For this session, you’ll need….
- the ability to darken your room
- a whiteboard or blackboard
Laying Down Your Day (15 minutes)
Give everyone a chance to settle in before starting your session. Once everyone’s relaxed and comfortable, turn off the lights in your meeting area (and make sure you’ve read question #1 to yourself before you do it!). Discuss the following:
- Share about a time when you’ve felt “in the dark” and disconnected from Jesus. What happened to finally turn the light on (or back on) for you?
Turn your lights back on in your meeting area. Then, discuss this question:
- Think about your reaction to the lights coming back on. Why might some people—even perhaps Christians—prefer to stay disconnected from Jesus and in the darkness?
The Bible says the Spirit’s already within those of us who believe in Jesus (Romans 8:9). You’d think it’d be pretty easy to connect, live life in the Spirit, and stay connected to Jesus, right?
But many times, we still feel disconnected from the Spirit, and from Jesus—like we’re going through the motions and/or we’re not sure what to do next. Many times, we’re just not very good at recognizing when the Spirit’s trying to guide us. We mistake our own plans for the Spirit’s guidance. We haven’t properly trained our “spiritual ears,” so to speak, to listen for the Spirit. And sometimes, we choose not to listen to what the Spirit’s trying to tell us. But if we want to walk in the Spirit day to day and moment to moment, we need to set aside what’s “just us” and learn to listen. Let’s dig deeper into this.
Laying Down the Word (30 minutes)
- How would you explain to a friend who the Holy Spirit is and what the Spirit does? What would you like someone to explain to you about the Spirit?
Ask for a couple volunteers to read Romans 8:1–6 and 14–17, and then discuss:
- Practically speaking, what does it mean to “live by the Spirit”? What does it actually look like? Let’s list some ways.
Write down everyone’s answers to this question on your whiteboard or blackboard. Be sure to acknowledge each person’s contribution as you do so. Then say something like, Now, let’s take these answers and apply them to ourselves.
“Anyone who’s followed the Spirit’s leading into a new work knows how scary it can be. If you don’t know how scary it is at first, you will, once the excitement wears off and the difficulties come head-on. In fact, it’s often far more terrifying once it’s too late to turn back. Yet it’s an all-too-common experience for those who follow the Spirit’s leading. We’re taken past the point of no return before the lights are turned on—and it’s there that we discover who we’re really depending on….
“It is difficult to be overcome by God, and led into places where human safety doesn’t seem to exist. But ultimately, even in the worst of human circumstances, there is no better place to walk than in God’s care.”
- Whose experience resonates with you more, that of the seventy-two or Jeremiah’s? Why?
- When has the Spirit led you “past the point of no return”? What did you discover about your ability to trust the Spirit? About how much you’d been trusting in yourself? Explain.
Ask for a volunteer to read the following passage from “Lay Down in Silence.” Then, discuss the questions that follow:
“That’s the dirty little secret—let’s go ahead and say it: the satanic lie—behind much of our obsession with instant information, and with much of our busyness: It offers an instant substitute to our God-given desire to become a part of something bigger than ourselves. We’re not willing to wait for God to do his work in his time, so we turn elsewhere. And we are the lesser for it.”
- How do you short-circuit the Spirit’s work in your life through your busyness? Be specific.
- Where do you wish you could more fully experience the Spirit’s power in your life? Share as much as you’re willing.
Laying Down Your Life (15 minutes)
Have everyone get into their pairs. If people are absent, help stragglers to get with another pair for the rest of this session. Again, it’s OK to have a triad, but have no more than three people together.
To close this session, we’re going to reprise the questions that closed this week’s readings:
- What do you know God has called you to?
- And: Where have you felt the tug of the Spirit—and therefore, where is your obedience actually being requested?
Hopefully, you’ve already spent a chunk of time meditating on those questions. Either way, share your answers to those questions with your partner right now. Once you’re done, spend another few minutes praying for one another. Ask for the Spirit’s guidance, clarity and empowering, so you’re able to walk out what the Spirit’s already put on your hearts.
Allow at least ten minutes for pairs to talk and pray, and then bring your group back together. If you have time, invite members to share their answers and prayer requests with the entire group. Close your time together in prayer, asking that the fruit of the Spirit would be evident in each person’s life, as he guides and works through each situation you’re praying for.