Our Connection & Reflection

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    DAY 1: Created for Connection

    John 15:4–5

    Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

    Jesus is inviting you to attach yourself to him. He is the giver and sustainer of life. Jesus wants to produce good things in your life, but you have to continue to remain, abide, and stay attached to him in order to flourish.

    Imagine yourself as a branch. At your base, at your core, you are connected to the Vine. That Vine is Jesus.

    It is in him that you draw your life-sustaining nutrients.

    Reflection: What are the nutrients that you need to draw from the Vine in this season of life? Do you need the nutrients of peace, forgiveness, endurance, trust, hope, patience? Ask Jesus, the Vine, for those things right now.

    DAY 2: Created for Reflection

    Romans 8:28–30

    And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

    Your connection with Jesus makes your reflection of Jesus possible! Yesterday you focused on your connection with Jesus. You were created for this life-giving connection. But you were also created to be a reflection of Jesus. You bear his image! The more you receive from Jesus the more you are transformed into his image. 

    There are so many things you can end up reflecting throughout your day. Your attitude, actions, and emotions all reflect a certain image. It could be images like busyness, selfishness, kindness, or gratitude.

    Focus today on the qualities of Jesus. What qualities did his image reflect?

    Read through Philippians 2:2–8 and list all the characteristics that Jesus was reflecting.

    Focus on one characteristic of Jesus this week and ask him to cultivate that to be reflected in your life. 

    DAY 3: Created for Community

    1 Corinthians 12:27

    Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

    It is true that you are an individual, but it’s impossible to know your identity apart from other people. You were created for community. You will grow in your truest identity as you grow in your connection with God and others.

    You can only know your identity as a mother by knowing your connection with children. You can only know your identity as team captain by knowing your relationship with your coach and teammates.

    Paul writes that YOU are the body of Christ. Here, he is referring to the Church. You are an individual with unique gifts and personality traits, but your identity is a part of something larger than yourself. Your identity is the Church, the body of Christ, made up of believers with personalities and gifts that differ from yours.

    How connected are you to the Church? In what ways do you help move the body of Christ?

    Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:19, “If all were a single member, where would the body be?” It’s good that the Church is made up of many different members.

    Read through 1 Corinthians 12:12–27 and ask yourself, “What kind of member am I?”

    DAY 4: Created for Good Things (Part 1)

    Ephesians 2:8–10

    God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

    In this passage the phrase good things is used twice. The first time it is used, Paul makes it clear that salvation is not a reward and cannot be earned by doing good things. Accomplishing good things is not the way that you get connected to Jesus. You get connected to Jesus only by grace through faith.

    However, after we get connected to Jesus, one of the ways that we begin reflecting his image is by living from our identity as his masterpiece and beginning to carry out the good things that he prepared in advance for us!

    Think of “masterpiece” as God’s work of art, or God’s workmanship. He has created you intentionally with amazing gifts, desires, and resources for you to accomplish specific work in this broken world. When you show up every day to do your best work and bless the world, you are reflecting God and the kingdom of God for a lost and broken world. 

    DAY 5: Created for Good Things (Part 2)

    Matthew 5:14–16

    You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

    Jesus says that your identity is like a city that is set on top of a hill or like a light on a stand. God is calling his people to be a catalyst for good in this world. Your good deeds are to shine for the whole world to see.

    Maybe you are thinking, “Shouldn’t I do good deeds in secret so that I’m not becoming prideful or drawing attention to myself?” It is true that God doesn’t want your good deeds being done in a way that says, “Look at me and how great I am,” but you are to carry out these good deeds in such a way that it causes others to “praise your heavenly Father.”

    This is especially true for those who don’t know Jesus and aren’t connected to him yet. Listen to the Apostle Peter and how he describes these good deeds being carried out in 1 Peter 2:12: “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then, even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

    Reflection: What good deeds can you carry out this week that will draw people’s attention to God and his kingdom?

    Who are your closest unbelieving neighbors? How can you let your light shine on them this week?

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