Here’s the Believe buzz from the small groups week 5:
People may find their sense of identity from their job, the family they come from, their home, the car they drive, the team they support (T shirts proclaiming “No. 1 IU (or Colts) fan”). Inner city youth may find identity in the gang they belong to, their gang’s symbol spray painted on a building.) God gives us the opportunity to find our identity in Christ. We find significance not in earthly accomplishments (or failures!), but in the fact that God loves us, and Christ gave His life for us. We have become “adopted” as God’s children. As I Peter l:3-4 puts it, “In God’s great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
A week after discussing the Bible, something so complicated to understand (many different interpretations), but easy to follow (read and learn)…it was interesting to move on to a topic like “Identity in Christ” which is so easy to understand (live as Christ lived) and yet hard to follow (choosing self-gratification). Our group had a good discussion on how many times we are provided an opportunity to demonstrate our identity in Christ, forgiveness, selflessness, etc…and yet we choose the wrong path either out of habit, perceived peer pressure or plain laziness. Everyone agreed that starting your day off by reading God’s word helps to keep focus on our identity in Christ.
This week our group focused on several key points:
· The difference between the covenant in the Old Testament and that in the New Testament.
· When we accept Christ Jesus, we become children of God.
· As children of God, we exist to know, love and serve God.
· We need to focus on the little things we can do on a daily basis to serve God – to illustrate His love.
· As a child of God, my life has value. I may not realize the depth, strength, width, etc. of my value to God, but that does not mean that my value does not exist.
We talked about the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. In the old covenant God spoke directly through people, the prophets, and the priests at the temple to tell them about the law. With the new covenant, because of our faith in Jesus, God has the ability to indwell our body (our temple) and is ever present so He lives in us. Since He is in us, we can have the ability to have a personal relationship with Him and we don’t need an intermediary (like a priest in the old covenant) between us and God. We also talked about the difference in Christians who have to prove their faith through actions and those who live (express) their faith as a testimony to God living in them. The change becomes when we live our faith from the inside out vs. the outside in.
We had lots of discussion and all are enjoying the video that goes with each session.
One question that stood out this week was “How can you squash the temptation to prove your significance through performance?” Some of us glean our identity from our level of activity, always trying to please others by the quantity and quality of how we perform. When our identity is truly in Christ, we seek to bring Glory to God, and not prove ourselves to others. Our intentions become more honest and real. We serve others to bring glory to God, not to ourselves.