Connections 04.25.2021: When A Plan Comes Together

1 John 3:11-24

There was a time in my life when I was a regular viewer of the television program The A-Team. On one hand, I am not proud of that fact. On the other hand, everybody needs a little mindless distraction every now and then, and The A-Team certainly fulfilled those criteria.

Besides, a recurring line from the program gave me the title of this post. At some point in each episode, the character Hannibal (played by George Peppard), who was the leader of the team, would say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

This week’s lesson text points us to what happens as the plan comes together.

The plan that the author of 1 John is talking about is God’s plan. Specifically, it is God’s plan for us. Even more specifically, it is God’s plan for the ways our relationship with Jesus affects the ways we live.

You’ll notice that I said that this week’s lesson text points us to what happens as God’s plan comes together in our lives rather than when it comes together. This plan isn’t one we follow step-by-step until we complete it. It is rather one in which several realities continuously work together to form us into the people that God wants us always to be becoming. That’s important to remember as we think about the elements of God’s plan for us. All of those elements are always coming together all the time.

So what are the elements of God’s plan?

According to our lesson text, they are abiding, obedience, belief, love, and the Spirit.

Remember now that all of these elements are always working together in us in a continual process.

So as we keep progressing in abiding in God, we continue growing in obedience, belief, love, and the Spirit.

And as we keep progressing in obedience, we continue growing in belief, love, the Spirit, and abiding.

And as we keep progressing in belief, we continue growing in love, the Spirit, abiding, and obedience.

And as we keep progressing in love, we continue growing in the Spirit, abiding, obedience, and belief.

And as we keep progressing in the Spirit, we continue growing in abiding, obedience, belief, and love.

And so on and so on and so on, in every moment, with every thought, with every motivation, with every attitude, with every perspective, and with every action, for as long as we live.

Don’t you love it when God’s plan comes together?

Discussion

  • How will practicing love change the ways we relate to each other?
  • How does living in love demonstrate our relationship with God?
  • What template does Jesus provide for how we are to love one another? How should we follow that template? What gets in the way of our doing so?
  • Why is it important that we trust in God rather than in ourselves? How can our trust in God help us overcome our doubts about ourselves?

Michael Ruffin is husband to Debra, father to Joshua (Michelle) and Sara, grandfather to Sullivan and Isabella. A graduate of Mercer University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has previously served as a pastor and as a university professor. He lives on the Ruffin Family Farm in Yatesville, Georgia. He is the Connections Series Curriculum Editor.

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