Share a time when you were in High School and you and your parents/guardians disagreed over whether or not you deserved a certain freedom. What did you want to do? Why didn’t your parents want you to do it?
Do you feel differently about freedom now that you’re an adult?
Do you feel differently about freedom for you than you do about freedom for others?
During this series Justin has encouraged us not to think in terms of “proving God” but rather “doubting our doubts.”
Which are you more likely to doubt--faith or culture? Do you find yourself applying the same standards for truth to both arenas?
Consider the following quotes from our lesson this week:
“Most of us in America believe a few simple propositions that seem so clear and self-evident they scarcely need to be said. Choice is a good thing in life, and the more of it we have, the happier we are. Authority is inherently suspect; nobody should have the right to tell others what to think or how to behave.” -Alan Ehrenhalt
“Let me be me, or let me be.”
“Let each person do their own thing, and ...one shouldn’t criticize the other’s values, because they have a right to live their own life as you do. The [only] sin which is not tolerated is intolerance.” -Charles Taylor
“Today as a culture we believe freedom is the highest good, that becoming free is the only heroic story we have left, and that giving individuals freedom is the main role of any institution and of society itself. It is, we could say, the baseline cultural narrative of our Western culture. It has always been important, but now it is ultimately important. It is the one truth that relativizes all other doctrines and beliefs.” -Tim Keller
Are these ideas familiar to you? Do you feel like any of those quotes represents the truth? In your gut, do you want them to be true--as in, do you ultimately want the freedom to dictate your own life?
Look back over your life, if you’d had ultimate freedom to do what made you happy, would you have made any big mistakes? Like what? Share a specific example.
Have you ever bumped up against someone else’s freedom (causing them to resent or attack you) OR had the consequences of someone else’s freedom bump up against you (inconveniencing or hurting you)? Share with the group.
Perhaps you’ve exercised freedom in a way that ultimately hurt others or separated you from meaningful community. Share that, too.
Why does doing what we deem to be right (and using that as the ultimate filter for behavior and decisions) push us away from others? Think through the consequences of a society based on that principle.
We ended Sunday by saying, “True freedom, and the joy that comes with it, awaits when you submit your will to God.”
Has that been your experience?
How can obedience bring freedom? Think of a specific example.
Read Psalm 119:33-48.
What, according to the Psalmist, are the benefits of adhering to God’s precepts and commands? Make a list.
This Sunday we looked at Jeremiah’s prayer in Jeremiah 10:23-24,
“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.
Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
not in your anger,
or you will reduce me to nothing.”
- Where do you want God to discipline you? Is there an area of your life where you’re exercising unhealthy freedom and self-direction? Confess it to your group and pray together for discipline.