Part 3 – New Love
We often talk about the New Covenant as being much simpler than the Old Testament with all its many laws. But in every case, Jesus made obeying God both less complicated and harder! His standards, for everything from our actions to our thoughts and motivations, are stricter than a set of laws and behaviors. But Jesus shows us the way and empowers us to love others!
What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. How often do you use the word “love”? Do you only use it for people, or do you include pets, food, movies, music, etc.?
2. Read John 13:34-35. We know the word “love,” but we often don’t know how to love others well or at all. What simple command did Jesus give? What makes this hard? How important is it that we obey this command?
3. Read 1 John 4:7-8. What phrases strike you as hard or harsh? Does it seem possible for you to love others? How can we do it?
4. Love requires patience and kindness. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 2 Peter 3:9. What area of your life routinely requires extra patience and grace? How can you flip the conversation or situation? Do you have the power to do this?
5. Love requires humility and sacrifice. Read Philippians 2:3-7. What attitude did Jesus have? What would happen in our marriage relationships, parent/child relationships, work or school relationships, if we prayed and asked for the same attitude that Jesus had? Who do you consider “less than” and you need to elevate in your estimation, love, and in your actions? How would it change your life to make yourself nothing?
6. Action Steps: People know you love them when you act in love. Why is it worth it, even when they seem unlovable? Can you commit to loving not only friends and family, but casual encounters and even “enemies” this week? The world needs Jesus’ love, and it starts with us.
7. Read Philippians 2:3-7. Humility is not about self-deprecation, lack of confidence, or low self-worth. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; humility is thinking about yourself less. What misconceptions have you had in the past about what it means to be humble? According to Philippians 2:3-4, how can we demonstrate humility?
8. Read Proverbs 11:2, Jeremiah 9:23, and Romans 12:3. Pride is the enemy of humility. A good way to figure out where you may be struggling with pride is to think about the areas where you tend to judge others most. When do you tend to judge them? What does this reveal about your opportunities to grow in humility?
9. Scripture reminds us that to be a servant of Christ, we need to prioritize seeking approval from God, not from other people (Galatians 1:10). As you study humility, think of circumstances in which you seek the praise of man and not of God. Are you willing (or able) to lay down the idea of earthly recognition in order to become more like Jesus? Consider ways that God may be calling you to lay down your pride and follow Him in humility. Share them with your Life Group or with a Christian mentor or friend who can pray with you.