We all come from a family, but it means something different to each of us…For some of us, our family is a source of great pain and sadness, and for others, our family is a source of great joy and strength. No matter our family background, when we follow Jesus, He places us in a brand new family, the church, and there’s a work of healing God wants to do in and through us as we live in this new community. Join us this Sunday as we find relational healing together, in ways we never dared imagine.
1. Help one another.
- It seems like such a “no brainer” to help others as a follower of Jesus. Probably most of us think of serving others as an essential part of our Christian faith. The way Paul describes helping one another is perhaps different from how we understand it in our contemporary western society.
- Paul is describing a lifestyle of helpfulness and service to others that is not limited by the fear of sacrifice. The groups of people he lists as examples of helpfulness and service didn’t have much to give — but they gave what they had, trusting God to supply their needs.
Our generosity to others hinges on our trust in God. When we trust in his abundance, we need not fear scarcity.
Describe what it would look like for you to, not just help someone once in a while, but live a lifestyle of helpfulness and service to others.
2. Finish well, and then do the next thing.
- As we near the end of the book of Romans, Paul tells the church at Rome he wants to come visit them — but first he has to finish what he started. As we walk with Jesus, he leads us in and out of different seasons. Getting started on something new can be challenging, but finishing what we start can be challenging too.
- In each of our lives, God has given us things we know he’s called us to do, and before we run on to the next thing, we need to finish what we started. Take some time in your groups to reflect on the things God is calling you to finish well…and what are some next steps you can prepare to take.
What is one thing you are currently struggling to finish well? What would it look like to finish that, and what do you think is the next thing God has for you?
3. Pray for each other.
- Prayer, like helping others, is another task that probably all of us associate with the Christian life. Paul frames prayer in this passage as part of joining him in his work for the gospel. When we pray, we are not just talking into the air — we are doing hard and practical work on behalf of the kingdom of God!
- It’s important to remember that prayer is both an involuntary, continual part of life with Jesus and a spiritual discipline. So it’s something we do all the time, throughout the day, as well as a discipline we set aside time for and pursue with intentionality.
Describe what your prayer life looks like right now. What would it look like for you to grow in the disciplined practice of prayer, especially on behalf of others?
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?