A Better Way: What do you do when life isn’t working
Do you ever feel like Christianity isn’t working? Do you ever feel like the way you’re serving Jesus and following Jesus and trying to trust in God isn’t working the way you thought it probably would? Maybe you feel a little burned out on the busyness of church, or you wonder why God is not answering your prayers the way you answer the prayers of so many other people. You believe you are doing everything right. You’re trying to be good. You’re trying to be faithful. You’re trying to be a good Christian, but things don’t seem to be working out: so what do you do?
Something To Talk About:
- It’s easy to blame God when life goes wrong. He can do anything. Stop anything. Change anything. But sometimes He doesn’t. People have free will. The world is full of death and disease and sin. Bad things happen to good people—even good Christian people.
- God never promised I’d get what I want, that my days would be easy, that just because I chose to follow Him I wouldn’t suffer, or that He’d let me skip the bad parts of life. And that’s where disappointment comes in, hitting the hardest when I confuse what I think God owes me with what He actually told me: He said I should give thanks. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- God has shown us the way to live: The “Way” is mentioned several times in the book of Acts (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) in connection with early followers of Christ. The Lord created you in His image. He wants you to live a happy life and spread His light and joy to those around you. Live like God would want you to live and live for His glory. “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16:11) Exodus 18:20 says, ”Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.” (Exodus 18:20).
- God promises to show us the way: God guides and directs our steps: “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”(Proverbs 20:24). Many times, we see His direction most clearly in hindsight. We think we know the best way to do something and lament every bump along the way. But when we look back, we realize God has positioned us through those bumps to experience something far greater than we could have imagined (Ephesians 2:10). “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.” (Deuteronomy 1:32-33).
- God invites us to walk through life His way: The words “the way” can mean a path or direction, or a particular method of doing things. The concept has to do with action, not just belief. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22). When Jesus declared Himself the way, the truth, and the life, He was not just telling people that they ought to believe in Him to be saved. Those words meant so much more to people of His day. Jesus was saying that He was the embodiment of the Jewish scriptures, the fulfillment of God’s promise. Every day of your life you can walk alongside Jesus. Through the suffering, He is there. In the moments of joy, He is there. When you are lonely, He is there. In the moments when doubt presses in and tells you that you are alone, He is there. Every day, He is there, and heaven awaits.
- God’s way is a better way: There may be a seemingly impossible situation staring you in the face today. God may be asking you to take some crazy steps of obedience. Sometimes God is wanting to do something “new” or showing us a better way and we are stuck in the “old.” It can be hard to let go of the familiar or just keep going with the flow rather than try something new that can make everything different. For those who like change – “new” can be exciting. But there is a fundamental truth about the God we serve; He thinks and works outside our way of thinking. He doesn’t always work in the ways that we would have chosen for our “new.” He sees the big picture. He works behind the scenes of life that unfold our every day, in the places where we can’t always see or understand all the “why’s.” He has our best in mind, so our future is secure. It is the better way.
- When you go through very hard things, how are you tempted to view your relationship with Jesus? How is your relationship with him affected?
- What are all the things that have been going on in our culture these past years that are not going “well” around our Emerald Coast area? With is your gut response to all of these things?
- When you start to put yourself in the mindset of “finding a better way,” how does it shift your outlook on life? What does God’s way mean to you in practical terms?
- We can’t always change or choose what is happening around you, but you can always choose how you feel about it and how you respond to it. Agree or disagree and why?
- How can you use the one word we talked about several weeks ago to make changes?
- Was there a time when you were forced to choose between God’s way and your way? What did you choose? Why?
- There is always fear of the unknown: what fears do you have? Have you ever experienced a season when you kept doing something you hated doing? Feel free to share, if you’re comfortable doing so.
- Read Philippians 4:3-10: What can we learn from the Apostle Paul’s outlook on life?
- Based on the sermon and our discussion, how would you answer the question, “God’s way is a better way.”
- Share with your group any changes you want to make as a result of hearing this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
Sometimes God is wanting to do something “new” or show us a better way and we are stuck in the “old.” It can be hard to let go of the familiar or just keep going with the flow rather than try something new that can make everything different. For those who like change – “new” can be exciting. But there is a fundamental truth about the God we serve; He thinks and works outside our way of thinking. He doesn’t always work in the ways that we would have chosen for our “new.” He sees the big picture. He works behind the scenes of life that unfold our every day, in the places where we can’t always see or understand all the “why’s.” He has our best in mind, so our future is secure.
God is not finished with our lives yet. You’re still here. We can rest in His care for us. He knows. He sees. He works in ways we don’t always “get,” but there’s peace in knowing we don’t have to try to control it all. We can let go – of the need to figure it all out, and the striving to make things happen and let God show us a better way.