Main Idea: True identity change starts with Christ—nowhere else.
Introduction: This week we wrap up our Back to the Movies series with the Matrix. Like Neo in the Matrix, Christ-followers can realize that there exists an alternate reality—an escape from the sin that infects our lives. The apostle Paul experienced this true reality on his journey to the city of Damascus.
Discussion Starter: Have you ever felt like you were in an alternate reality? Maybe you visited another country and experienced culture shock. Or maybe just moving to a new season of life like parenthood or your first job felt completely disorienting. How does having our identity anchored in Christ help us when we feel unsettled?
Primary Scriptures: Acts 9:1-4, Romans 3:28, Philippians 3:4-9
- Read Acts 9:1-4. Saul truly thought he knew who he was. He firmly believed he was fulfilling his God-given identity by persecuting the church. Even after he was saved, he never looked back with guilt and shame. Do you feel uncertain of your identity? Is your gaze still lingering on the life you had, or is it on the life ahead in Christ?
- Oftentimes as Christians, we’re called to trust and obey. Many of us have struggled with this particular matter. As part of our new identity, however, it’s vital that we understand God is more than able to take care of our needs (Philippians 4:19). Are you truly surrendering your worries to Him? Do you believe that God has a plan for you? An identity for you to step into like Paul? Sometimes people around us may see our God-given gifts or identities before we do. Take some time to share what identities you see within your group members.
- Read Philippians 3:4-9. In our identities as sons and daughters, it’s vital to receive the fact that righteousness is not based on the law. It is by your faith that you are righteous. This doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with temptations, but it does mean that God wants to know you, and for you to know Him. The only way to increase your faith is by hearing and the word of God. Discuss amongst yourselves common practices that aid you in seeking God’s face. What can we do to increase our faith?
- Choose one habit to practice this week—for example, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to stop and pray or get up 5 minutes earlier to read scripture before work. Be ready to share with your group next week how this connection time with God is impacting your life!
Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes for this section.
Read Romans 3:28 together. Elaborate what it means to live by faith and not by the law. To best represent Jesus in our daily lives, we must learn to apply this. Just as our identities are not based on our sin, neither is anyone else’s. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus leaves us with several examples of what it looks like to love our neighbors. It is the second greatest commandment after all. Discuss among yourselves practical ways to pray, care, and share with others the life—the identity—that’s waiting for them in Christ Jesus.