small group studies
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but you will be saved” Philippians 1:27-28
I don’t care who said what, does what, plans to do what… you are responsible for you.. and you have to act right. By this- when I see you or hear things about you I will know who you’re really living for because you’re not scared or intimidated by any of these worldly things. When you’re not washed up by circumstances it’s proof that what’s temporary will come to ruin while Jesus comes to save.
That’s what this scripture means- act right when others arent “acting right”
Christian conduct is something you will have to teach yourself every day but somehow can never be taught enough. This is how I was saved. I will forever be grateful for hurtful words and difficult people.
You cannot wait on a fair world and an pretty circumstances to follow Jesus.
I’ve been reading in Luke and my church has also been studying a piece of scripture in Luke and several weeks ago in our small group that mentors me we talked about what it looks like to take up your cross daily and follow me. My fellow small group girls are reciting their memory verse right now but many of you don’t know it. It’s Luke 9:23.
“For anyone that wants to be my disciple- they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”
Now the cross to us means something a lot different than the cross to Jesus’s early early people. As the old people say back in the old days the cross was nothing but an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross was a one way trip. And y’all, it still is. (We will get more into this next week) We think of the cross as a glorious symbol of safety and power… and it is but we paint these pretty pictures in church that scream come get saved, it’s the best life. Come get saved, it’s forgiveness. Come get saved, it’s freedom. But nobody mentions the hard stuff. How many invitations have you heard that said come on down and accept Jesus, but it’s going to suck sometimes, you’re still going to hurt and get hurt, but awe just come on down cause Jesus is good. You don’t. We forget to share that side… and so when people accept Jesus, they are just set on fire, they are blazing it up and all of a sudden they hit a puddle and they don’t know what to do. Now hold on preacher, you said Jesus was good, my life would be good, my pain would be gone, I would be free. But what’s all this?
Hear this. People’s hearts do not change because Jesus changed yours. The cross is hard. The cross is heavy. The cross is still worth it.
It wasn’t until I knew God and understood who He was that I realized that all that time before I had not know Him at all.. I had just known of Him. I was going to church. I did a devotional every day. I prayed. Y’all I prayed every day. Over and over, I prayed for peace, for people’s hearts, for change- and God didn’t hear me and I couldn’t understand it. The Bible says pray with all your heart and these things will be given to you. To tears, daily, I would pray for peace. God, please! Have you ever just wanted to shake God and be like did you not hear me? I’ve been asking for this?! Hey, do I need to write it down? If you have.. Maybe you are now- God is teaching you something.
I won’t go into great details because I don’t want my story to get in the way of the message, but difficult people let Satan roar at me and I stopped praying. For three days I sat alone in my bed while my husband was at work and my children were with their father and I told myself “katie, breathe” every breath I took. My heart, my chest was so heavy and breathing felt like a decision. I’ve heard God speak to me twice and on that third day was the first time. He told me Stop. You’re ready now and I’m going to use this time and your life to do big things.
And He has. That was January 11th 2017.
If you cannot read this scripture, turn your bibles to Titus chapter 3. Read verses 1-8. Remember what I told you I prayed for? Peace. Read what I wrote in the margins, notice the date.
This scripture. THIS yall, is life. MY life, YOUR life. We are an ungrateful, hateful, nasty, selfseeking people. I AM. We are. God did not answer my prayers because I was asking for peace in relationships and not just peace. Do y’all know what peace is? Peace means freedom from disturbance. Peace does not mean perfect relationships in a perfect world. Paul tells us here, act right that Jesus says do good, do better, be more. Be kind! Stop talking about other people and instead talk about me. Accept me. Love me. Be restored by
“And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:8
It says be careful to commit to doing what’s good. Being careful tells you it’s not always going to be easy, but you’ve got to always try. Mama always said two wrong don’t make a right, baby, you gotta do the next right thing. Take up your cross daily. If we responded to every body that hurt our feelings the way we sometimes want to, all we’ve taught them is that Jesus does not take care of us- that Jesus is not good and neither are the people who follow Him. Conduct is so important yall.
Jesus hears you; Jesus heard me. We just have to get out of our own way. I thanked Jesus for peace just two weeks after the night He saved me and I had been praying for it for ten months. When you stop living your life for yourself and other people and start living it for Christ- other people’s conduct is not as offensive. You begin to see the things they’re missing before you can feel what they say.
As Jesus told Martha… you are worried about many things when you need only a few, indeed only one.
Everyday pick up your cross and everyday carry it with you even if somebody else left theirs at home. The scripture says they will be destroyed and you will be saved.
I love y’all!