What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. Where do you have some "over the top" loyalties? A sports team? A college? A celebrity crush? A politician? Has this ever caused you to relax your values or inhibitions?
2. Read John 17:10-14. First, realize this is Jesus speaking. Who is He talking to? What is Jesus preparing the disciples to experience? What, specifically, is He asking God to do for these believers? Does this prayer extend to us? What two words do you find ironic in their proximity? Why?
3. Read John 18:36. Jesus contrasts what His loyal subjects should do and not do. If His kingdom was worldly, what would/should they have done? Since He says it is not worldly, what does that imply? Check out these verses to support or disprove your opinion: 2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 5:38-40; Romans 12:18.
4. "I am not of this world. I live in God’s Kingdom." The pull is real. There are relationships that pull us away from God. There are pressures, financial and emotional, that tempt us to do whatever it takes to fix our hurts or problems the world’s way. Share with your Life Group a time when you had to make the choice: "Do I handle this my way (in the flesh) or do I lay this down, giving it to God, and allowing Him to defend and lead me?"
5. Read Galatians 5:22-25 and James 3:17. God speaks a different language. Satan tries to distract us so that we have a challenging time hearing what God has to say. Based on these verses, how can we identify what comes from God? How can we practically put this to use in our life?
6. Final Thought: The "Lord’s Prayer" is Jesus’ model for us to pray, not as a rote act, but as a guide for the topics and ways to pray. Are you willing to daily pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10, NIV) for the next week? The next month? In every situation you face—in your marriage, you career, your parenting, your finances—are you willing to allow God to direct and follow Him?
Jesus taught a lot on the kingdom of God is here, in our midst (see Luke 17:21). He also taught that we have to seek it, pursue it, and value that kingdom! It is of great value. We are not to fight the world’s way, but we are to "fight the good fight" and "stand in the gap," all military and offensive, defensive words.
7. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. This week, we learned we are not to fight the world’s way. But we are in a war. Read about the armor that allows you to stand firm, despite the enemy’s attacks. Write down the weapons found in these verses and what they mean. Which do you regularly appropriate? Which have you never considered or used as part of your personal armor?
8. Read Ephesians 6:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11, Exodus 14:13, and 2 Timothy 2:15. What are the final, maybe even the most important, weapons for your spiritual protection and well-being? Which one is defensive, that you must put on for protection? Which one is offensive, wielded by the Spirit to fight your battles?