READY OR NOT
Ever experience the release that comes from patching up a relationship or work situation after making a big mistake? It’s like a huge weight has been removed. The problem comes when we repeat the same mistake no matter how hard we try to do the right thing. How can we experience true restoration from our failures and find lasting freedom from our missteps?
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.
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1.Recovery Step Six: We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Willingness is a state of mind, along with emotions, that propels us into action. In Step Six, all our good intentions simmer under the surface and brew until, with God’s help, we are entirely ready and willing to change. How would you describe the difference between willingness and willpower?
2. What stood out to you from the message this week?
3. Read Galatians 5:13-26. Paul’s description of the desires of our flesh is a helpful list of possible character defects with which we may struggle. He also gives us a helpful list of godly characteristics that are produced in our lives when we live according to God’s will and ways. Which defects of character are you most willing and ready for God to help you remove? Which godly character trait would you like to see take its place?
4. Recovery Step Seven: Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings. Managing our lives in our own power, with the effect of our defects of character, has led to a long list of ways that we have fallen short from our own standard of what is good and right as well as God’s standard. We might call this our list of wrongs. It takes courage and humility to acknowledge our wrongs and the harm they have caused, but it is an important step to experiencing the healing and freedom God has for us. As we pray to God, acknowledging our shortcomings, and ask Him to remove them, something powerful happens … He does it! Read Matthew 11:28-29 Do you believe that God wants rest for you? Could you describe your life as restful? Why or why not?
5.Read 1 John 1:9. God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us. What might be holding you back from confessing, trusting God, and receiving his forgiveness?
6.Read Romans 3:23-28. When God removes shortcomings, He does a great job! We can trust God to remove our shortcomings, moment by moment, if we humble ourselves to trust Him and obey His Word. That means having faith in Jesus to make up for our weakness in both character and action. How is your understanding of God and your relationship with Him growing or transforming? What are some actions you can do daily to remain humble and aware of your need for God?
Galatians 5:13-26 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (NIV)
Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (NIV) 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 3:23-28… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood —to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.
Take some time with God this week. Sit for ten minutes uninterrupted and ask yourself these questions. Do you believe He wants rest for you? Do you believe he is able to remove your short comings? Are you actually ready to let God help you remove your character defects? Do you believe He can? Talk with God about this and listen for his answer. If you are struggling to trust God, talk to a friend who is ahead of you in your faith journey. Ask them to tell you stories of how they have seen God be faithful in their life. Then, in prayer, ask God to help you trust Him and ask for His help to remove the areas of defects you have identified.
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