We humans are obsessed with before and after. We like before and after makeovers, before and after home projects, before and after weight loss stories. What’s your favorite before and after entertainment? Do you have a favorite TV show or a movie about a huge transformation? Why do you like it so much?
Who remembers this week’s core behavior? Ten points if you also remember last week’s (Don’t forget to be encouraging your group members to memorize this list).
This week we’re talking about transformation: Be changed and changing.
Why is change so central to the Christian life? Is it possible to be in Christ and not be changing?
Read 2 Peter 1:3-9 together.
What does the Christian life look like according to Peter?
Notice that phrase “increasing measure.” Is that good news for you? Does it stress you out? In what ways does this standard of “increasing measure” call you to more than you’re currently doing? How might that same phrase also give you peace and grace?
Next, turn over to Galatians 5:22-23. This is where we find the “fruit of the Spirit.” If you’re a child of God, this is the fruit that should be blooming in increasing measure in your life. Fortunately, as we see in both 2 Peter and Galatians, this fruit doesn’t come by our hard work. It’s a gift from God.
Do you generally think of your spiritual progress as a gift from God? Or does it feel like something you have to earn?
Have you been undervaluing the role of the Spirit in your spiritual growth? If so, why do you think that might be? What excites or scares (or confuses) you as you consider relying on the Spirit to grow God’s fruit in your heart?
What does it look like, practically speaking, to rely on the Spirit for transformation?
Tonight would be a great time for your group to look back at the spiritual growth you’ve witnessed in one another. Where have you seen God shaping your fellow group members? In order to make this kind to everyone, you might make sure each person gets positive feedback and that no one person gets more than another. You might accomplish this by simply going around the circle.
You could also have group members identify their own spiritual growth, answering the question, “How have you grown in Christ over the last few years?” You might also ask what’s contributed to their growth.
Read Isaiah 64:8.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
How does this metaphor inform your understanding of your relationship with God?
How can you embrace your identity as clay?
How can you better embrace God’s identity as potter?
Tonight, pray the fruits of the Spirit. Have your group members all write down the fruits of the Spirit on a notecard (be sure to provide some). Encourage them to memorize these fruits and pray daily for God to grow these fruits in their hearts.
You might also consider the following conversation and prayer prompts:
Which fruits of the Spirit are you most in need of? Make a top two list. Confess to God times when you were noticeably short of these virtues. Ask Him to intervene.
Which fruits are growing most in you right now? Share with God a time when you were happily surprised at your own Spirit-born behavior. Take a moment to pray, thanking God for what He’s doing in your heart.
As you ask God to fill you with His Spirit, consider that maybe you need to pour something out first. Before Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, he lists the following “acts of the flesh”: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Is it possible you’re being led by your flesh? If so, still pray to be filled, for sure. But also begin praying for God to conquer your flesh and lead you out of these behaviors.