The world sees life as a challenge in which we discover who can achieve the most the fastest. There doesn’t even seem to be much focus on determining if the things you strive for are worth achieving. Hard work is a part of life, but as Christ-followers, we aren’t meant to go it alone or make decisions without careful consideration. How can we begin to live like we understand that we’re not working hard to prove our worth to society, but we’re working hard because we know God sees us as worthy?
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. What’s one goal you set in your life and were really proud to achieve?
2. Productivity seems to be the measure by which many of us judge others in our society. How has this metric affected you, and how do you deal with the pressure?
3. We learned the origin of the word “profession” is from Martin Luther during the time of the reformation. Luther said our work is a way of professing our faith. How is your profession a way you can demonstrate your faith?
4. What does co-laboring with God mean to you, and how does it manifest in your everyday life?
5. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What are your priorities? Do you make time with God one of your priorities? Do you pray about what your priorities should be? Why or why not?
6. SMART goals are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time bound. Think of one SMART goal you could set for yourself in the coming month. What are some ways you can set yourself up for success with this goal?
7. Read Proverbs 15:22. Who are the people in your life who help you stick to your plan and hold you accountable? If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, who you could ask to come alongside you as your “Spiritual Running Partner”?
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20? What spiritual, relational, and physical plans do you have for your future? Pray over your plans and ask if they’re in line with God’s plan for your life or if you’re following your own dreams. If your heart is set with God’s, your goals and His can be the same. Write your goals down and share them with others who can hold you accountable.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 15:22 – Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
To dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, check out the “Surrender” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
Live surrendered to the will of God, as shown in one’s lifestyle, decisions, character, life mission, etc…
It’s almost inevitable that the newer follower of Christ will make a false assumption. It may not be articulated and may not even be conscious, but the perception is that because God loves us he will be certain to fulfill our hopes and dreams. We will have the job, the spouse, the financial resources, and the opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us apart from Christ. In truth, God does love to bless us, but the further we get down the path, the more we learn the reality of what it means to “take up your cross and follow Christ” (see Matthew 16:24). Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), and John wrote that, “if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15). The Deepen follower of Christ has learned to fully surrender their desires, hopes, and dreams and to passionately seek God’s desires, hopes, and dreams. To do so is simultaneously death and life. We die to the life we had envisioned so that we may live life freely for the greatest of goods. This depth of surrender is both powerful and profound, albeit at times painful. There is a peace gained that life circumstances can never give, and there is an empowerment that happens toward fulfilling one’s true calling and the good works “God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). It’s only when we do this that we can authentically pray with Jesus, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39).
To complete the outcome in its entirety, visit gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/wisdom Also, for more on SMART goals, check out this book by Lance Devoir.
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/surrender