Notes for a group: Being strong in God

These are notes from a young person's group I led. The group was a bunch of young Christian lads ranging in age from 9 to 16.

This world is in warfare. You have to pick a side. By default you'll just go the way of the world.

We talked about how being spiritual means seeing things as they really are, or at least a bit clearer. This includes seeing the warfare. Being spiritual also means being changed into what God wants for you. God doesn't want you to be weak. God doesn't want you to be bored. God doesn't want you to be hurt or lonely or afraid.

God wants you to be completely fulfilled, to be the best you can be. To be strong and full of life. To be filled with vision, together with a people. Strong and alive together.

That's the promise of God, something you can completely rely on, you can bet your life on. If we trust God, if we trust our lives to him, if we love him and follow him, then we'll be filled with life. Like strong lions. You have lots of life. There's more, so much more. Let's roar like lions. That's what God wants for us.

So how do we get there? What is it you desire, long for. What do you want to become?

Do you want money? Fame? A celebrity lifestyle? To be happy, to be liked and to be popular? To win the lottery? To travel the world? To have a wife and children, or lots of girlfriends.

Or do you long to love people? To be part of a group of people who look after each other and help each other. To be someone who helps people and looks after the hurting. To do what is right, to make the world a better place. 

Or a mixture of all these things.

Whatever you desire, whatever you long for, that's what you grow towards. Like plants that grow in funny shapes because they're growing towards the light.

But where you're longing for money, fame, popularity, what you're really pursuing is selfishness. That's what you grow towards and that's what you become. You end up serving the masters behind those desires, and they'll chew up your dreams.

Just like the desire for good food, that feeling of want, we need to desire God. Desire the things of God, desire to know what is right and to do what is right. If we long for God, that's what we grow towards.

I promise you, with all my heart I promise you, if you long for God, if you long for real life and real love, and you're sincere in pursuing it, determined to keep on going, you'll find it. God won't let you down. If you stick to the course you will definitely find it. No question. You'll grow in love and strength. You'll find your destiny, you'll find who you were meant to be and what you were made to do – the work of your heart. Your gifts and abilities will become alive. There will be plenty of lights along the path, it isn't a path of darkness, but it isn't a short and easy path either.

If that's your first priority you can trust God for everything else, job, family, money, happiness, those will come to you – but we have to long for God and seek him first.

Matthew 6:28-34
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Luke 18:1-8
1. Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

We have to keep pursuing God. We only find it if we're really determined. Only if we really want God, if we're prepared to leave everything else behind to have it will we find the fullness of what God has for us. So it's a difficult path. It's not an easy one, and it's easy to give up. But like the widow in the parable there's an absolute promise that you'll find it if you stick to it.

And a big part of that is helping and loving each other. So lets pray for each other.

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