Our friendships can help us move toward God or away from God. As we finish our series on Friendship Essentials, will explore the topic of alignment. The closer our friends, the more they should help us move toward God’s great mission of love and forgiveness.
Group Discussion Guide
To see the leader guide for this week, CLICK HERE
Spend a few minutes discussing with your group how last week’s application went. How have you developed in the way you view and treat friendships over the past 4 weeks?
After your time of connecting, begin your meeting with prayer.
Romans 12:4-5 “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”
Alignment within friendships is important for lasting relationships with others because it determines the direction of the relationship. Friendships that are misaligned due to place of life, personal interests, or faith can, unfortunately, be difficult to maintain; if we are not careful, this can cause our friendships to fail. This doesn’t mean we need to abandon those we don’t align with, but instead should seek to connect in the ways we can and try to align ourselves more. In fact, one way we can seek alignment in our friendships is by seeing them as one way to reflect God’s own friendship with us. If we make faith and relationship with God a key component to those we are closest to, then we can grow, not only in our friendships but our faith in God. This leads us to our big idea for the week:
Big Idea for the week
We can move closer to God through our friendships.
- Do you think you attract friends that are the same or different than you? Why?
- How necessary do you think alignment, meaning unity of thought or direction, is within friendships? Why?
- How can alignment of beliefs affect your friendships?
Go around your group and have someone read each of the following verses, then discuss the connected questions.
- Read Philippians 1:27
- Why do you think Paul is confident that his audience will be united in spirit and purpose if they live “in a manner according to the Good News about Christ”?
The next section of verses is an excerpt of Jesus’ prayer right before the Jewish leaders arrest him. Within it, Jesus is asking for his followers (specifically his twelve apostles) to be protected and united after he is gone. As you read, pay attention to how Jesus talks about his relationship with God and how that should affect his followers’ relationship with themselves.
- Read John 17:20-23
- Why do you think Jesus includes this section in his prayer for his followers? How does your alignment with Jesus affect your alignment with your friends? While spiritual alignment in friendships is powerful, why is it also important to have friendships with people who believe differently than us?
- Romans 15:5-7
- Is it always easy to “live in complete harmony” with others? Why or why not?
- What result does Paul (the author of Romans) describe happens when we are aligned with other followers of Christ?
- What hinders you from accepting others entirely into your life? How does knowing God accepted you change this?
Based on the verses we just read, there are some things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these questions as a group in order to determine what your personal action steps for the week can be:
- The verses we just read describe a specific way of how to live with others. What is the benefit of living this way? What steps can we take to do this?
- What friendships do you have that you can be more aligned with? What will that look like?
- How is your alignment with Jesus? How strongly do you desire alignment with Jesus? Why? How can your group help you to become more aligned with Jesus?
When we seek to be aligned, not only with God but also with our friendships, we can view each other as a team or a family with a common goal of moving closer to God and spreading his story to the communities around us that might not know Jesus very well. Aligning ourselves well in our friendships is one way we can practice living like Jesus teaches in the Bible while also helping each other grow. This week’s lesson, as well as the lessons from the rest of this series, are important and helpful as we continue to try to build upon the friendships in our lives and encourage others to do the same.
Daily Bible Reading
Use the S.O.A.P. method to reflect on the verses below.
Scripture: Read the verses several times out loud.
Observation: As you read the scripture what do you observe.
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do or feel based on what you have read?
Pray: This is a chance to talk to God about what you have read, and ask him for help in living out what you’ve learned.
- Day 1: John 13:35
- Day 2: Proverbs 27:17
- Day 3: 1 Corinthians 12:12
- Day 4: Psalm 133:1
- Day 5: 1 Peter 1:22
- Day 6: Galatians 3:26-28