Sunday, March 26th
What really motivates you in life? What motivates your behavior? Is it money? Power? Perhaps accolades and approval from others? Many of us claim to have good intentions and motivations, but so did Judas, a disciple of Jesus chosen by the Messiah Himself to help in His ministry. Yet Judas was unwilling to admit that what he really worshipped was money, so his greed kept him from experiencing the joy and freedom the other disciples experienced. What might you be worshipping through your thoughts, priorities, and decisions that could also be killing your connection with abundant Life?
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 are learning!
- While we likely no longer use excuses like “the dog ate my homework” as adults, we usually have a person or situation to blame for our mistakes. What’s one that you claim?
- Like Jesus giving Judas charge of the all the money given to Jesus’ ministry, God gives us the responsibility of many blessings, which could include our job, talents, money, home, family, health/energy, and friendships. In all that God has given you, what is an area from which it is difficult to give back?
- In considering what is difficult to give back to God, how does He reveal what you overly protect and perhaps even idolize?
- Judas had many opportunities to practice killing his greed, as he was in charge of the money. Instead, he allowed his idol to grow to the point where he did something he probably never would’ve imagined himself doing three years before—betraying his friend, Jesus. Could you share an example of how a bunch of small decisions led to something you would’ve normally never done?
- Read Galatians 5:17. God is constantly working in us to bring us freedom, but our selfish desires and plans often get in the way. If you are honest with yourself, what motivates you? What are you chasing after, perhaps at the expense of what God is trying to accomplish in you?
- Read Romans 8:5-7 and 13. A straightforward way to see what could be killing the voice of God in your head is to answer the question, “What or whom could I not live without if it were lost or stolen today?” As you answer that question, begin to think about how you can kill the idols in your life. What steps will you take to eliminate wrong priorities so that you can truly worship and honor God?
Galatians 5:17 — The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.
Romans 8:5-7 and 13 — People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God…If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live.
Who Are You Most Like?
Read through the following descriptions of some of the people we learned about in the message this week and how they spent their time with Jesus. As you read, think about which of these people you might be most like.
Lazarus sat back and enjoyed a meal. He was alive after having died! As a result, the religious leaders plotted to kill Lazarus.
Martha kept to her busy self. She was a hard worker and made the meal. She did not seem to take what Jesus said to her in John 11 to heart. She would have made the meal whether or not Jesus had given her brother new life. At least in the John 12 passage, she seems to be living as if nothing had ever happened to her brother.
Judas expected a political revolution. Judas saw the world’s problems being solved by politics rather than through faith. He acted like he cared about the poor, but in reality, his greed and ambition blinded him to Jesus’ true mission—a spiritual revolution that meant dying to self.
Mary continued to have a tender heart for Jesus. She seemed to be the only one truly aware of who Jesus really was. She willingly gave up a year’s wages to anoint Jesus and clean his feet—a very humbling and beautiful act of love. Just as Jesus foretold, we continue to tell her story to this day. After reading about each of these individuals, with which do you seem to have the most in common? With that in mind, read the following statements about how people like Lazarus, Martha, Judas, and Mary can become more like Jesus.
- Someone like Lazarus needs to help others believe in Jesus and see the miraculous in their lives.
- Someone like Martha needs to slow down and appreciate all Jesus has done.
- Someone like Judas needs to be honest with his/her expectations of Jesus.
- Someone like Mary needs to help others slow down and appreciate all Jesus has done.
For more about these people and their stories, check out the Book of John, chapters 11 and 12.
Spiritual Outcome — Self-Awareness