Every time we learn something new, we’re faced with a decision: will we allow what we’ve learned to change us for the better? As we wrap up our crazy happy journey, we have choices to make and a will to exercise. Will we choose to walk in the Spirit and practice Jesus’ teachings in the Beatitudes? Will we let the Spirit bear his fruit in our lives? Let’s conclude our journey as a family of faith with decisions that reflect a holy intentionality.
1. Kindness matters
- The key to being kind to others is first receiving the kindness Jesus showed us. He demonstrated that ultimately in his death and resurrection, but every day he treats us with more kindness than we treat ourselves.
- It matters, then, that we speak kindly to ourselves and to others in our lives. The running narrative in our head should be one of kindness and generosity, this applies to what we say to others and to ourselves.
Describe a time when you truly felt and experienced the Lord’s kindness to you. How do you need to extend that kindness to yourself today? How can you extend it to someone else?
2. Goodness leads to repentance
- It’s really common to see people in contemporary society trying to provoke others into changing how they think and live, but Paul reminds the Romans that God’s goodness leads people to repent. We don’t have to argue people into the love of God. His love speaks for itself.
- When we treat people with goodness even when they don’t deserve it, we are extending the same grace we have received from God.
What does the statement “God’s goodness leads us to repentance” mean? How do you see that truth manifesting itself in your own life? Is there anything you need to repent of today?
3. Be faithful like your Father
- Lots of us have dads that were not faithful to their families or their jobs or something else, but our Heavenly Father is the most faithful person we’ll ever meet.
- God is always consistent and trustworthy and faithful. As we walk with him, he transforms us to become faithful like he is.
What are the commitments and relationships the Lord has given you to be faithful in? If you have neglected any of those commitments, how can you change and return to faithfulness this week?
4. Be gentle because everything is fragile
- Because we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we all have different sorts of fragility. We can break easily over sharp words or hurtful treatment. Just like children, humans of all ages grow in the presence of love and gentleness.
- God describes his own gentleness as being like a nursing mother toward her baby, so if you can picture God interacting with you with that kind of compassion and tenderness, then you can extend that same tenderness to others too! It’s yet another way God’s character is counter-cultural for us, but when we live out his character, we start to see his world come together in the way he intended.
How is God convicting you to demonstrate gentleness with others this week? How do you need to be gentle with yourself?
5. Self-control is holy intentionality
- When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, he helps us live in a way we wouldn’t on our own. He helps us set up boundaries! Life is most beautiful lived within the boundaries God sets for us.
- While the world doesn’t understand denying ourselves, God has our best interests at heart. He wants us to pursue things that are for our eternal benefit, not things that feel good fleetingly but destroy our souls.
What are the most important boundaries God has commanded you to live within? How is the Lord inviting you into greater self-control?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?