He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. — Colossians 1:17 NIV
Leader, read aloud to the group.
Today we’re talking about something beautiful and powerful: what it means to live a Jesus over everything kind of life. We’ll explore the mindsets that often keep us from it and the complications we get into when we try to manage life on our own. We’ll see through Scripture how a Jesus-first life is within our reach with the help of the Holy Spirit and encouragement from the Word. Remember: Jesus is willing to help us live this kind of life. It’s not something we have to figure out all on our own. So, take a deep breath and let’s get started with session one.
And just a helpful heads-up as we get started, this study guide experience isn’t going to be about a long list of things to do, or a ton of hardcore spiritual excavation. It’s going to be a journey to help you see the truth about what is complicating your life and how to uncomplicate it by putting Jesus first.
If you or any of your group members are just getting to know one another, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then, to kick things off, briefly discuss one of the following statements:
Share one word you would use to describe your life right now.
— or —
Name one area of your life you wish felt less chaotic.
Invite someone to read aloud the following passage as “heart prep” for Lisa’s teaching. Listen for fresh insights as you hear the verses being read, and then briefly discuss the questions that follow.
THE HEALING AT THE POOL
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. — John 5:1-15 NV
What is one key insight that stands out to you from this passage?
Why do you think Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?”
Consider as you listen to Lisa’s teaching, where you want freedom from complication and chaos in your life?
Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
A simpler life
“Things in our life get complicated often before we know it. Most of us don’t willfully choose it; we silently slide into it.”
The cycle of complication
- We deflect
“Every time we deflect from things we need to deal with, we withhold our own healing.”
John 5: The Man at the Pool of Bethesda — “Do you want to get well?”
- We overcompensate for a life we can’t control
The deadly overs
“We are under a false assumption that this overdoing is in some way producing the humility and selflessness we can’t seem to otherwise find.”
- We loathe our life and want to get a new one
“Most of us don’t need a brand-new life. We just need God to run ours.”
How to get things on the right track
- Jesus is for us
- Jesus being first is the only way our lives will work
Colossians 1:15-23 The “preeminence” of Christ is just a fancy way to say “ first place” or “ first.” Do I truly believe_______________________?
The Lisa Whittle paraphrase of Colossians 1
- Look at all Jesus has done for you (verses 1–14).
- Remember who Jesus is (verses 15–22).
- And now, make him number one (verse 23).
The Jesus-over-everything lifestyle
Life is Jesus. Jesus is life.
“The key to a beautiful life is not self-management; it is to put Jesus first over everything, where He belongs.”
“Putting Jesus first is a choice to simplify our lives and hand ourselves back our own sanity.”
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture.
- Name one thing that makes your life feel complicated right now:
- According to Lisa, there are several ways we respond to the idea or concept of putting Jesus over everything in our lives. Which of the following do you resonate with the most and why? Share with the group.
I feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting Jesus first.
I feel guilty for not having put him first, before.
I long to have a less complicated life.
I long to live a life where Jesus is in charge and I’m good with it.
Jesus over everything sounds awesome, but I have no idea really how to do it.
- Let’s talk about the Cycle of Complication. In what areas of life do you deflect the most from things you need to deal with? Share one or two examples with the group. Discuss why deflection seems a better or more convenient solution to complication and yet often causes more complication. Would things change if you confronted and dealt with one of the areas you most deflect from?
- How do we overcompensate for a life we can’t control (i.e., over-do, over-apologize, over-book, over-think, over-analyze, over-indulge)? Discuss how this behavior keeps us from putting Jesus over anything. Discuss the irony and come up with 1–2 ways you can change your over-behaviors to allow Jesus’ example and teaching to lead your reactions and responses.
- Share your current priority list, honestly (rank 1–5). Does it feel like your priorities are working for you or against you? If you were to put God as a priority, describe how you think things would be different.
- Share one word that would describe what it would feel like if you didn’t have to over-manage your life anymore.
Pray as a group before you close your time together. Use this space to keep track of prayer requests and group updates.
Excerpted with permission from Jesus Over Everything Study Guide: Uncomplicating the Daily Struggle to Put Jesus First by Lisa Whittle, copyright Lisa Whittle.
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