Do you like awkward conversations? Have you ever been involved in an awkward conversation (initiated by you OR by someone else) that resulted in you (or the other person) being helped or blessed? Share with the group.
How can we be more welcoming of the hard conversations we need people to have with us?
How does the sentence, "It's not about you" make you feel? Do you bristle at all? Elaborate on your answer.
On Sunday we said "selfish ambition" was a sort of gateway sin. Have you ever let your own self-interest lead you into further sin? Or seen it happen in the life of someone close to you? Give an example.
What do you think about this phrase: "The more we focus on ourselves, the less happy we become"? Is it true? Have you experienced this? Share your experience.
What does it look like for you personally to get self-focused/interested? In what ways are you most likely to over-emphasize your own importance? (Examples: in an argument, budgeting/spending, in a close relationship, at work, dreaming about the future, remembering the past, etc.) Share a time when this happened.
How might you over-estimate your own importance in your walk with God? What does it look like to bring self-interest into that relationship?
- Consider the things you pray about. Consider the things that might offend you at church. When do you get your toes stepped on while reading the Bible? Where do you make excuses? (These might be places where you're thinking a little too much about yourself or too highly of yourself and/or your opinion.)
Answer the following question in your head (NOT out loud): How much time did you spend serving, helping, blessing, or praying for people other than yourself this week? Go ahead and figure out a precise number of hours. Now, remove your immediate family and answer again.
- What about the amount of money you spend on others? (Again: NOT out loud) What percentage of your income is spent on someone other than you? Other than your immediate family?
- You don't have to share your number of hours or dollars with the group, but considering that number, do you feel good about the amount of time/money you spend on the behalf of others? If you feel tension, disappointment with yourself, why do you think you're not doing more? (This week's scripture reading builds on this discussion)
Read Philippians 2:3-4.
Paul encourages his readers not to look to their own interests but to look to the interests of others.
- Why is this so hard? What might keep us from doing it?
- What practical steps can we take toward doing a better job?
Tonight, pray for people not in the room. What causes, people, nations, problems need prayer? Have each group member offer a prayer request for someone not in your small group.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Watch this interview with author Jeffrey Kluger on narcissism: https://youtu.be/xVDs4P5MRco
Consider the traits Kluger mentioned as being associated with narcissism. Do you have any?
What did you think about his staement that a little narcissism isn't a bad thing? True or false?
Kluger says social media is like an open bar for an alcoholic--not the cause of narcissism but certainly a way to exercise their bad habits.
- If you're on social media, do you think it encourages you to think of yourself as more important than you are or simply to think of yourself more than you should? If so, how so? If not, explain.