The sermon presented the concept of ‘self-focus’ at length.
Here are the three descriptions of self-focus presented in the sermon:
1. SELF-FOCUS operates when sin causes us to insert ourselves into the center of our world.
2. In SELF-FOCUS, I try to manipulate situations, locations, and relationships for my pleasure and comfort and preference.
3. SELF-FOCUS causes us to have a greater allegiance to our own kingdom than God’s Kingdom.
Why is trying really hard in my own strength to cast off self-focus not a viable solution?
How should we battle this joy-thief with Gospel truths and Spirit power?
Replacing Self-focus with Christ-centeredness in RELATIONSHIPS
How does self-focus lead to conflicted relationships?
READ Philippians 4:1-3.
Reflect on some conflicts you have witnessed among Christians.
Never in my life have I been deemed ‘without a plan’. Even as a little girl, when I was being put to bed for the night, I would ask, “Mama, what are we doing tomorrow?”
Girl With A Plan. That’s me! Or at least, Girl Who Really Wants to Know The Plan! I know my mama was gracious to my little planner personality, but in her mind she was thinking “Baby girl, I’m just glad we made through today! Let’s think about tomorrow when it comes.” (I know. She’s told me. I used to drive her crazy with that question.)
Now I’m an adult and while I no longer get tucked into bed at night by my mom, my heart still cries out “What are we going to do tomorrow?” Or perhaps the more grown up version: “Is this really where you want me Lord? Do you still hear me? What’s the plan?”
Can you relate? I’m sure I’m not the only one out there. The weight of the unknown can be overwhelming.
How do you make a plan when everything (or nothing) changes?
How do you keep moving when you don’t know where to go?
Psalm 25:5 has been a true friend: “Lead me in truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.” Oh how I cling to those words! When the plan that I want is not the life that I’ve got I can turn to the God who plans all things. I cry out “Lord, is this really where you want me?,” and my Jesus will graciously say to my little planner self, “Baby girl, I carried you through this day. Your plan may not be My plan, and your way may not be My way, but My ways are far beyond anything you can imagine. Let Me lead you. Let Me teach you. Watch for what I am doing and wait for Me." How sweet it is when God’s word sinks into your soul.
So, from one planner to another: the next time you grab tight to your desires or your plans fall apart I encourage you to run to God’s word. Let God weave His will into your plans. Rather than holding tight to your plan, release your grip and cling to God. Praying through verses often helps me focus on God and His direction rather than what I think God’s plan should be. So let’s practice with my verse-friend above!
LEAD ME IN TRUTH – Lord, You are good. You are the Prince of Peace, but I currently feel chaotic. You are a God of clarity, but I am confused by Your plan. What I see does not match at all what I thought would be. Help me to see You. I need Your guidance. I need eternal truth to break through the haze. Please lead me to it. I will follow You willingly. Help me to loosen my grip on what I want, and join You in what You are doing.
TEACH ME – Lord, You have me here for a reason. Teach me about You in this place. Show me who You are. Let me catch a greater view of You. Help me to see Your plan with fresh eyes. Instruct me in which way I should go.
YOU HAVE SAVED ME – Thank You for Your saving grace. Not knowing Your plan is rough, but life apart from You would be far worse. Thank You that I can cling to You. You are my God, and the salvation You have planned and purchased for me through Jesus’ death and resurrection is far greater than anything I could dream up or desire.
Not knowing Your plan is rough, but life apart from You would be far worse.
I WILL WAIT FOR YOU – Whether I can see why or not, You have me in this place for a reason and I will wait for Your guidance. I trust You. I trust that Your will and design are far better than mine. I will wait for Your direction, and as I wait I will serve You. I will watch for You in my day. I will look for Your movement. Thank You for the blessing of knowing You are in control.
by: Nikki Watermolen
Nikki has been a faithful attendee at RSBC since its inception. She eagerly worships Jesus in the church body using gifts of music, hospitality, and caring for women and girls of all ages.
READ Philippians 3:12-4:1
How would you summarize this passage in one sentence?
The metaphor of running a race is common in the New Testament as a description of the Christian life.
Deeper into Philippians 3:12-4:1
In Real Life
Who do you know that aims to honor the Bible’s commands from a glad heart for the right reasons? What do you perceive as their motivation(s)?
Have you ever known someone who seemed to be keeping Biblical commands for the wrong reasons? What reasons? How did it effect that person?
READ Philippians 3:1-11 and listen carefully to how Paul addresses the dangers of legalism and self-righteousness.
Confronting Our Self-righteousness
b. family background: thinking my family’s heritage or practices automatically connect me to God
c. title: achieving God’s favor and approval through my titles, roles, and achievements
d. rule keeping: working to be a good enough person for God to love and give a place in Heaven
e. zeal: being sincere and passionate to prove my allegiance and to deserve eternal life
Counting Rubbish And Chasing Joy
Close in prayer based on what the Holy Spirit has taught you and highlighted as significant for you in this study.
Leave A Legacy
Our culture has largely shifted from a mindset of “leave a lasting legacy for others” to “live in the moment for yourself.”
READ 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
Legacy Examples: Timothy and Epaphroditus
READ Philippians 2:19-30 to hear Paul’s praise of Timothy and Epaphroditus’ lifestyles.
In all the Bible, Timothy and Epaphroditus are never recorded to have performed a miracle.
Write 3 or 4 sentences about what you would like your legacy to be. What will you need to do in order to pursue those aims?