Our main takeaway from 1 John 3:3-9 is this: What you practice is who you are.
There are thousands of messages in the world that serve to muddy the waters on what Christianity actually is. Some of those messages come from our culture in general and some of those messages some from churches.
Part of the problem is that we like the ability to determine for ourselves what a Christian life should be. People often look around for the teaching that reflects the kind of life that they want to lead and call that teaching their own version of Christianity. This is why we must look to Scripture for an accurate account of who Jesus is and what he does in our lives.
We should be able to walk away from 1 John with a clear picture of what a Christian looks like and what she does not look like. The misrepresentations that we see today about sin and righteousness are not much different that the misrepresentations of the first century. We can always appeal directly the person of Jesus to know how we ought to live and why we ought to live that way.
One major misconception that many believers carry is that we will instantly become the type of person we ought to be. Our failures become devastating to us because don’t expect to have to practice in order to be made righteous.
We should not miss the language of disciplined practice that is used in 1 John 3:3-9. My kids like to tell me that practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes better. In the Christian life we have the promise that those who practice, WILL BE perfect. The only path presented to move forward in the Christian life is one where we are continually striving toward righteousness.
- Why do humans like to skip practice and go straight to the game?
- Describe one thing that you are good at today because you dedicated time to practicing?
- What do you think it looks like to “practice sin?”
- How does it look different to “practice righteousness?”
- How does practicing something allow failures to turn into opportunities to grow?
- What role does God’s grace play in practicing righteousness?
- Are you viewing your failures as opportunities to grow through practice or reasons to give up?
Ask these questions of your group as you begin to work to identify where they are at in the discipleship pathways (Exploring Christ, Growing in Christ, Christ-centered) that we have talked about as group leaders. Keep in mind that we are not merely interested in box checking religious acts. We are seeking to shepherd group members to evaluate how their measurable actions reflect their personal journeys of faith.
These questions will be on the discussion guide each week, so if you don’t get to all of them, you will have a chance over the next few weeks. If you need more information as a discussion leader, please contact Jonathan Pugh.
- Have you come to a place in your life where you can say that you have trusted God for salvation?
- Have you publicly stated that faith through believers’ baptism?
- How are you serving God with your time?
- In what ways are you making prayer a part of your daily life?
- How is your personal Bible study going this week?
- Have you been able to talk about faith with somebody outside of church this week?
- How are you currently being led to give of your resources to God’s work?
Try breaking into groups of three or four for a brief prayer time to close. You may simply want to break into men and women. Give each group member the opportunity to pray for the person on his/her right to be encouraged in his/her Christian walk this week.