Most of us start out as leaders of groups with high energy and even higher anticipation of what’s to come. Then, personal challenges arise. You start carrying burdens along with your group members. You become focused on being the “best” group or leader.
No matter what prompts us, it’s too easy to step away from leading with a focus on grace. We shift to lead out of our emptiness instead of from Christ’s fullness.
How can we pause and refocus on leading from a place of grace?
Thankfully, pastor Matt Chandler speaks to living from the fullness of the grace of Christ in his latest Bible study, John 1–3. Below is an excerpt from this study that includes encouragement, edifying scripture, and practical reflection.
From His Fullness
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
You’re probably familiar with the analogy that some people look at a glass of water and see it as half full, and others look at it and see it as half empty. How we mentally frame things tells us a lot about what we believe. As Christians, our goal is to align our thinking with the truths found in God’s Word.
- Generally speaking, do you tend to see a glass as half full or half empty? What are the pros and cons of seeing things the way you do?
- According to the passage above, from Jesus’ fullness we have all received grace upon grace. What did John mean by Jesus’ fullness?
- In what areas of your life are you in need of the fullness of God?
Bringing to mind and recalling various ways that God has shown His grace in our lives stirs our faith and helps us to see He will show us grace for our future needs. Jesus secured our salvation by His sacrifice at Calvary. Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). In other words, since God has already offered us the ultimate gift in Jesus—He will undoubtedly continue to give us everything else we need in the future.
- Do you ever struggle worrying about whether or not God will provide the grace you need? If so, what specific areas are you concerned about?
- What role does prayer play in presenting your worries to God?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your prayer life?
- Think for a moment about your history with God. List several ways He has proved Himself faithful.
Grace to Help
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- According to the text above, what do we receive when we draw near to the throne of grace? How do we take advantage of this?
- Why do we tend to place limits on the amount of mercy and grace we can receive from Jesus? Why is this attitude unbiblical?
The author of the Book of Hebrews extends an astounding invitation by encouraging readers to approach the throne of grace with confidence. If you are a child of God, you don’t have to come timidly to the throne. While we should certainly approach God with reverence and respect, we can simultaneously come with confidence. The Bible teaches that we can come to the throne of God and receive mercy and grace in our time of need, but we must approach the throne to ask. Prayer is a privilege that we neglect at our own peril.
- What prevents you from taking your needs to God in prayer?
- After this week’s study, do you think you have a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality? Why do you feel the way you do?
- Which areas in your thought life do you need to realign with the truths found in God’s Word? What passages speak to those issues?
Eugene Peterson’s translation of John 1:14 captures the grace and generosity of Christ:
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
John 1:14 (MSG)
Close your time in prayer giving thanks to God for the grace He has shown in your life. Ask Him to empower you to be someone who is quick to show grace to others.
This content was excerpted from Matt Chandler’s John 1–3 Bible study, session three, personal study section two. Find out more about the study here.