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REFLECT

Hammers, power tools, explosives — construction sites can be super dangerous places, especially during demolition phases, unless you’re specially trained to navigate worksites. The crazy thing is, so often when God moves into our lives, it feels like he turns our hearts into a construction site, where he’s totally rebuilding everything. And sometimes it hurts. But God’s salvation plan for us always involves an invitation to renovation. Join us this Sunday for our next message, as we lean into the painful parts of God’s renovation plan and find wholeness and life unlike anything we’ve ever known before.

REALIZE

1.  You are wild, and you need help.

John 15:1-2
Leader Notes

  • All throughout the Bible, “the vine” is a common image for God’s people. Jesus even refers to himself as the True Vine in this passage. We are all like “wild vines,” which Jesus has chosen and grafted into his own family, so we can grow, connected to his life as our source.
  • We need the help of God to walk with him and embrace our new identities in Christ. The world continually seeks to strip our identities from us. Satan wants us to forget who we are.
  • As a result, even when we’re walking with Jesus, we all end up with unhealthy ways of dealing with the stresses of life – reflex responses that are survival techniques, rather than ways Jesus has called us to live. In fact, so often the reflexes we develop in life are destructive to us and end up pulling us further away from who God has called us to be.
  • Part of growing in Jesus is realizing we can’t do what we want to do all the time.
  • Because Jesus is the True Vine, he always tells us the truth about ourselves. And he’s the one who tells us the truth about who we are when we’ve lost ourselves.

What are your unhealthy reflexes, and what can you do to overcome them?

2.  You are loved, but you forget.

John 15:9-10
Leader Notes

  • God loves us with the same love he has for his Son, Jesus. That’s an infinite and unchanging love, not based on anything we’ve done. However, it’s easy to forget we’re loved when our enemy is trying to convince us we are people other than who God says we are (as discussed in #1).
  • When we forget we’re loved, we start to return to our “unhealthy reflexes.” Reminding ourselves of God’s love helps us love him in return. On a practical level, loving God means trusting his guardrails in our lives. (God’s commandments are our guardrails).

In what ways have you forgotten you are loved by God, and what can you do to remind yourself of his love?

3.  You are free from sin and death.

John 15:16
Leader Notes

  • When we first follow Jesus, he frees us from sin and death once for all. And then he begins what feels like a total construction project on our hearts to renovate us from the patterns of sin that hang on in our lives. It is because of his love for us, that God does this intense and often painful work in our lives. Sin is called sin because it is by nature destructive.
  • It’s important to remember that although the Gospel is opposed to earning (meaning, we can’t earn salvation), spiritual formation (becoming more like Jesus) is not at all opposed to effort. We can partner with the work God is doing in our lives by intentionally cutting out places where sin and death still take root in our lives. That takes some honesty and vulnerability with ourselves, but once we identify the issues we’re facing, we can more easily address them.

What are the intentional things you can do this week to free yourself from sin and death, and what would that look like on a practical level?