The only people who can please God are those who live according to God’s Spirit.
The People Who Please God
Give each student a pen and a piece of paper that has three blank spaces on it (down the left hand side of the sheet). Then ask them to write down the names of three people they know that please God with their lives. These people can be a person they know themselves, or a public Christian personality they follow (artist, pastor, musician, etc). If a student can only come up with one or two, that’s fine, as well.
After they have written down the names of the people they think please God, ask them to write down at least one reason why they think each of those people please God.
Finally, tell them to hang on to their sheets of paper because they’ll use them again, later.
I’m glad that each of us has at least one person in our lives that please God. That’s the most important thing in life for us to accomplish: pleasing God. I’m also glad that you have solid reasons for thinking these people please God. For the next few minutes, I want us to look at what the Bible has to say about pleasing God so we can find out if our names will ever make a list like the one we just made.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, let’s all take a second to share our names and the name of just one person we put on our lists.
- ASK A FEW: Why did those particular people make your list? (In other words, what did you write down underneath their names?)
- ASK A FEW: Do you think the people on your lists intentionally try to please God with their lives…or does it just happen accidentally? Why?
- ASK A FEW: How similar does your life look to the lives of those people on your paper?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think your name will ever make this kind of list? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
ASK SOMEONE: According to verse 5, what must a person do to live in accordance with the Spirit? (Leaders – The answer is “have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”)
ASK SOMEONE: What does the mind of a sinful person lead to? What does the mind of a Spirit-controlled person lead to?
ASK A FEW: Verse 8 says, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Why do you think that is the case?
ASK A FEW: Why do you think this (Question #8) is such a deal-breaker with God?
ASK A FEW: Can you name anyone from the Bible who pleased God? (Leaders – If your group is largely unchurched or “outreach kids” just skip this question. They won’t know the answer to it and it might discourage them.)
ASK A FEW: When people look at our lives, do you think they see a life controlled by sin or a life controlled by the Spirit of God? Why?
ASK A FEW: Let’s break that down even further. It sounds like those who want to please God have to be careful what they have their mind set on. What do you have your minds TRULY set on right now?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What needs to change about your life RIGHT NOW so you can please God?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: How will you intentionally try to please God in the coming week?
Romans 8:5-8 (NIV)
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
I think we had a great time tonight. I always enjoy thinking about those people in my life that try to please God. I wrote down several names on my sheet of paper at the beginning, too. Looking over these names, I’m reminded of all these people have done for me JUST BECAUSE they tried to please God with their lives.
So, here’s what I want us to do next.
(You’ll need thank you notes, pens, and envelopes.)
I want us to write a short thank you note to each of those people whose names you wrote down. All I expect you to do is to simply encourage them; you don’t have to write a 6 page letter! Write as much as you want, but it doesn’t have to be long to count; it just has to be authentic. Don’t forget to sign your name at the end. I’m going to give you 10 minutes to complete this little exercise. The bottom line here is I want you to tell them thanks for living a life that focuses on pleasing God.
When you’re done with your individual letters, stuff them into an empty envelope, write their first and last names on the outside, seal them, and bring them to me. Throughout the course of the next week, I’m going to mail every single one of these letters to the people you chose.
After you give the students an appropriate amount of time – with soft music playing in the background to help eliminate distractions – close the group in prayer, thanking God for people in our lives that seek to please Him.
Close in Prayer
Idea by Randy Young
Written by David R Smith