Most of us live by a double standard. We judge ourselves one way, but we use a different set of rules for others. When we sin, we’re quick to explain the reasons behind our disobedience: “I was exhausted.” – “I didn’t know what I was doing.” – “I was under a lot of stress.”
When it comes to other people, however, that’s another case. We put on our judge’s robes and pronounce them guilty, regardless of the evidence: “He knew better.” – “This isn’t the first time she’s done this.” – “There’s just no excuse for that!”
It’s good to help your friends live the life God desires, but your first priority should be to make sure your own life is following God. When you’re diligent to keep sin out of your own heart, you’ll then be able to see others in the correct perspective. Whenever you’re involved in willful, deliberate sin, it distorts everything you see. But when your heart is pure, you won’t be so quick to condemn others for their sins, nor will you jump to conclusions about them. You’ll have the grace to help without judging. What makes us so comfortable with our own sins, yet so irritated and unforgiving by the sins of others?
PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe. As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second. I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You. I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You. I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. In Your name, Amen
God alone is God. You are not and I know without a shadow of a doubt I am not. However, we often times dictate to God our lives rather than submit to Him. We often times get more concerned about end results and fruit of our efforts rather than simply resting and abiding in who Jesus is in the moment. Reflect again on the scripture of this week. Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you’ve learned this week.
- Where or how have you seen God produce fruit within you in the last week, past month, or past year?
- Has God revealed to you an area of your life that needs pruning or that He’s attempting to prune?
- How can God use it to bear fruit in your life in the future?
- Are you abiding in Christ?
- What are times or situations that you realize you are not abiding in Christ?
PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Producing fruit is joyful, but it comes as the result of sacrifice – of pruning and abiding and seeking the heart of God. In this way, it should lead us to follow the example of Christ. Christ willingly sacrificed His life for you. When I dwell on that thought, I seek to examine my own life. Am I living a life as a living sacrifice or am I only living for me. We are either living for God or ourselves, but really you and God are the only ones that can answer that question. So who are you living for?
- Is my life a living sacrifice for Jesus? (see Romans 12:1-2)
- What can you do to more closely and consistently abide in Christ?
- How can we as a group intentionally help one another with this effort?
- What could God accomplish with The Connection Church if we all abiding together following Christ example?
PRAYER – Jesus, my Lord and Savior, how can I live for You today but to give You my life today. Tomorrow will take care of itself and I cannot go back and change anything that I did yesterday. You are my Messiah and Savior and Lord. Take today and guide me today for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The command to stay in a relationship with Christ is a life-changing one – the Son of God Himself not only allows us to draw near to Him, He desires it. And He promises that when we are walking connected closely to Him, our prayers will be powerful, our actions will impact others, and our joy will be full. What’s the level of your joy right now?
- How did Jesus model the truth in this passage? (see Matthew 6:6, Luke 6:12)
- What are some things you produced that didn’t last?
- What have you been a part of that has impacted someone forever?
- How is God seeking to produce fruit in you?)
PRAYER – Jesus, I desire to make an impact in this world not for my glory but Your glory. I desire to bear fruit for You in my life. Help me to seek You in everything I say and do. Help me to rely only on You. Show me when I fail to keep Your commands. Prune me to be more like You. In Your name, I pray Amen.
It may seem at times that people without Christ accomplish much, but no one can experience true significance apart from a relationship with Him. Jesus said as much by telling the disciples that if they remain in Him, they will produce much fruit. Abi.de means to rest. So remaining or resting in Him is all He has commanded for us to do. “Lean not on your own understanding.”
- What does it look like to remain or rest in Jesus?
- What does it mean for His words to remain in you?
- If you are abiding in Christ completely, how do you think that would change the way you pray or the way you relate to others?
- How is Jesus asking you to abide in Him today?
PRAYER – Jesus, thank You for the relationship with God that I have through You. Thank You for daily guiding me and showing me the way for my life. May I not rest in my own understanding or knowledge but in all my ways acknowledge You. You are the God of yesterday, today, & tomorrow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.