Television. Music. Celebrities. Commercials. News. Friends. Movies. What is one thing all of these have in common? They all help to shape the way we think. Just like we can mold play-doh into shapes, these things all mold our mind to think in certain ways. Our thoughts end up guiding our words and actions. That’s why it is so important to be careful with what we let fill up our minds. Do you spend time filling your mind with things of this world or do you choose to follow God’s way and keep your mind on God’s better things?
SELF-CONTROL: Giving Up My Way for God's Way
MEMORY VERSE: “A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls." PROVERBS 25:28 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Mental Self-Control Means Fixing Your Thoughts On Godly Things
Oh, Peter. In Matthew 16:16 he made his greatest profession of faith and correctly identified Jesus as the promised Messiah but then just a few verses later Jesus rebuked him for being more concerned with worldly things instead of the things of God. We’ve all been there. One moment we have our thoughts fixed on what is true and admirable but the next we’re following the ways of the world and allowing ourselves to be distracted from what is true. Thankfully God forgives and still uses imperfect people like Peter and us despite our flaws and lack of self-control. Thankfully the truth Peter proclaimed is still true. Jesus is still the Messiah and because of Him, the Holy Spirit can help us fix our thoughts on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.
- Read Matthew 16:13-18 and 21-26. How did Peter fix his thoughts on godly things in the first half of the story but then miss the mark the second half?
- Read Philippians 4:8. Talk about what all these words mean. How can the Holy Spirit help us think about godly things?
- How do movies, tv, celebrities, music, commercials, etc. shape the way you think? Why does it matter what we fix our thoughts on?
- What is one thing you might have to give up in order to follow God’s way instead of your own with your thoughts?
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
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Teacher: The Need For Mental Self-Control.
At dinner this week read this section of an article written by Steven J. Cole about mental self-control and discuss it. “One of the most helpful things I have learned about the Christian life is that all sin begins in our thoughts, which the Bible often calls “the heart.”
Jesus said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
No one commits these outward sins without first having committed them in his mind. If we want to grow in godliness, we must win the battle over sin on the thought level."
Friend: Fixing Your Mind On God’s Things Together.
Be creative this week in thinking through how you can fill your mind with God’s good things by adding some fun activities to your routine. You could read C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, watch an uplifting movie, listen to a good audio book, or listen to your favorite worship music. You could even have a dance party to worship music or Christian rap!
Counselor: Bedtime Prayer.
As your family is getting ready for bed spend just a little time praying that God would renew your thought life. Spend just 5-10 minutes being silent and just thinking about God and His love. Afterwards, you can share how being quiet and thinking about God was helpful for you.
Coach: Note Of Thoughts.
Spend some intentional time writing on a notecard some of the things that God thinks about your family and some things you think about your family. Tell them they can pull that notecard out anytime they are feeling sad, happy, angry, discouraged or excited so that it can remind them of how both you as their parent and as God their heavenly Father thinks of them.
Thank God for His strength to help you have mental self-control and for not giving up on you but offering forgiveness and grace when you choose your own way.
Next week we are continuing the month of January with a "We Believe" Sunday where we will be learning about The Trinity.
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