1. CONTINUING A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
What can be more natural than for two people who love each other to communicate? One would expect to see plenty of communication between a person and the God he loves with his whole heart, mind and soul. However, this does not come naturally. Satan uses many schemes to keep us from a deep relationship with God. The good news is these can all be overcome if we are willing to prioritize our relationship with God and rely on Him.
A. Prayer – Speaking to God
Make this your priority - Mark 1:35
• He found a place and time away from distractions.
What is the best time and place for you?
Recognize your dependency on Him – Hebrews 5:7
• Why do you think Jesus prayed this way?
Does your prayer life reflect that you see your desperate need for God? How can you rely more on God?
God longs to strengthen you – 2 Chronicles 16:9 and Jeremiah 30:21b
Hindrances to Speaking with God
• 1Peter 4:7 – lack of concentration
• Psalm 66:18 – lack of personal righteousness
• Luke 18:1-8 - lack of persistence
• Mark 11:24 – lack of faith
What is the biggest hindrance for you? How will you fight this?
B. Listening to God
In order to remain in God, you must stay in his Word – Mathew 4:4
Work at your bible study
Equip yourself - 2 Timothy 2:15
Practice what you learn – James 1:22-25
• Set a time to read the bible and pray
• Write down convicting points from your bible study and pray about them
• Write down scriptures that impact you
• Keep notes of what you do not understand and ask for clarification
• Find a special spot to pray at
• Make memories with God by being creative with you times with him. Go on walks, write him letters, have a date with him etc.
2. WALKING IN THE LIGHT
God predestined you to have a relationship with him even though he knew you would sin. Contrary to the worlds thinking, the more you talk about your weakness and are honest about your temptations, the stronger you will be. As you uncover who you really are, you will find that you are not alone and will develop deeper relationships with the body.
• Hidden sin will separate you from God -Psalm 66:18
• Confessing sin is essential to walking with God – 1 John 1:5-10
• Hiding sin will bring emotional torment and physical pain – Psalm 32:1-7
• Being humble about sin draws you near to God – Psalm 51
Lies That Prevent Confession Of Sin
If I confess sin, I will not be accepted, I will not tell my disciple, because he/she can’t help me, people will get tired of hearing about this, nobody will understand this struggle, I can just deal with this on my own, this is not such a big deal.
• What lies are you most likely to believe?
• What type of things are you most likely to struggle with?
• Satan is the father of lies and is looking to devour you - 1 Peter 5:8
Shame vs Guilt
• Remember that no sin is too shameful to discuss and nothing is unforgiveable.
• Guilt is good; the holy spirit uses it to convict us of wrong.
• On the other hand, shame is a negative message about oneself as a person as a whole.
• Shameful message: I’m stupid!
• Conviction from Guilt: What I did was stupid.
• God did not make junk. You’re awesome!
• Discuss the specific areas that were more difficult to be open about while becoming a Christian.
• Discuss areas that are still difficult to be honest about now.
• Talk about sin at the temptation level.
• Make it a goal to confess on a daily basis.
• Be honest about fears, insecurities and hurt feelings
3. FAITH, WORKS & GRACE: THE BALANCE
One mark of a spiritual man/woman is the ability to maturely act based upon his/her faith. However, the mature in Christ must also recognize that on our own, we are still sinners in need of a savior. As saints who sin, we must always see our need for grace.
Hebrews 11:6 – we need faith to please God, but what is faith?
James 2:14 – 16 – Faith is more than an intellectual belief, it results in action. (Also read James 2:20-24)
Note the interrelationship between faith and obedience.
Ephesians 2:8-10 – the bible clearly teaches that we are not saved by our own efforts, but this does not mean that God does not expect anything from us. In fact, he has created us to glorify him by doing good works. (Also read Matt. 5:14-16)
Even our most righteous acts cannot satisfy the glory that God truly deserves (Isaiah 64:6), and therefore we need grace.
Titus 3:5 – We are saved, not because of our righteous deeds, but because of his mercy.
Grace is unmerited (undeserved) favor or mercy.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – grace is meant to have an effect in our lives (It actually compels us to work)
Titus 2:11-14 – it is because of grace that we strive to live self-controlled, upright lives.
God’s grace should compel you to live a righteous life and to live in obedience to God’s word. At this time in life, you are a college student. What kind of student should God’s grace compel you to be?
Colossians 3:22-23 – out of reverence for God, you must respect all authority in your life, including professors. It vital to strive to be the best student YOU can be. To have consistent motivation, work for God, not for self.
• How are your academics going?
• What steps will you take to honor God with your academics?
Mark 7:37 – You will amaze family and friends if you try to excel in all areas.
4. RELATIONSHIPS IN THE BODY
In our relationships with others, God calls us to “consider others better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Church is not meant to be simply something we attend, it is an opportunity to encourage and meet needs.
Kingdom Relationships are Different
John 13:34-35 – Jesus commanded us to love each other as he has loved us.
• How has Jesus loved you? In what ways can you love others in a similar way?
1 Peter 1:22 – Our love for each other must be sincere and from the heart?
1 John 3:16 – Our love for each other can be measured by how much we are willing to sacrifice for them.
Colossians 1:28 – Lets be concerned about each other’s spiritual well being.
• Do you pray for others?
• Do you ask others how they are doing and have deep talks with them? If not, begin doing this.
• Do you normally make it a goal to encourage others at church or do you find yourself standing around alone? If you are normally alone and don’t have deep friendships, why do you think this is?
• What can you do to encourage others?
• What steps can you take to serve the body?