Study Guide: The People Who Shape Us

Sunday November 22, 2015 | Seth McCoy

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

In this sixth and last installment of the Formed series, Seth explores more in depth how ideas and identities we take upon our self that are not from God keep us from growing mature in the faith. God has provided the type of soil fertile for growth and He sees the potential in us as seeds. At the center of our calling is to mimic the type of soil Jesus has been to us by our love toward others. We are to be the type of soil where others will experience the Father’s love.

Extended Summary:

The realization as followers of Christ that we are not alone can be a real key to unlocking our community’s ability to move forward. We are not alone in our difficulty trusting, our fear of rejection, our issues with storing resentment, and many other things that hold us back. We not only have much of this in common, but we also have in common a God who does not leave us alone in the struggle.

Jesus came to change our life, radically re-make and re-new it. The pieces of paper with ideas or fears that hold us back from week #2 of this series should be having less and less of an impact on our lives as Jesus re-makes us. Jesus came from a long line of story tellers. They talked about the scriptures like a diamond in the center of the room that could have a deep amount of meaning from many different angles. Out of this tradition comes Jesus’ parable of the seed.

The soil represented by the jars of paper from week #2 don’t produce the abundant life Jesus came to bring in to our lives. Worry, anxiety, greed, fear, resentment, anger, and many other common issues that wrap their tentacles around us and keep us stuck don’t bring life, they actually kill our spirit. As a follower of Jesus, grace is not a one-time receiving we do when we say yes to God, but rather it’s a daily fuel we burn to live the Christian life. Jesus wants to be in the control center of my life where decisions get made. He wants to provide the rich soil of love, grace, and peace that will influence every thought we think, and every decision we make.

Jesus has been good soil to us. God expects us to grow, not because He has these high expectations or standards for us to live up to, but rather because He has hope and sees potential in us because of what He’s done for us through Jesus. We can grow as long as we stay in the soil of His love. The church is supposed to be the place people grow up. Sometimes we assume the Bible is to be our message to the world, but it’s actually for the church. In reality we are supposed to be the living letter to the world, the good soil to those around us that don’t know God.

Mature Christianity looks like us returning the good soil Jesus has provided to us to the people around us. God doesn’t want us to take the easy way out. It’s hard to be good soil. It’s easy to be shallow, rocky soil, but we see relationships built on those foundations get burnt up in the sun of conflict. The Kingdom of God grows one step and one relationship at a time. By our choices and our life we have the power to inspire, show worth and dignity, and unlock potential in those around us. We have the power to be good soil, because we have the Spirit leading us and preparing the way.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Were there any sections of scripture discussed that need more clarification? What parts did you not understand?
  2. What are common characteristics of relationships built on shallow soil? Rocky soil?
  3. Who do I need to be better soil to?
  4. What is my next practical step in developing a life of surrender? Particularly in regards to whatever idea or thought you put in the jar on week #2?
  5. Where do you feel like God is prompting you to take steps of growth? What has been preventing you from stepping in to this new season?