Beyond Sunday - Week 16

Beyond Sunday
Week of May 12, 2024
“Declaration of Freedom” 
When in Rome-Week 16Romans 8:1-39

Thoughts: I was uplifted by Pastor Troy’s encouragement to live free from judgement, defeat, discouragement, and fear. I latched onto that third one, discouragement, because that is one with which I personally struggle. As I pondered the message of Romans 8, I wondered, “Why do I so often get discouraged and frustrated?” I realized that I too often have unrealistic expectations. I think that some task, goal, or objective will be easy and quick. And then reality sets in. It isn’t easy, and it’s taking far more time than I hope. That triggers in me fear of failure, and impatience.
Fear of failure is really fear that I am not enough. Enough for…what; for whom? Who do I fear disappointing? Well, that’s a long and ever-changing list that depends on the situation. The real question is, who should I be trying to please. The answer is given right there in Romans 8, “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” My first concern in life should be to please God, my Abba Father. In that intimate relationship, God sees me as I saw my children when they were toddlers learning to walk. If I stumble and fall, He is not angry or disappointed. He is delighted that I have the sincere desire to walk to Him; He is sad and comforts me if I injured myself in my tumble; He is glad and cheers me on when I get back up and try again.
What about impatience? For me, it really comes from self-centeredness. I am impatient because there are other things I want to get to, usually self-indulgent, self-satisfying desires. They don’t even have to be sinful in any way, but I want it and I want it now. I am not waiting on the Lord; not putting His desires for me ahead of my own selfish wants. If I will seek Him and His will first, all my other needs and desires will be met…in His perfect timing and His way. I guess it really comes back to, who am I trying to please, myself, or God?
Perhaps you struggle more with one of the other three things Troy mentioned: judgement; defeat; or fear. Whatever your struggle, God has given you His Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you, and to intercede for you. Resolve to live free through His presence in you.

Read: Colossians 2:13-14, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57, 1 John 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Galatians 6:7-10, 1 John 4:17-18 

Discussion Questions:

• We are free from judgement, because the judgement that we deserved was suffered by Jesus on our behalf. When you read, “God made you alive with Christ,” what thoughts about God go through your mind?
• In WWII, following the event of Germany’s and Japan’s official surrender, there remained thousands of their soldiers who continued fighting because they either doubted the veracity of the formal surrender, or were not aware that the war had ended. The Allied Forces had to continue to fight, not for victory, but FROM victory. The Scriptures tell us, “…everyone born of God overcomes the world,” implying that this is a process, not an event.
o What have you overcome that you can celebrate and/or share with others?
o What of the world do you still need to overcome?
• Jesus knows that we can become weary and discouraged(1).
o In what area of life do you feel discouraged?
o From whom or what do you draw encouragement?
• How would explain the concept of “perfect love” that drives out fear?

Pray: Praise God for the gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit, through whom we have the power to live free. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing with His Power and Love. Pour out your heart to Him, sharing any judgement, defeat, discouragement, or fear with which you need His help.

Next Steps:

• Living the Christian life is not a “solo sport.” Check the website here to see what Summer small groups might fit your schedule.
• If you have put your faith in Jesus but have not yet been baptized, Sign up here to go public with your faith in Jesus by getting water baptized.
(1)Discouragement is the opposite of courage. Courage is “that quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or opposition with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness.”

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