Summary: Why bother with spiritual disciplines? What’s the point? Paul says that he considers all the "things" he did worthless so doesn’t that get us off the hook?? Well...
For those of you who were on the winter retreat, you will remember that on Saturday night Greg talked about what it means to have a real walk with God and how to continue to grow in our relationships with Him. He expressed that we all needed to be taking in “Daily Nutrition” if we really wanted to become more like Christ. During our group conversation, I felt that idea was something that the majority of the group picked up on. It seemed like person after person was expressing things like, “I want to read my Bible more,” “I want my relationship with God to be better,” and “I need that daily nutrition that Greg was talking about.”
Having heard that from the majority of you and even from the adult leader’s that were there, I thought it would be helpful and good to spend some time over the next few Breakaway’s talking about this idea of spiritual disciplines and things that will help us jump deeper into a relationship with God and make us more like Him.
Before we jump in, I want to just quickly repeat what I shared last week about the weekly Bible Readings we provide for you. From now on, all of the readings will have to do with what we will be discussing the following Monday. If you have read during the week, it will allow to get a lot more out of our times together. I think this will be a great way for us all to work together to take in that daily nutrition and really jump deeper into a relationship with God.
The other thing that I shared last week was a heads up to be expecting the following question in small groups or hanging out downstairs from the leaders AND I want to encourage you guys to ask the question as well; both to your peers as well as to the leaders. That question is this, “How have you been spending time with God this week and what have you been learning?” It’s pretty simple but yet I think it will challenge all of us to really think about God and how He plays a role in our everyday lives.
That being said I want start out tonight with a little group activity to help us think about spiritual disciplines. On the screen, you will see a list of six disciplines and I want you guys to get in little groups with the people around you and rate these in order of importance to being a “good” Christian, 1 being the most important, 6 being the least.
_____ Reads the Bible often
_____ Goes to church regularly
_____ Willing to stand up for Jesus in public
_____ Fasts regularly
_____ Knows a lot about God and theology
_____ Can pray publicly
(Above taken from Duffy Robbins)
***Give the youth a minute or two to put them in order and then quickly go through the responses***
Well, I have to admit that this was sort of a trick question. See, this list of disciplines is actually a list of things that the Pharisees and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day stressed and pushed on all of the people. These were the things that they were doing and forcing on everyone else in order to be a “good” Jew and be in good favor with God. The truth of the matter is that none of these things makes you a “good” Christian and will not earn God’s love or acceptance.
I wanted to do this activity to stress the difference between doing things – like reading your Bibles, going to church or praying in public – to be a “good” Christian and doing them to grow closer to Jesus because there is a huge difference between the two.
Let’s open our Bibles to Philippians 3:1-14 and see what Paul has to say about this as he wrote to the church in a city called Philippi.
***Read Philippians 3:1-14***
As Paul wrote to the church in Philippi there was a huge debate going on which is what Paul speaks to in this part of his letter. See, there was a group of people who were known as Judaizers who were Jewish Christians and they taught and stressed that anyone who became a follower of Jesus had to follow all of the rules, laws and guidelines in the Old Testament in order to be “good” Christians. They especially put a lot of emphasis on circumcision which was what God told Abraham back in the book of Genesis that all Jewish boys were to have done as a sign of being under God’s covenant or promise. The faith of the Judaizers was focused so much on what they had to do rather than on what Christ had done for them.