How not to settle for less than God’s best.
PHILLIPIANS SG WK12
Note to leaders: Do not feel that you have to use every question. Pick and choose as the Spirit leads you but don’t skip over the first question in the discussion from the message!
Warm Up: In your dreams of the ideal life, are you more like the pioneer (always pushing on over the next horizon) or the settler (staying put and putting down roots)?
Background: It’s not enough to start with a bang. You’ve also got to end well and in order to do that you’ve got to grow. Too many people enter the Christian life with great enthusiasm only to disappear into mediocrity somewhere along the way. Contrary to what many Christians think, following Jesus Christ is not a weekend hobby—like collecting stamps or playing golf. It demands a total commitment of your life.
Text: Phil. 3:12-16
- Using the analogy of a race, where does Paul picture himself in his spiritual life? Does this surprise you considering Paul’s spiritual track record?
- What prize is Paul straining forward to reach and hopes to win? How does this relate to his goal in life (3:9-10)?
- How can a person know that Christ has laid hold of him? What are some signs of true conversion?
- What things in Paul’s past do you think he would like to forget and put behind him? What things in your past would you like to forget and put behind you?
- How can a Christian know how much (if any) to delve into the past? Do we need to work through “repressed” memories, etc.? Support your answer biblically.
- Should every Christian have clearly defined written goals? Do you suppose Paul did? How can goals help? Can they hinder?
From the Message: Phil. 3:12-16
- What spoke to you the most from the message and why? What challenged you the most? Don’t rush by this!
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” What are you aiming for in your spiritual life right now? What goals are you setting and striving for?
- Pastor Steve said, “A good thing can become a bad thing if it keeps us away from the best thing.” How so? When does it cross the line?
- Pastor Steve said, “The Christian life isn’t a 100 yard dash; it’s a lifelong marathon.” Which way do you think most Christians approach their spiritual growth; with a sprinter’s mindset or a marathoner’s determination?
- How can we determine what is God’s part and what is our part in the Christian life?
- Are you at the perfect place your should be right now in your spiritual race considering how long you’ve known Christ? Why or why not?
- Pray About It: How can this group pray for you in this area? How can we pray for one another as it comes to a deeper and more personal relationship with Jesus?
Reflect: Dish TV has a series of commercials called “Settlers”. They settle for cable because that’s what they’ve always done when something better is available. I hate this series of commercials because I believe it reflects the mindset of so many Christians… they are settlers when God has called them to be pioneers! Don’t be a settler when God has something much better in store for you! Keep moving forward! Keep growing in your faith and in your relationship with God!
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (MSG)
For Personal Study: 1 Corinthians 9:24–27, 2 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:1–2.
- What is the prize for which the Christian runs?
- What does Paul say about how he was running?
- What does he say to Timothy about running?
- What does this author tell us about the Christian race?