- What is influence? What do we mean by saying that people are influential?
- Who has influenced you?
Read Matthew 5:13-16
- When Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the word” what kind of people does Jesus have in mind? Who is He talking about? (Consider v.1-12)
- What makes someone salt or light?
- What does salt do?
- How does being salt describe the function of a Christ follower among the people he/she lives with?
- We know that salt cannot lose its properties of being salty unless it is heavily diluted. What is Jesus trying to say by “if salt loses its flavor?”
- What is the purpose and function of light?
- To light a candle only to hide it in a box is absurd. What is Jesus trying so say?
- When do you function as a light? What is the purpose?
- What did you hear Jesus telling you while studying this passage? What are you going to do about it?
Dispelling the Darkness
Read Philippians 2:12-18
- How does verse 13 make clear that the phrase “your own salvation” (v.12) isn’t meant to contrast the work of the Philippians with God’s work?
- Whose work then is being contrasted with that of the Philippians?
- When Paul uses the phrase “fear and trembling” (v.12) he means with utter seriousness. What would it mean for you to work out the practical implications of your salvation this way?
- Paul tells the Philippians that they must grow in maturity and take responsibility for themselves without Paul being present. Where is God telling you to take responsibility for yourself without reliance on other spiritual leaders?
- How would the lives of churches be revolutionized if Christians practiced what Paul says in v.14?
- Who comes to your mind as examples of shining lights in your life (v.15)?
- What gives Paul cause to celebrate (v.17-18)?
- Whose faith can you celebrate today?
Living Out God’s Word
How do we live out our faith in Jesus? These tools will help you build a foundation that will stand the pressures of life. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you will be when “life” happens!
1. Read Matthew 5-7. As you read, ask yourself “How am I doing”? There are some very pointed statements Jesus makes that go right to our hearts. It’s Christ in us that gives us hope and builds a strong foundation of faith in our lives.
2. Read Matthew 7:24-27. Do a self-evaluation, “How is your foundation”? As you do your assessment on your foundation, which house more reflects your foundation?
3. How much is Jesus a part of your everyday life? Do you have a routine that daily builds your life in Him that strengthens your foundation?
4. Take some time to consider, “how do I connect with Jesus”? Is it through nature, worship songs, reading scripture, reading books, listening to podcast sermons, writing in a journal, serving, or some other way? It may even be a combination of these.
5. Do you have, or has there been, a foundation-builder in your life? What did they do that made them a “builder” into your life? These are your “go to” people – when life hits, they are on your speed dial. How can you deepen these relationships further?
6. Write them a note saying, ” You have been foundational in my life.” Be an encouragement to someone!
7. Who, in your sphere of influence, needs a foundation-builder in their life? Pray for opportunities to initiate and deepen new friendships.
8. Whose foundation are you helping to build? Write down who and how. Think of ways you can be even more intentional in someone’s world!
9. Seek to develop a few relationships. Open yourself up – at times we are all going to need a few faithful and significant friends to support us when the pressures of life are beyond what we can bear. Now is the time to build those supportive friendships rather than waiting until you are in the middle of a crisis.
10. Make daily surrender to Jesus an intentional start to your day. How are you going to do that? Perhaps try something new from the list in question #4.
11. Ask Jesus to help you see others with His eyes this week.
12. Ask Jesus to use your hands this week to love and serve someone in a tangible way.
13. Rest in Jesus. He has come that you might have life abundantly. Surrender to Him. He loves you beyond understanding (Romans 8:31-39).