Achievement vs. Approval: Jesus’ perfection will shine through our imperfection. We can do nothing in our own power to gain His approval. Righteousness is not achieved through works but by grace through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
For what worthwhile thing in your life did you have to wait patiently?
This weekend, FP’s Creative Director, Micah, continued our #nofilter series with a sermon addressing Achievement vs. Approval. Sin causes shame and guilt, which drives us to isolation and causes us to build a dollhouse around our lives to shroud the truth from others. We desperately desire to project a facade of perfection for others to see. Like Adam and Eve, we hide. We compare our ordinary lives to edited and perfected “highlighted” reels of others and are drawn to desire a standard of life that scripture does not require of us. We as Christ followers often are tempted to seek the approval of this world by achieving what it has to offer, but what truly satisfies is the joy knowing the One true God and walking in His freedom and victory. He alone satisfies. Micah passionately compelled us to break the chains of shame and guilt of our sin. He approves of us when we confess, repent and then become heirs of righteousness. In our imperfection, He is perfect!
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read Genesis 29:1-13
1. Because of the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and now Jacob at Bethel, Jacob knew he had to marry to build a family that would ultimately bring the Promised Redeemer into the world. With this confidence, he meets Rachel.
True or false? In the life of a trusting Christian, there are no coincidences only appointments. We are able to see the gracious leading hand of God in our lives.
2. Share with your group how you saw the hand of God in your life this past week.
Read Genesis 29:14-30
3. Jacob was enraged when he learned that Laban had tricked him. The deceiver of Esau and Isaac was now deceived himself. How natural it is for us to become upset at an injustice done to us while closing our eyes to the injustices we do to others. Sin has a way of coming back to haunt us.
Share with your group a recent time you observed either someone or yourself being offended at an injustice that either they or you have also committed. What does this realization compel you to do?
4. Jacob kept his part of the bargain because he had Rachel to think about as well as God’s plan for his life. Slowly, Jacob was learning to submit to God’s loving hand of discipline and was growing in faith and character.
Share a time in your life when you accepted the cards dealt to you and did not opt to either nurse your wounds or plot revenge. How did you see God working, and what was the outcome?
Read Genesis 29:31-30:24
5. This passage reviews Jacob’s children. It was very important to Jacob to raise his children in the ways of the Lord because of the promise from God that Jacob’s descendants would be as “numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” (Gen 22:17). Unfortunately, there would be one problem after another given the divided and competitive nature of his home.
Are there divisions and competitions within your home and family? How do you wish it were different? How can your group pray for you as you work towards unity and peace within your family?
6. Rachel took matters into her own hands when she gave her maidservant to Jacob. Trusting God when nothing seems to happen is difficult. But it is harder still to live with the consequences of taking matters into your own hands.
Can you share a time when you took matters into your own hands? What were the consequences? What did you learn and possibly later apply?
7. Out of all of this mess, the 12 tribes of Israel were born. The Lord was ruling and overruling in the entire event. Proverbs 21:30 tells us that “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord”. Similarly, in the New Testament Romans 8:28 confirms the same promise to us, who love God and are called according to his purpose. God is sovereign over all. His purpose for us is to make us like Christ. This is our true identity.
How can you be conformed to Christ’s likeness on this earth?
7. Reading and heeding the Word, by studying his life on earth through the Gospels, by being filled with His spirit, by spending quiet time with Him in prayer, by growing spiritually within a small group of believers and by doing His work in the world.