Read Galatians 5 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this chapter?
As you consider the fruit of the Spirit, how do you see God at work in you conforming you to the image and character of Christ?
Where and when most recently have you sensed the deep peace of God?
Read John 14.25-27. What is the peace Jesus is talking about here? What is the peace He gives?
How is His peace vastly different from the peace of this world?
Read Philippians 4.7. In your own words, note how you would describe this truth to a non-Christian friend.
Why and how did Jesus make peace for you?
In what ways do you see yourself as a peacemaker? What’s the difference between being a peacemaker and a peacekeeper? Which is more difficult? Why would Jesus call us “blessed” for living out that which is most difficult?
How desperate is our world for the peace of Christ? As a peacemaker, what is one step you’ve taken to bring peace to our unpeaceful world?
Read, and reflect on the words of Mark Labberton: “There’s no place for an easy kind of common agreement. All naive expectations about some kind of easily achieved shalom (peace) have to be in some way to be reordered, shattered, left in disarray until sufficient agreement and readiness together has been created in order to necessarily come to a new future.”
Read Isaiah 58. What’s at the heart of this text?
What does “fasting” mean here? Why would Isaiah press the care and love of others as a higher call?
How might God be calling you to literally participate in Isaiah 58.6-12?
Read and reflect on the words of Alec Motyer. “To loose the chains of injustice/’fetters of wickedness’ points to the need to labour for the abolition of every way in which wrong social structures, or wrongdoers in society, destroy or diminish the due liberty of others. To untie the cords of the yoke refers to the need to eliminate every way in which people are treated like animals.” Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah.
Is God a conditional God? It appears there is a condition implied here. What do you make of this tension?
What role does obedience play in the life of a follower of Christ?
How are you challenged and encouraged by Jesus’ words as recorded in John 16.33? “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”