Small Group Questions

I Choose – Purpose Over Popularity    

Introduction:

Who do we want to be tomorrow? The answer to that question is dependent upon the choices we make today. Our choices matter. In this series, we’ll take a look at what I believe are the most significant choices we’ll make in life. They’re not about who we’ll marry, or where we’ll live, or what type of work we’ll do, but about those basic choices we all have to make that are core to the values we espouse in life. That is the purpose behind the “I Choose” series.  This four-part message series helps us learn to be intentional about the choices we make. We’ll cover topics like surrender, urgency, and priorities. 

Bottom Line: Living for the approval of others keeps you from your purpose.

Something To Talk About:

Choosing purpose over popularity would seem a logical and easy choice. But if we are honest with ourselves, it is not. In so many ways, being popular is driving our culture. People are consumed with how many friends they have on Facebook, how many people have liked a picture on Instagram or how many times their video or post has been shared. We wonder if people like us and if they don’t we wonder why.  We fret if we are not popular. When we live to please others at all costs, we are choosing popularity over purpose. There is real value in choosing purpose over popularity:

  1. Purpose diminishes distractions: Since the fall of man, people have had trouble staying focused, but we live today in an age of unprecedented distraction. We have so many electronic devices, so many avenues of communication and entertainment, so many things happening around us that it is all too easy to get distracted. All these distractions are harming our ability to listen and think carefully, maintain our focus and our purpose. We see a focus free of distractions in Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s purpose in life was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after they had laid in ruin for years. With a laser like focus, Nehemiah went to Jerusalem with a plan to rebuild the walls and he put people to work. He immediately encountered people who were trying to distract him and pull him off the wall and away from his work. But through it all, Nehemiah stayed focused on his purpose. The opposition kept trying to distract Nehemiah and kept failing. Many things try to pull us away from God and the life God wants for us and the life we want to live. The power of purpose is that it helps diminish these distractions by focusing us on the great work we are doing.  
  2. Purpose pushes you through the pain: There will be pain in all of our lives and what will help us move through the pain won’t be our popularity, but the power of God. The Bible is full of people who experienced great pain and obstacles as they followed the purpose God had for them but by following that purpose they found the strength to carry on. Jesus is the supreme example. Time and again, Jesus chose His purpose as the Savior of the world, and that was the motivation that pushed Him through the pain of the cross to the power of new life. Pain and obstacles will show up in our lives, but a sense of purpose and living for someone and something larger than ourselves will give us the strength and power to overcome the pain and trials in our lives. The power doesn’t come from us, but from God who gives us the purpose. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
  3. Purpose empowers you to obey God: Since God’s purpose for us is to love Him and to love others, when we give ourselves to that purpose we know that we are pleasing God.  Giving ourselves to the daily purposes God has for us will help us please God and that in turn gives us more power to live out the small and big purposes God has for us. The disciples show us this. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, the disciples were given a purpose, make disciples of all nations. They were to talk about Jesus and share his message, love and power with others, but the world around them was still very hostile to Jesus and His way, so to live this way and make this choice, was not easy. The disciples faced opposition and persecution but they chose purpose before popularity and their lives were changed and the world was changed through them.  When we are willing to choose purpose over popularity, our lives will be changed and through us the world is changed. Maybe not in big earth shattering ways, but in very small and yet profound ways we bring life to others.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. Popularity is basically whose opinion matters most to you and whose approval are you after. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. Do you want to be or have you been viewed as a people pleaser? Does living for the approval of people keep you from the purposes of God?
  3. We don’t have time to live our purpose if our time is spent on unimportant things. If you had a magic eraser, what is one thing you’d take off your schedule tomorrow? 
  4. The world around us tells us that all sorts of superficial things are important. It’s hard to refocus on what God says matters most. Agree or disagree and why?
  5. In what area of life are you most tempted to settle for being average when God is asking you to kick it up a notch and experience more of His purpose for your life?
  6. What would you consider the daily purpose of your life? What is the big purpose?
  7. What can God do that I can’t concerning my purpose?
  8. How is God glorified when I’m following my purpose?
  9. How will following my purpose force me to trust God more?
  10. What is God asking me to do today?

Take one thing home with you:

I don’t know about you but the older I get the more I think about purpose. To me, purpose doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant, but it has to be meaningful. Whether we’re talking about our personal lives, spiritual lives, relationships, our character, or our future, we need to ask ourselves what kind of people we want to be. Having goals can center us, keep our eyes on Christ, and encourage us to grow. Without goals, we have no reason to press on, and we can flounder, feel lost, or lose track of our purpose. God has a purpose for each of us. God is with us to carry out His purpose and He equips us to carry out His purpose.

I want to know the purpose God has for me today, this week, this month, this lifetime. Serving the living God and His purpose for us should be the foundation of every Christian’s life. It could be about what my purpose is for that day, that year, or my life. Because once you understand Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross and His resurrection for everybody, it is hard to wake up and go through the day or wake up in the morning without thinking about God? How could I spend the day without serving a purpose for Him?