"So here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—'your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life'—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't be so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-informed maturity in you." - Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Thoughts for Today
A life-controlling problem is anything that masters our life and draws us away from God. Often things start out innocently, but even a normal activity like eating can master our lives.
Consider this …
Do you find yourself in this trap? Is there something in your life that is beginning to invade your thoughts too often, to unduly influence your actions? Perhaps you are involved in a relationship that is causing you to make poor choices. Maybe you are so involved in your career that your marriage is suffering and you just can't seem to find time for church. Maybe it's drinking or taking drugs or pursuing pornography. Or it might be a hobby that is becoming all-consuming.
Be honest with yourself—and with Jesus. He wants to help you, no matter what the problem is. Talk to him. Ask him to forgive you and help you. He loves you unconditionally. He may abhor what you are doing, but his love for you is as strong as ever.
If you sense a life-controlling problem building in your life—or one that has already taken control—take a moment to be honest with yourself. Do you want to be set free? If your answer is yes, then find a private place right now to talk to God. Tell him what you are feeling. Ask for his forgiveness … and his help. This will be your first giant step toward freedom. Fix your attention on God. Now find an accountability partner to help you as you move along the path of healing.
Father, I know what I'm doing is wrong, and yet I don't seem to be able to help myself. I need your help. Please forgive me and help me get my life turned around. I really do want to do things your way. Help me to fix my attention on you. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character, it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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