07.14.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 7: Independence”
Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.
Have you ever tried to do something without reading the directions or being taught how? What happened? Did it go well?
First – take time to discuss what comes to mind when you hear the words independence & dependence. Which do you prefer? Do you have positive or negative thoughts connected to each of them?
Many of us struggle with feeling like we are dependent on someone else. Why do you think that is? Do you struggle with that idea?
Read John 15:1-12.
Reflect on the central metaphor in this section: gardener, vines, & branches. Does any imagery stand out to you more than others? What comes to mind?
Notice – spiritual dependence on Jesus (the vine) & God (the Gardener) is central to growth in this metaphor. Jesus is clear: we cannot grow separated from our source of life.
In light of this metaphor – does your understanding of dependence & independence change? Why does Jesus see one as leading to spiritual growth & the other to spiritual withering?
Think of two times in your life when you felt that you were withering & thriving spiritually. What led you to feel that way in that season? Try to think of some common themes.
Next – take time to reflect on the spiritual fruit that Jesus claims his disciples will experience when they depend on him: keep his commands, remaining in his love, & loving one another.
How does a dependence on Jesus impact each of these activities? How do you feel you are you doing in these three areas currently?
Finally – notice that Jesus depicts staying connected to him as something that we impact by seeking to remain dependent on him.
Take time as a group to reflect on the activities, practices, & disciplines that help you stay connected to Jesus spiritually (i.e., prayer, meditation, Bible reading, service, etc.).
What makes you feel most connected to Jesus & spirituality?
What kind of activities leave you feeling most disconnected from Jesus & spirituality?
What are some changes (be reasonable!) that you could make to increase your dependence on Jesus spiritually & decrease your independence? Try to think of something you could start this week!
Close your session with prayer.
Getting Out of the Hole
Continue reflecting on what you are working to change & grow in during this season (see: Going Deeper for Control for context). This week, take time to pursue solitude & meditation.
Many of us often pray without seeking to listen for God to speak. This week, try to adopt a new spiritual practice & try it out for 7 days. For example, each morning, read a short piece of Scripture that is powerful to you (I recommend a story from a Gospel about Jesus) & then take 5 – 10 minutes to sit with it silently. Simply sit with the story in silence & listen.
Afterwards, journal about anything that came to you in that time (words, thoughts, emotions, etc.). Anything at all – no judgment! Just see what comes your way.
Each week – continue to share with your group how it is going!
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, July 21: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing Resentment & Forgiveness.
* Please see mye3.org for details.