BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 7 January 2024
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Romans– Chapter 12, verses 1-5
Change starts with us. How we see ourselves is an important foundation in changing the conversation. If we think too highly of ourselves, we put ourselves on a pedestal over others which leads to hearts that are full of judgement. If we think too poorly of ourselves, we set others on a pedestal and will lead to a heavy burden that we can’t carry. The good news of Jesus shatters both of these views. Only when we are able to see ourselves ‘rightly’ does it lead to change in how we treat God, ourselves and others in a way that is truly life-giving.
‘The primary exacerbator of burnout isn’t really email, or Instagram, or a constant stream of news alerts. It’s the continuous failure to reach the impossible expectations we’ve set for ourselves.” (Anne Helen Petersen)
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BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A | DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
a. Changes do you want to see?
b. Truths do you need to remember?
c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read: Romans – Chapter 12, verses 1-5
1 | As we begin 2024, what are your hopes for this year?
2 | During Tim’s talk on Sunday, he talked about two groups of people – those who tend to more readily criticise ourselves, and those who are quicker to criticise others. Which are you and why?
3 | Read Romans 12:1-5. What would you say are the key themes in these verses?
4 | What do you think it means to ‘give our bodies’ to God? (v1)What does that look like in practice? Why is this described as ‘worship’?
5 | Why do you think Paul, the author, focusses on the importance of changing the way we think? (v2) What are some particular patterns of thought in ‘the world’ that we might be tempted to conform to?
6 | Tim quoted Anne Lamont in his talk on Sunday, ‘Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe.’ How does this quote impact you? Do you agree?
7 | Verse 3 challenges us not to think too highly of ourselves. How do we do that? What does this look like in practice?
8 | What impact does the death and resurrection of Jesus have on the way we see ourselves and others? How might this help us to ‘be gentle with ourselves and others’ during 2024?
9 | Take some time to pray for yourself and for others that we would see as God sees us.
As you explore these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
Low Anthropology by David Zahl
Many of us spend our days feeling like we’re the only one with problems, while everyone else has their act together. But the sooner we realize that everyone struggles like we do, the sooner we can show grace to ourselves and others.
In Low Anthropology, popular author and theologian David Zahl explores how our ideas about human nature influence our expectations in friendship, work, marriage, and politics. We all go through life with an ‘anthropology’–an idea about what humans are like, our potentials and our limitations. A high anthropology–thinking optimistically about human nature–can breed perfectionism, anxiety, burnout, loneliness, and resentment. Meanwhile, Zahl invites readers into a biblically rooted and surprisingly life-giving low anthropology, which fosters hope, deep connection with others, lasting love, vulnerability, compassion, and happiness.