For six weeks, we’ll be exploring postures of discipleship. Postures arrange our bodies to respond to various circumstances and allow us to engage with purpose. Over time, the practice of a posture reshapes our muscles and even bones such that the posture becomes a natural part of who we are. Today we are talking about the posture of rest and how that posture can transform us.
How do we change into who we are meant to be? It’s a question that has plagued people from the dawn of time. We can be so caught up in the habits and rhythms of our daily lives that sometimes it seems impossible to ever change. It always seems like too much work, as if we need superhuman willpower to ever get out of the rut. This week, we encounter Jesus as he calls us to bear fruit, to change to be like him. As it turns out, his path to change often looks a lot different than the ones we create.
What is a bad/funny habit that you haven’t been able to kick?
Read John 15:1-17
- What do you think it means for a person’s life to “bear fruit?” What would that practically look like in today’s world
- How do most people go about trying to “bear fruit” in their lives?
- The word translated in this passage as “remain” is meno, a Greek verb which can be translated as to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy), to abide, to continue, to dwell, to endure, to be present, to remain, to stand, to tarry. What do you think Jesus means by “remain in me?” What would that practically look like on a day to day basis?
- In this passage, Jesus is saying that people cannot bear fruit unless they “remain” in him. How is this different than how we typically go about bearing fruit in our lives?
- Jesus ties together the idea of God’s love with this idea of remaining and bearing fruit. What is the connection between these different things?
- How/why do you think Jesus’ plan for life transformation might work when where other methods fail?
- What would it look for you to “remain in Christ” on a day to day basis? What practices would you embody? What ways of thinking would you live into
Diving Deeper: RULE OF LIFE
During the message this week, we discussed how remaining in Christ means inhabiting new rhythms and habits that help us learn to keep our minds and intentions on God. We are often so caught up in moving, working, striving, that we don’t always know how to slow down, to let go, and to just be with Christ. One of the tools Christians have long used to train themselves to slow down and to just be is called a “rule of life.” Read the following definition of a rule of life and discuss the following questions.
“A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. A Rule establishes a rhythm for life in which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects a love for God and respect for how he has made us. The disciplines which we build into our rhythm of life help us to shed the “old self” and allow our “new self” in Christ to be formed. Spiritual disciplines are means of grace by which God can nourish us.” – C.S. Lewis Institute
- Connect this concept of a rule with the discussion from above. How does a rule of life help you learn to remain in Christ?
- How is a Christian a rule different than just pledging to “do more?” Is it different?
- Are their habits and/or rhythms in your life that you do not feel are life giving? Why do you think you are still caught in them?
- What are some elements that you believe would be life giving to you as you learn to remain in Christ?
- What would a rule of life look like for you? What personal/communal dimensions would it have?
- What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ, by Brian Hedges
- Instructions for Developing A Personal Rule of Life, adapted from Marjorie Thompson and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
- Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way, by Stephen A. Macchia
- Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, by Marjorie J. Thompson