Have you ever used a filter to project an image that was different from reality? In life, we can end up seeing the world through a filter that actually distorts reality and hurts our ability to live in the fullness of all God intended. God is the only one who sees reality fully, so how do we remove these negative filters and see the world from His perspective?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Do you consider yourself more of an optimist or a pessimist? What do you think plays into this for you?
2. Describe one negative filter you often find yourself viewing life through (e.g., shame, hopelessness, distrust, failure, worry).
3. Read Philippians 4:6. Describe something you are prone to worry about. Is there something you can do to change the situation (alleviate the problem), or is it something that is out of your control that you need to turn over to God and release?
4. Read Philippians 4:8. What are some ways we can focus on God’s reality described in this verse and remove some of the negative filters that cause us to feel disheartened, discouraged, dismayed, depressed, etc.?
5. Share an example from your past of a reality you believed to be true of God that positively influenced your thoughts and behavior.
6. Consider a current struggle you are tempted to view through a negative filter. What is one truth found in scripture you can choose to reflect on this week to make sure your thoughts are in line with God’s reality and not a distorted perspective?
Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:8 – 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.
#NoFilter Social Media Challenge Throughout the #NoFilter series, we’ll be learning about how we are often taught to see ourselves through filters, and whether the filters are ones of negativity, paint us as a product of our past, or discourage us from being our true selves, it’s important that we also learn how to strip away all the filters and live content to see ourselves through God’s eyes. To encourage us in this endeavor, as you’re listening to the messages during this series and reflecting on them during the week, let us know what you’re learning and how you feel about them by tweeting us and tagging us on social media using #NoFilter and @g8wayaustin. Challenge yourself and others to post a filter-free photo, reminding us all to live free of filters that distort our realities and to live in the fullness of all God intended.
Additionally, as you’re beginning to apply this week’s message, dig deeper by working through the “New Creation” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
…when it comes to new creation living, we must identify deeply-embedded lies about ourselves, and replace these lives with Scripture’s truths. Warped thoughts lead to warped living. Understanding and embracing the wondrous work of Christ in our lives leads to a new kind of living that would be impossible if left to our old selves. But we are not left to our old selves. We have been raised with Christ that “we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/new-creation