Without Group Curriculum – Personal Growth
Our focus determines our destination. In order to become everything Christ has for us, we have to shift our focus from this world to Christ.
What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?
We all want to please God. So, we do what we believe will please Him. We head to church on Sunday mornings. We do our best to be polite and kind to others. We read the Bible and pray. We try our best to be a good person. Still, despite all our best efforts, we feel as disconnected from God as ever. The problem is that we are missing the active ingredient. Hebrews 11:6 explains, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Without faith all things, even “good” things, fall short. If we want to please God we have to stop focusing on trying to be good. We need to shift our focus to Christ.
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read Philippians 1:6
- What is the good work that Jesus began in every believer?
- How does it make you feel that God has a plan for your personal growth? Does it change the way you look at or understand different situations in your life?
Your spiritual growth is rooted in _______________________.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Do you wake up everyday with the knowledge that you are brand new in Christ? Or does something else dominate your thoughts?
- What portions of your old reality are you holding onto? What lies about yourself do you continue to believe?
- Pastor Chris said, “Regardless of how you feel you are generous, you are brand new, you have value, you are growing, you are created in his image, you have an amazing future, you are valuable, and you are positive.” What truth about your new reality do you need to put on in 2016?
Your spiritual growth is grounded in ________________________.
Read Galatians 3:3-5
- In the past, what did you primarily rely on for spiritual growth?
- What is the difference between relying on the Holy Spirit for spiritual growth and relying on the flesh?
- Why does relying on the flesh for personal growth only lead to self-righteousness?
Your spiritual growth is rooted in _________________________.
- What is the ultimate future of all those who believe in Christ?
- How can knowing Christ will make us perfect change how we live our lives today?
- When you rely on the Holy Spirit for personal growth, by faith you are conformed to the image of Christ. Recognizing that truth, what should Christ-like personal growth look like? How is the success defined by conformity to Christ differ from the way the world defines success?
- Have you created a personal growth plan for 2016? If not, take some time this week to create one. Share your plan with the group next week.
You can find a copy of the personal growth plan in Pastor’s book Without. A digital copy of the appendix of Without can be downloaded here: Faith Book-APPENDIX
1. The good work God has begun in every believer is salvation. We often think of salvation as only the act of committing to follow Jesus with our lives that first time and receiving the Holy Spirit. While this is the beginning of salvation, our salvation continues through our daily sanctification (being conformed to the image of Christ) until our ultimate glorification with Christ (Romans 8:17). This means that God will continue His work of sanctification in your life until it is completed.
4. For some examples of the old self vs. new self, see Ephesians 3:1-17.
7. When we rely on the Holy Spirit for growth, we agree with God through faith that we can’t grow in our own ability. That is, we can’t be conformed to the image of Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit. Through the flesh we can become a “better person” and grow in a lot of ways, but we can’t become more like Christ, because we aren’t growing by faith. Personal growth that relies on the Holy Spirit leads to increased faith, relying less and less on our own ability and leaning more on God for everything we do.
8. When we rely on the flesh for our growth, we replace one sin with another. If we overcome the desire to gossip through our own ability, we replace that sin with pride and self-righteousness. “Look at what a good Christian I am becoming, I no longer struggle with gossip!” Instead, when we rely on the Holy Spirit, we recognize it isn’t our ability that allowed us to stop gossiping, but God’s grace working in us. In the first scenario we glorify ourselves, in the second God is glorified.
9. See Romans 8:18-30. All who believe in Christ will be glorified with Christ. We will be made perfect just as Christ is perfect.
11. The fruit of the Spirit is a good place to start, Galatians 5:22-23. The world defines success as getting more for yourself – more money, a better job, a bigger house, etc. On the other hand, Jesus’ life was defined by giving more. Jesus gave his time, resources, and ultimately his life for others. This selflessness is what conformity to Christ is all about. The mind of Christ considered others more important than himself. As we are conformed to his image, our self important will fade as we consider others above ourselves. For more, see Philippians 2:3-11.