Thanks to Saturate the World for major sections of this study.
While the war of the mind is a personal war for everyone, it doesn’t have to be an individual war. It’s helpful to know that the ultimate Helper—God the Spirit—and those in your close community are in the foxholes with you, fighting on the front lines for your holiness. In chapter eight of Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt writes:
When I am teaching people how to fight with gospel truths, I introduce some cues to help them discover the aspect of the gospel they may need to press into. For instance, if someone is struggling with guilt or shame for what he been done, I encourage him to go to the cross where Jesus died and remember his words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We need the reminder that Jesus’s death paid for all our sin, past, present, and future. He atoned for our sin, removed our guilt, and covered our shame.
If someone is struggling to overcome sin, I might encourage her to remember and believe in the resurrection, where Jesus condemned sin’s power. He gives us the same power to overcome by the Spirit who raised him from the dead.
Some are dealing with feelings of inadequacy in their behavior and lean toward performance-based acceptance. If so, I direct them to remember Jesus’s life, perfectly lived in their place, and the Father’s words spoken over Jesus (words that are now ours in Jesus): “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
Whatever the struggle, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus gives life, hope, and power. And by faith in Christ, every attribute, characteristic, and blessing that belongs to Jesus is available to us because of our unity with him.
In essence, fighting with gospel truths is trusting in and putting on ourselves all that is true of Jesus, and therefore also true of us in Jesus.
This week’s group exercise puts that into practice as you consider going from “fruit to root” to “root to fruit” together. If your group is larger than six people, you might want to divide into groups of three or four to make sure everyone gets a chance to participate. We’ll encourage you to “let your group in”—especially if there are areas you’re having a hard time reconstructing right belief. It can feel shameful, but by God’s design you need each other in those areas especially!
First, looking at the Tree Diagrams and considering the four questions, have each person…
After each person shares, together as a group . . .
If you still have time, look together at Ephesians 6:10-18. List off the items of the armor of God that Paul talks about and discuss which is the most difficult for you to think about putting on. Dig into why this may be. How can you speak the gospel to each other and help to see Jesus as the one who has given this to you already. What do you need to begin believing about him in order to allow you to conquer this?!
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