Think About It!
In every great story of fiction we find a few key characters: there’s always a hero trying to head home, and there are always characters trying to help or hinder the hero. In the same way, our own choices can either help or hinder our journeys forward. Reliving the past makes us our own worst enemies––it keeps us stuck, often in shame or regret, and unable to progress! As 2020 winds down, if we look ahead and keep our eyes fixed on the one who holds our futures, we can move forward without anxiety. And that’s the journey we want to get going on, together as a family of faith!
Talk About It!
1. We are all in process.
- Do you know who the Apostle Paul was? The Apostle Paul, who wrote this letter to the Philippians, was a Pharisee (a powerful religious leader). He murdered Christians and did his best to stop what Jesus was doing, until he had an encounter with Jesus himself. The book of Philippians reminds us Jesus is King.
- What has Jesus already taught you, and what is he teaching you now? All of us are on a journey with Jesus. Even Paul said he was still learning things from Jesus. It’s important to look back at where we’ve been and remember that we are fully loved and accepted by Jesus. When we understand how much he loves us, we don’t have to look like we’ve got it all together.
2. We must be generous with God’s grace.
- Have you ever had to tell someone that what they were doing was wrong? That’s called correction, and there are times when we need to do it, to stand up for what’s right. But sometimes, it’s even harder to see that someone is doing something wrong, and to give them grace and space. That means that we pray for them, and let the Lord teach them how to do the right thing instead of correcting them ourselves.
- Have you ever wanted to tell someone that they were wrong, and instead decided to give them grace and space? It’s really hard to know when to correct and when to give grace and space. We have to ask the Lord to show us the difference between moments for gentle correction and for grace and space. We have to believe that Jesus loves that person more than we do, and he is going to work with them, just like he’s working with us.
3. Jesus is the prize.
- Are there any people in your life who are so kind toward others, that you want to be like them? Paul had been following Jesus for so long that he told the Phlippians to imitate the way he followed Jesus. We have to ask ourselves the question, “Would it be a good thing if the people around me imitated the way I talked, treated people, and followed Jesus?”
- How do you know when you’re acting like Jesus? We’re acting like Jesus, when we can be patient and kind with difficult people. Paul had lots of difficult people in his life, and his attitude toward them was a clear sign of his closeness with Christ.
4. Don’t settle. The best is yet to come.
- Do you ever get impatient while you’re waiting? We’re all waiting for a lot of things, but more than anything, we’re waiting for Jesus to come back for us. Sometimes, when we’re waiting for something, we get tired, and we don’t do a good job of waiting. It’s important that while we wait for Jesus, we don’t forget how he has asked us to live.
- How can we do a good job waiting for Jesus to come back? Often, a bad attitude while waiting comes from a doubt in God’s goodness or in the wisdom of his timing. But if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and remember how good he is, we can trust that the best is always yet to come.
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- What makes you say that?
- How does that make you feel?
- How would you explain this to someone who doesn’t know Jesus?
- Why do you think God did it that way?
- Why should we do the things that God tells us?