There tend to be three kind of people in the world – rule-followers, rule-challengers (or breakers), and rule-followers who are rule-followers until they disagree with a rule or determine a rule doesn’t apply to them – in which case, they really just become rule-challengers (or breakers).
There are people who are intent on figuring out the right things to do and doing them. And there are people who seem more concerned about doing what benefits with little to no regard about whether it’s the right thing to do or not.
One of the tension points in life is when people do all the right things and then something bad happens to them (especially when those who aren’t concerned about doing the right things seem to have things go along just fine for them). These circumstances can leave someone feeling stuck and wondering if doing the right thing is even worth it.
In part 2 (Leaning in to Purpose) of CCC’s Stuck? Series, a season in the life of the early church leader, Paul had figured out the right things to do as a follower of Jesus and was doing them – only to be afflicted with something so troublesome it could have easily left him feeling stuck.
Check out the circumstance in Paul’s life in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and next step/consider the following questions about figuring out and doing the right things but feeling stuck anyway.
- Do you tend to be a rule-follower or a rule-challenger?
- How does it make you feel when you or someone is doing all the right things only to have something bad happen?
- When things are going well in life, why is it so easy to take credit and become prideful?
- How can challenging circumstances serve to humble us?
- What do you think it means when Paul says the challenge he faced was “given” to him?
- What types of circumstances would you describe as “thorn in the flesh” circumstances?
- How can “thorn in the flesh” circumstances lead to feeling stuck?
- How can feeling stuck intensify after asking God for things to change but nothing changes?
- In what ways does “my grace is all you need” seem like an insufficient answer, especially when what we think we need is our circumstances to change?
- In what ways is “my grace is all you need” a sufficient solution, even when circumstances don’t change?
- Why do you think Paul could be glad to boast and take pleasure in his weaknesses and in God’s power?
- How do you typically receive “thorn in the flesh” circumstances?
- What next steps will you take to lean into God’s purpose and promise when you feel stuck?
It’s never wrong to do the right thing – even when doing the right thing doesn’t seem to keep us from challenging circumstances. And when those circumstances don’t change, even when we beg for them to, we are faced with a couple of options. We can lean into the challenge of the circumstances and “cry foul” as cruel and unfair. Or we can lean into God’s purpose of becoming who he desires for us to become and his promise that his grace is all we need. One option is just an option, and one option is a solution.
Today is Monday – make it a day you lean into God’s purpose and promises whether you feel stuck or not.