Discussion Questions for Sermon Series - Five Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith Week 4
1. When it comes to discipline, where do you struggle most?
2. Is there something you currently enjoy doing that began as a discipline? If so, what made the
discipline become enjoyable?
3. Growing up, were you encouraged to develop habits that could be described as private spiritual disciplines? Things like prayer, devotions, giving, fasting, confession? Did any of these become habits that you have carried with you into adulthood? If so, which? If not, why?
Since strong human relationships are held together through discipline and self-control, we should not be too surprised to discover that our relationship with God requires the element of discipline as well.
4. Can you think of disciplines you’ve developed that have strengthened your relationships with
those you care about most? For example, calling your mom on a regular basis; coming home at a predetermined time; picking up after yourself.
Read Matthew 6:1-4. In this passage Jesus challenges his audience to engage in the
discipline of giving. Jesus assumes generosity. Notice he says when, not if, you give. Our attitude towards generosity, and money in general, is usually a reflection of the way we were raised.
5. Were you raised in a home where generosity was practiced and talked about? Were you raised to give? Was the giving in your home more needs/crisis based or did your family support your church or other organizations on a regular, systematic basis?
6. How easy is it for you to be generous when confronted with a specific need? Why?
7. Jesus promises that those who give according to his instruction will be rewarded. Do you feel
you’ve been rewarded for your generosity in the past? If so, how?
Read Matthew 6:5-6 and Mark 1:35. Following his discussion on giving, Jesus challenges
his audience to engage in the discipline of private prayer.
8. Which is easier, praying consistently or giving consistently? Why?
9. Why do you think Jesus instructs us to pray privately on a regular basis?
10. We all pray in times of crisis. Do you think our crisis prayers would be or is different if/when we practice the discipline of private daily prayer? If so, how?
11. Once again Jesus promises a reward, this time to those who pray privately. In your opinion, how are those who pray in private rewarded?
The notion of a discipline being essential to an authentic, heart-felt relationship may seem strange. After all, discipline is about routine. A relationship is fluid. But if you think about it, every healthy relationship is held together partly by disciplined actions and routines. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the importance of discipline in a relationship is to consider a relationship without boundaries. All self imposed boundaries are a form of discipline. Imagine a marriage in which neither partner practices self control. The marriage would eventually deteriorate. Our relationship with God shares a similar dynamic. Abandoning these practices leaves God at the periphery of our lives. Regularly practicing these disciplines, however, draw us into a closer, more intimate, more dependent relationship with our heavenly Father. What will you do this week to establish both giving and prayer as a regular discipline?