”
- Without sharing any more than feels comfortable, why did you write what you did on the white stone you received? If you prefer not to share this, consider writing out the answer and setting it aside for a couple of months, then re-read your answer to see what God has taught you about that word and its meaning.
Ephesians 1:3-14 offers a powerful opportunity to declare who we are in Christ. Read through the passage, and, where possible, replace the pronouns (e.g., we, us) with your name.
Ex: Ephesians 1:6 — So [YOUR NAME] praise(s) God for the glorious grace he has poured out on [YOUR NAME] who belong(s) to his dear Son.
This exercise will serve as a reminder that God’s words and promises are meant for you personally.
BOOK RESOURCE — Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Here are some words from Scripture that define who we are in Christ. Use these words and references to declare your true identity, and using a white stone, write one word that can serve as a reminder of who God says you are.
- All praise to God…who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.… — Ephesians 1:3
Loved, Chosen, Holy, Blameless
- … God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. — Ephesians 1:4
Adopted, God’s Family
- God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus. — Ephesians 1:5
Free, Forgiven, Wise
- He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. — Ephesians 1:7-8
Heir of God, Chosen, Secure
- Because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. — Ephesians 1:11
Praiseworthy, Sealed, Guaranteed, Redeemed, God’s Possession
- … in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory… When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…. — Ephesians 1:12-14
- I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. — Ephesians 1:18-20
- … because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. — Ephesians 2:4-5
- For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. — Ephesians 2:10
Near to God
- … you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. — Ephesians 2:13
- … His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the [Gentiles and Israel], thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross.… — Ephesians 2:15-16
Citizen, Family member, God’s home
- … you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, … being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. — Ephesians 2:19-22
SPIRITUAL OUTCOME — New Creation