PATIENCE and SELF-CONTROL
Small group devotion
Each week we’ll be digesting a different aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. This week: PATIENCE and SELF-CONTROL. This is a chance for your group to share about the some of the trip-ups in their life. It could be a vulnerable time so it may be worth reminding the group of confidentiality.
Opening activity: Play a game that demonstrates self control. For example, the game Quiet. Or get the group to share stories of times in their life when they’ve had be patient.
If your group was at the Living Room, try and re-cap some of what Abi talked about. What stood out to you?
As you read the parable together, focus on what it might have to say about patience and self-control. Compare the actions of the master with the servant.
Read Matt 18:23-35
On first reading, this parable might seem a strange choice, but what do you think it has to do with patience and self-control? (See Leader’s Notes 1)
Get creative. Re-tell the parable for a modern reader. (See Leader’s Notes 2)
What are some “trip-ups” in your life? Or some areas where you show lack of patience or self-control (particularly with regard to others)?
What are some practical ways to be more patient or have more self-control in these areas of your life? (See Leader’s Notes 3)
Patience is closely linked with forgiveness (our ability to forgive others and yourself) (cf. vv. 26, 33, 35). If the group is close enough, you might to spend some time sharing things you need forgiveness for. This time of confession may lead into a time of prayer for one another. (See Leader’s Notes 4)
Impatience and intolerance is like torture (cf. v. 34). How do think impatience and intolerance can “torture” us?
What do you think it means that God is like the master who is infinitely patient and merciful?
- In verse 26 the servant begs the master to be patient with him (this is the same word as in Galatians 5:22). But then the servant goes on to show total lack of patient, mercy and self-control with the people in his life who owe him something (cf. vv. 28-31). He not only wouldn’t forgive the debt but he started to strangle the poor fellow!
- Encourage the group to get creative. Some ideas might be around people owing money, or forgiving a friend for gossiping, or being nice to people that annoy us… God is infinitely patient with us. How can we display that patience and self-control in our relationships with others?
- These might involve talking to a trusted friend, or having an older mentor to keep you accountable, or removing yourself from a situation when you know you’re angry etc.
- This could be a vulnerable time. Make sure that during the time of confession you remind your group strongly of the infinite patience of God towards us. With regards to the last question, it is better to emphasise the willingness of God to forgive infinite debt rather than a God who threatens us with torture if we don’t! The last verses (32-35) reflect more the “torture” of a life lived in unforgiveness, bearing a grudge, pride, self-indulgence — these things separate us from God and are “torturous”.