Devoting Daily - Oxygen Mask Required
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Devote ourselves daily to a personal relationship with Jesus.
IT STARTS WITH YOU AND JESUS
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve heard the safety message about oxygen masks that will deploy in the event of an emergency. After explaining the function of the masks, the flight attendants add another message: first put the mask on yourself, and then help others. In other words, first make sure that you’re connected to the source of life, and then you’ll be able to help others do the same. The Body of Christ works the same way. When you’re first connected to Jesus, the source of life, you will be able to help others connect to Him and receive life from Him as well. But unless you’re walking with Jesus, building intimacy with Him, and drawing your strength from Him, you won’t have anything to offer others. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing and will bear no fruit (John 15:5). Like a branch disconnected from the life-giving vine, you will wither once your own resources are exhausted. But if you are connected to Jesus, He will breathe continual life, love, and joy into you (John 15:10-11), and you’ll be able to pass that on to others.
INVESTING IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP DAILY
When you read the word “devote,” that may bring up thoughts of “doing your devotional,” or “having a quiet time,” which may or may not be positive, depending on your experience. The dictionary defines devotion as love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person. In being devoted to Christ, what you’re really doing is expressing love, loyalty, and enthusiasm for Him! That’s truly lifegiving and anything but stale. Just like in your relationships with others , your relationship with Christ requires an investment of time and energy on your part. In His case, it should be a priority every day. The greatest commandment that Jesus gave is to love God with everything you have (Matthew 22:37). The best thing you can do for yourself and for those in your church and community group is to be fully invested in your relationship with Jesus, and fully devoted to following Him.
DEVOTING THROUGH DISCIPLINE
One of the ways you can invest in your relationship with Jesus is to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7b). “Discipline” is another one of those words that can bring up pleasant or unpleasant thoughts, depending on your experience. Put simply, discipline means forming and practicing habits that help you grow spiritually. These are God-given means to grow in godliness, and are not a spiritual to-do list that measures your love for God or makes God love you more. The reason we need to practice the disciplines is that it’s not enough for us to TRY to be like Jesus; we must TRAIN to be like Jesus. You can practice spiritual disciplines with your community group or in your service to the church, but they first have to take root in your own life. Some examples of spiritual disciplines include reading and memorizing the Bible, praying, worshiping, serving, fellowshipping with other believers, and pursuing solitude. These are valuable ways that you can invest in your relationship with Jesus daily.
SHARE WHAT YOU’RE LEARNING
As you grow in godliness, share that growth with others! God can use what He’s teaching you to encourage and challenge your community group and other believers in your church as well. Make a point of sharing what God is teaching you and how you are applying those teachings to impact your life. Ask others what they are learning as well. You will encourage each other, challenge each other, and help one another become more fully devoted followers of Christ.
1. How have you grown spiritually in the past year? In what areas would you like to keep growing?
2. What spiritual disciplines do you practice? Which are the most life-giving to you? Why do you think that is?
3. What have been your motivations for developing spiritual disciplines in your life? Have they been for legalistic reasons, or for true devotion?
4. Are you a naturally disciplined person, or do you struggle to be disciplined?
5. How do you see community helping you with spiritual discipline?
6. What impact does your personal devotional life have on your community group?
7. Discuss the difference between practicing spiritual discipline and abiding with Christ. Share how you feel you’re doing in these two areas.
8. Describe a time when you were practicing spiritual disciplines but not necessarily experiencing intimacy with Jesus.
9. How can we as a group help each other abide more intimately with Jesus? Be specific.
IDEAS FOR LIVING OUT DEVOTION
• Intentionally set aside time to spend with Jesus on a daily basis. Have a time, place, and plan.
• Keep a journal of what you’re reading and what God is teaching you. Share this regularly with your group, and also ask others what God is teaching them.
• Keep a list of things that you are praying for yourself and for others. Share with your group as God answers those prayers!
• Choose passages of Scripture to memorize and meditate on as a group. Help keep each other accountable.