Grow, Pray & Study Guide: Next Level Living, Week 2

Our hope at River City is that you grow daily in your walk with God! One way to do that is to spend time with God every day. This Grow, Pray and Study Guide (GPS) is just one easy way to connect with God on a daily basis.


This week our GPS guide is a little bit different. We will be working our way through Matthew 5 and also some of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you have never worked the steps in your life they can be life changing even if you have never had a drink in your life. A true self-examination is a powerful way to grow in your walk with Christ! Some of the steps will be combined into one day because 5 does not equal 12. Here is a link to the 12 Steps.

Monday—Matthew 4:23-25 (Steps 1-3)

Jesus drew a crowd. He drew a crowd of religious leaders that wanted to find ways to undermine and kill him. He also drew a crowd of people that really desired him and the new life that he offered. These were the people that Jesus took time to be around. People that could admit their need and wanted to walk in a new way of life. Step one is a hard step to take. It is tough to admit that we are powerless over anything. Take a look at the steps at the link above and for day one fill in the blank where the word “alcohol” is written. If alcohol needs to stay there then leave it, but I’m sure there is something that we need to change that we can’t seem to move past. What is it for you? Spending, caring what others think, eating, self-esteem….It is probably that thing that Jesus has been pointing out to you for quite a while now. Each person that gathered in the crowd on the Sermon on the Mount could put something in that blank. That is why they came. What does it mean for God to restore your life in this area (step 2). Have you made the decision to turn your will in this and all areas over to God as we understand him as Christians…Jesus Christ?


Tuesday—Matthew 5:13-16 (Steps 4-6)

Light reveals. Salt purifies. For the salt to stay salty and the light to stay bright we must be willing to do the hard work of admitting the exact nature of things we have done wrong to ourselves, God and another person.  Doing this is extremely difficult, but it is also extremely rewarding. Yesterday you “filled in the blank.” Today let the light shine into the dark places.  What else is revealed? Do you believe that God’s love and grace is big enough to not only forgive but help you work through the things that come to your mind? It may seem very dark to you, but I’m sure God has shined a flashlight into darker places. Trust God, but also trust someone that is close to you.Someone that can love and encourage you, but also hold you accountable to the person you want to continue to become. Ask God to shine bright in and through you. The good news is that even if your list of dirty laundry is really long, God can still shine bright through you today! God just asks that you let him into those things.


Wednesday—Matthew 5:21-47 (Steps 7-9)

You’ve heard it said….Now I tell you….Jesus used the Sermon on the Mount to raise the bar so it seems. The Pharisees who Jesus condemns throughout the sermon have set the bar pretty high as well, but for different reasons. You had to be good enough to come to the temple. You had to be clean enough to offer sacrifice, but Jesus had a different idea. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says that he has “fulfilled the law” meaning that you are good enough! You are welcome and that is just the beginning. The Pharisees were just worried about who got to be in and out of the room. Jesus wanted this Christian way to be deeper. He wanted it to be a way of life.  He wanted people to continue to grow. That is why his “but I tell you” went so much deeper.  The steps become a way of life for people that work them consistently. They become the core of their being. Jesus wanted followers that loved their enemies, thought holy thoughts about their neighbor and his wife, and that did not act out of anger but practiced lives of forgiveness. He wants that for you. Don’t be angry…don’t look lustfully…love your enemies….Out of all of these verses which one is hardest for you? Why do you think that is so?


Thursday—Matthew 5:48—(Steps 10-11)

Hold the phone! Holy gees! $%*#! How in the world are we supposed to live into this verse?  Perfect! Really? Perfect?!? You heard Jesus correctly. Perfect. He thinks you can be perfect. Perfect in love of God and love of neighbor. This means that every act I take is out of love of God and neighbor. This perfection is based on desire, consistency and effort. This growing in God thing is never finished. We always have room to grow. We always have to continue to do the inventory of ourselves admitting that we are in need of the light of God to continue to shine in us! Someone who is working the steps is becoming perfect. Someone who is clinging on for dear life trying to be good enough is a white knuckler. A dry drunk. We will never be good enough. Instead we accept that we live in a state of grace and that grace motivates us to live lives that bring forth the glory of God. People see the light and they give glory to the father in heaven! Check out this video.


Friday—(Step 12)

You’ve filled in the blank. You’ve dealt with God. Now read step 12 and find a way to do it today.