Sermon Snapshot (Phil.1:12-14) 

Paul was thankful for the things that had happened to him, both good and bad, because he believed that God was using them all for Paul's ultimate benefit and the furtherance of the gospel. God can turn tragedies into triumphs and the darkest nights in the brightest lights. This was Paul's philosophy of life (Rom.8:28. Eph.5:20). He believed that a proper response to life's difficult situations is the key to transforming the negatives into positives.

Our attitude during contradiction often determines the outcome afterward (Heb.12:1-15). Weights that we carry are not what happens to us but how we respond, whether it is anger, resentment or bitterness. These things become the sin that hinders our race.

Steps to freedom:

  1. Acknowledge the reality of that event or season. Don't deny or avoid it. 
  2. Acknowledge your responsibility (for the event or at least, for your response to it). 
  3. Acknowledge the power of forgiveness (God's and yours). 
  4. Ask God to use that incident or season as a "well of life" to others. Ask God to apply his grace to it and transform it. Let go of the weights and embrace the joy. 

Possible Discussion Questions 

  1. Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter to the church at Phillipi. What attitudes (or ways of thinking) did he have that kept him so positive in his approach to life and other people? 
  2. When things go wrong or we experience difficulty, what is our natural response? 
  3. What do you think are some keys to help us respond positively to the negative situations of life? 
  4. Why is it so hard to forgive people who hurt us? 
  5. Give some examples of negative situations or experiences that have ended up being used by God for the benefit of others (use Biblical or personal examples). 
  6. What are some things we can do to help other people when they are experiencing "hard times"? 

Wrap Up 

Conclude by spending some time praying for each other about any negative or difficult circumstances that may be happening, believing that God's power and grace will those situations into something beneficial.
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