We all monitor our behavior to some degree. This keeps us out of trouble and helps us in our personal and professional relationships. But Jesus invites his followers to take monitoring a step further. In fact, Jesus spent much of his personal ministry on Earth helping people understand He came to offer them a new way of living that was all about relationships! It really was the beginning of the good news!

Start Talking

  • When you were a kid, what’s one thing you did that always got you in trouble? Were you good at monitoring your behavior as a kid?
  • Do you consider yourself a rule follower or a rule breaker?

Look It Up

  • Do you have experience with a religious organization that implied or stated that your behavior is primarily what God Cares about? If so, talk about your experience. How does this experience affect you now?
  • Read Matthew 15:1–20.
    • What stands out to you from this passage?
    • Jesus takes a very harsh tone with these particular Pharisees. What is at the core of their question that makes Jesus so upset?
    • From the Pharisee’s perspective, what about Jesus’ response could come across as threatening to their way of life?
    • If you could summarize what Jesus is trying to communicate, how would you say it in one sentence?
  • Which of these following emotions has a way of becoming the boss of you (or maybe it is something not listed)?
    Anger • Envy • Insecurity • Guilt • Fear • Greed
  • What does it sound like (internally) when you’re listening to the “boss” you mentioned from the previous question? How does this play out in your life externally?
  • What is an early indicator that you are about to hand over control to that particular emotion?
  • What regularly happens in your life that triggers that emotion? Instead of being bossed by the emotion, describe how you would ideally like to handle things when that situation occurs.

What Now?

  • It is helpful to remember that as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit as our Helper (John 14:26). In fact, the presence of the Holy Spirit offers us a lot of personal fruit or promises. The list of that fruit can be found here: Galatians 5:22-23 . These things are bigger than emotion and feelings, and are already ours as Christians. Which of these things do you need to ask God to help you focus more on? 
  • In moments where your “bossing emotion” generally takes control, how can you practically demonstrate one of these Fruits of The Spirit?

Moving Forward

Our emotions don’t have to be the boss. In fact, Christians already have a boss—a better boss than anger, envy, insecurity, guilt, fear, or greed. And here is his invitation:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. —Matthew 11:28–29

Memorize this scripture this week! Putting these words in our hearts and minds are a great way to start acknowledging that we need God’s help! Cheering you on!

Additional Resources

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley (Book)
Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruits of the Spirit by Beth Moore (Bible Study Book)