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Life’s Healing Choices: Growth

Life's Healing Choices: Growth

Sermon Audio

Small Group Study Video

Life’s Healing Choices: The Growth Choice

Spiritual Growth; Spiritual Discipline; Prayer; Study

2 Peter 3:18; 2 John 8; John 15:4–8; Philippians 3:12–14

The Growth Choice: I reserve a daily time with God for Bible reading, self examination, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

This is week 7 of our series; and from what I have heard from some of you, many are finding real change as you work through these choices….

I tell my kids all the time, make healthy choices… and what I mean by that usually is … don’t do something stupid this weekend. You’ll have plenty of opportuntiies for mistakes, but when you get to make a choice, choose healthy relationships, healthy behaviors, healthy habits, healthy meals, you name it.

I know though that saying that sometimes

If we don’t think about each choice as healthy or not… we will naturally choose what sounds best in the moment… and you and I both know that the things that sound right in the moment usually aren’t tthat healthy.

More icecream

Worry about my kids

that’s why this week’s choice is so important.

Relief….Relax… Relapse

2 John 8 NIV
8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.

Scripture uses the picture of running a race to remind us how to live out these healing choices.

Paul wrote it this way:

Galatians 5:7 NIV
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?

You look at me and you think… If you look at me and think, I bet hes a runner…. first you need glasses, but second, I used to be… in fact I’m running a 5K… I started out ready and confident… along the way there were people stopping to walk, limping, tripping, stopping for water, when I got to the end I could hardly breather, nose running, legs aching, I was a mess. But I finished. I didn’t get a trophy because I didn’t win the race, but in the race of faith, winning is finishing

You are the only one who can win the race of your life…. you just have to finish

Overcoming sin in our lives is just like that, it’s not so much how we look after the race, it’s that we finish.

Today’s choice is about finishing the race. Living the tomorrows of our life free from hurts, habits, and hangups. Removing the sinful habits from our lives and living the life that Jesus came to make real in us. That life of freedom.

The Growth Choice: I reserve a daily time with God for Bible reading, self examination, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

2 Peter 3:18 NIV
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Jesus gives us a new life. But this new life is dramatically different from teh one we knew. We talked about this freedom before.

Just a dysfunctional life has a pattern…

…you’re spouse has died and you don’t really want to go out to see anyone else, but that leads to depression where you feel like going out to meet anyone. are

…You’re bitter towards your family who don’t come visit anymore, but when someone does, you can’t help but treat them in ways that make sure it’ll be even longer till they come back… Why do you do that?

…You’re successful… at least by every measure of our culture… but you are overwhelmed with responsibilities…. you don’t want to make a mistake because of the way it would affect others… how do you cope?

…you have a secret… and you don’t let people get close because you know they find out and you are scared how they will react, so you put on a good front, but you are worry that people will see through it…how do you hide it?

Just like there are patterns to dysfunctional living, there are patterns to healthy living that leads to spiritual growth; that’s what I want to talk about today. How to keep living out healthy choices. How to keep our spiritual growth on track as it were.

First, is no surprise:

I grow as I spend  time with Jesus

John, the gospel writer said it this way:

John 15:5–6 NIV
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

The source of our strength comes from being connected to the power source.

For us to grow spiritually, we need to keep our lives connected to Jesus.

1 John 3:6 NLT
6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

Maybe this will help you get this first point.

We can run after many things in this life.

God doesn’t direct our lives… forcing us to pursue one thing or another. He gives us options. We can pursue what ever we want. He did create to be in relationship with him though. That’s what I was created for; that’s the best place for me to be.
It’s like starting to run. Whats’ the best race for you? is it a marathon? probably not, is it a 5k, maybe. is it just around the block, more likely depending on your health. But the race you are called and created to run is the one Jesus is running. Make sure you are running the right race

What I find is that when I run with Jesus, sin isn’t such an issue; fear isn’t such an issue; joy becomes more normal; the sun is brighter and my approach to the sun is less ugh it’s bright and more wow

As I’m near Jesus, he actually changes me.

Jesus makes life better, Jesus makes me better at life.

First we need to be in the right place… with Jesus. That sets us up for success.

But don’t misunderstand, we are pretty limited creatures, even though we are in God’s image, scripture refers to us as jars of clay. But while we may be simple fragile clay jars, we have the ability to contain a power that is from God.

So how do we replace the contents of our jar with God’s power? Spending time with him in prayer, worship, listening, praying.

My son has an internship with a tech company in Salisbury. It’s a way for him to get real practical experience in the technology industry. He’s learning, it’s not about getting paid now. What he’s learning is what a career in technology is really about, not what he had imagined it was like.

I grow as I fill my  mind with Scripture

It’s the same for us as we grow spiritually. We need to change our way of thinking to be more in line with God’s way do thinking.

James the brother of Jesus said it this way:

James 1:25 NCV
25 But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy.

Understand this, the bible doesn’t save anyone. Knowing Scripture doesn’t change who you are, Jesus changes you, but filling our minds with God’s word is the best way to understand the character of Jesus. It’s the best way for us to know who we are trying to model our lives after.

Back to our running example from before… just like to run the right race we need to be in the right place, think of scripture as having the right fuel for the race.

John 8:31–32 ISV
31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples.32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The way to know what Jesus wants for our lives… not just where the spirit leads, but that is supported by what the Word says.

APPLICATION: 25 DAY READING PLAN in weekly email… if you would like a printed version of it, contact the charge office and we can get you one.

I grow as I focus on my  goal , not my  habit .

In running the race of faith, it’s important to run the right way (with Jesus); with the right fuel (scripture); with the right focus (goal/prize).

Philippians 3:12-14 NCV
12 I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

What’s the goal. We could say to something generic platitude… I want to be more holy… I want to remove sin from my life. But those are platitudes.

Be specific. What exactly is God leading you to accomplish?

For the next week I won’t eat ice cream.

Tomorrow every time I want to smoke, I will go for a walk

To help with my anxiety, I will exercise 30 minutes every day this week

Today, every time I get the urge to drink alcohol, I will call a friend

Spiritual growth goals need to be specific

Focusing on specific goals help us grow in two ways.

Focus on my goal: Helps me have a short  memory  of mistakes

Athlete who is consumed with past mistakes is destined to make new ones.

Remember: Spiritual growth isn’t about perfection it’s about progress

Proverbs 28:13 NLT
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

And when you are focused on your specific goal, it really helps you have a short memory of mistakes… you don’t have time for them because you are on track.

Focus on my goal: Helps me avoid  temptations , not fear them

What am I running for… not running from.

1 Corinthians 16:13 NCV
13 Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong.

So that’s how we run this race of faith, run the right way (with Jesus); with the right fuel (scripture); with the right focus (goal/prize); and finally we run with the right people.

I grow as I lean on and  learn from others

The Christian life is mean to be lived out in relationships

Hebrews 10:23–25 ISV
23 Let us continue to hold firmly to the hope that we confess without wavering, for the one who made the promise is faithful.24 And let us continue to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day coming nearer.

People praying for you

People who will hold you accountable

You don’t need a small group…. you need relationships

Application….. Step study

The Growth Choice: I reserve a daily time with God for Bible reading, self examination, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

Galatians 6:9 NIV
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Tired, relapse… stay strong in the race… the right race, fuel, focus, partners


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