DISCOVERY QUESTIONS

Series: How God Guides Us
Topic: Making Godly Decisions | 1/12-13/2019
Main Idea: God can and does provide guidance in the decisions we make.

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GROUP DISCUSSION

Lean In

Have you ever been physically “lost” (like on a vacation or in a shopping mall when you were a kid)? What was that experience like? How did you find your way back?

Look Down

There are 10 passages in the Bible which use the precise phrase, “the will of God” (thelema tou theos in the original Greek, in which the New Testament was written). We’ve listed five of those passages below. What do these passages teach us about God’s will?

Mark 3:31-35
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Romans 12:1-2
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 6:5-6
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Look Out

When people often talk about God’s will, they use it to refer to some “mysterious” plan that God has for our future that we have to figure out, a plan that includes decisions like who God wants us to marry, what job He wants us to take, etc. How does the Bible’s teaching (question #2) differ from this understanding? What clarity does that bring to our discussion of “God’s will”? What confusion or lingering questions does it bring?

Look In

A. This past weekend we learned that though God doesn’t always tell us what to do—and leaves many decisions up to us—He can and does offer wisdom and guidance in the major decisions we make. Describe a time in your life when you had to make a major decision and asked God for guidance. How did you seek His guidance? Through prayer? Through Scripture? By seeking wise counsel? How did God provide guidance? How did you arrive at the decision you made and what was the outcome of it?

B. How does knowing that God leaves many decisions up to us bring you freedom? How can it make things more difficult?

C. Last weekend we learned that, first and foremost, “the will of God is for us to be transformed by the Word of God, all for the glory of God.” What is something that you know God would want to form within you in 2019? Share that with your group. (If you’re stuck, think of the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control. Is there one quality in particular you could focus on this year?) How can you begin to put that into practice in 2019?

Live It Out

Is there a major decision in front of you right now? We learned this weekend that it’s good to pursue godly counsel in the decisions we are making. Share with your group the decision you’re wrestling with and allow them to speak into it. Be sure to pray for one another after each person shares.

LEADER GUIDE

Lean In

Purpose: Introduce topic and get everyone talking.

Have you ever been physically “lost” (like on a vacation or in a shopping mall when you were a kid)? What was that experience like? How did you find your way back?

This is a “lighter” question intended to get the conversation going.

Look Down

Purpose: Observe the passage and interact with the text.

There are 10 passages in the Bible which use the precise phrase, “the will of God” (thelema tou theos in the original Greek, in which the New Testament was written). We’ve listed five of those passages below. What do these passages teach us about God’s will?

Mark 3:31-35
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Romans 12:1-2
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 6:5-6
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

There are many things Jesus tells us about love and kindness in this passage, starting with the context of this parable, Luke 10:25-29, and heading into the parable itself and the concluding verses. Below is a small sampling of them.

You may want to assign these verses to various people in your group. You could also ask groups of two to look up the passage together, discuss between themselves what it teaches us about God’s will, and then share it with the group.

Mark 3:31-35 – Here Jesus is saying that He considers His “family” anybody who does the will of God. Here the “will of God” refers to the commands of Scripture.

Romans 12:1-2 – Here Paul tells us that the “will of God” is to be transformed in our mind so that we can live out God’s commands in Scripture, commands which go against what the rest of the world teaches.

Ephesians 6:5-6 – Here we are told that “slaves” must obey their “masters” (the modern equivalent of this would be “employees” obeying their “bosses”). To do this is to follow the “will of God.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3 – Here we learn that the “will of God” is our sanctification, a word that means to be “made holy.” Specifically we are told that God’s will is sexual purity.

1 John 2:15-17 – Here we are told not to love the “world” (in 1 John, the “world” is shorthand for everything that stands against God). Those that love and do what God’s word tells us to do, however, practice the “will of God.”

Look Out

Purpose: Connect observations in God’s Word with observations in our world today.

When people often talk about God’s will, they use it to refer to some “mysterious” plan that God has for our future that we have to figure out, a plan that includes decisions like who God wants us to marry, what job He wants us to take, etc. How does the Bible’s teaching (question #2) differ from this understanding? What clarity does that bring to our discussion of “God’s will”? What confusion or lingering questions does it bring?

All of the verses in question #2 teach us that the “will of God” in Scripture has nothing to do with some mysterious plan God has for our future that we have to figure out. Rather, God’s will is for us to obey the commands of the Bible. First and foremost, God’s will is for us to be obedient to what he has already said. On one hand, this makes things easier for us – we don’t have to worry about figuring out God’s plan for us and worry that we’ll get it wrong. Instead, we’re free to live in the present and simply obey what God has told us to do. At the same time, this may raise questions about whether or not God does indeed have a plan for us. To answer that, we are told in Scripture that God does indeed have a plan for each of us – but nowhere are we told that we have to figure out that plan ahead of time.

Live It Out

Purpose: Internalize God’s Word and apply the truth to your personal life.

A. This past weekend we learned that though God doesn’t always tell us what to do—and leaves many decisions up to us—He can and does offer wisdom and guidance in the major decisions we make. Describe a time in your life when you had to make a major decision and asked God for guidance. How did you seek His guidance? Through prayer? Through Scripture? By seeking wise counsel? How did God provide guidance? How did you arrive at the decision you made and what was the outcome of it?

B. How does knowing that God leaves many decisions up to us bring you freedom? How can it make things more difficult?

C. Last weekend we learned that, first and foremost, “the will of God is for us to be transformed by the Word of God, all for the glory of God.” What is something that you know God would want to form within you in 2019? Share that with your group. (If you’re stuck, think of the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control. Is there one quality in particular you could focus on this year?) How can you begin to put that into practice in 2019?

For part “B,” it can be freeing to know that I don’t have to try and “figure out” some plan of God before I make a decision; that I can make it and trust that the decision I make is God’s will for me. At the same time, it does put more responsibility on us. If we make a decision and it goes wrong, we can’t blame God for a wrong decision, saying, “well, it was God’s will after all!” Instead, we realize that we are responsible for the decisions we make. That being said, we believe that God is always with us and can bring good out of any decision we have made.

For part “C,” it’s important to talk about setting not just “doing” goals, but also “being” goals. These are goals that involve the type of people we want to be; the character we want to develop. God is interested in developing our character, and so it’s good to work on things like patience, kindness, love, etc. By practicing these qualities in our daily life, these qualities will become more and more reflected in our character.

Look In

Purpose: Imagine what your world would look like if the truths from the passage were lived out.

Is there a major decision in front of you right now? We learned this weekend that it’s good to pursue godly counsel in the decisions we are making. Share with your group the decision you’re wrestling with and allow them to speak into it. Be sure to pray for one another after each person shares.

This may be stretching for your group, but it’s a great exercise. Make sure that the group doesn’t try to tell the person what to do or make the decision for them. Rather, let the group offer input and wisdom. It’s always good to look at decisions from different angles, and we want to provide an opportunity for that here. As the question states, pray for each person in their decision – that God would give wisdom and resolve to whoever has to make the decision. (You may even want to open up this final question with a time of prayer before people share, asking God to give wisdom to the people in the group.)