Verse for the Week
: “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ … I consider them garbage that I may GAIN Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

Study Reference for Small Groups: Philippians 3:4-8

Good afternoon friends! Have you ever worked out for the first time in a while? It’s painful! In fact, you need to be careful because if you push things too far when you’re out of shape you might get injured. However, if you don’t do anything you’ll always be out of shape and if you push things too far in the other direction it can cause greater health problems moving forward. So the bottom line is that the pain you feel from a good workout is actually good for you. That’s why they say, “No pain, no GAIN!” You feel sore afterwards because your muscles are actually tearing and growing to accommodate your new patterns. Just like our physical bodies progress through pain, so do our spiritual lives. No one wants pain. And we often avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations. However, those situations are usually the ones that exercise our spiritual muscles the most. Think about it. Being in a relationship or getting married shows you the commitment level needed to maintain a good connection with someone. In addition, having children teaches you more than you ever realized that life isn’t just about you. Also, while dealing with a difficult co-worker, friend or family member, you might learn how to be patient with others. If it weren’t for difficult situations in you life you would never grow as a person. That’s what the life of the Apostle Paul shows us. In his letter to the Philippians, he said that everything he gained was a loss compared to knowing Christ and gaining a deep relationship with him (Philippians 3:4-8). In that way the Gospel gains you everything. When things aren’t looking so bright we tend to think our Heavenly Father has forgotten us. On the flip side, bad circumstances are often a sign that God is mightily at work in our lives, developing spiritual strength to help us get through everything he’s calling us to do today and into the future.

Application:
Describe a time in your life that was difficult but profitable afterwards to you or others.

What’s one area you think God might be developing spiritual strength in you currently?

Can you think of a Bible character who endured difficulty that later became profitable to other people or God’s plan for the world?

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