You might think you’re already an expert on wrecking your life, but over the course of five weeks, we’ve been helping you take it to the next level!  We’ve examined five excellent ways to totally ruin your life!

For some, this series has served as a precautionary tale, but for most of us, it has been about how we can travel the road to recovery.  Throughout this series we’ve drawn on the journal of the wisest man ever to live: King Solomon.                                                               


Introduction

Solomon’s life can be summed up as “The Tale of 2 Lives.”

In the first part of his life, he followed God.  He was a successful leader, a wise leader, and he was the envy of other leaders and kings of his day.

In the second part of his life, he followed himself.  He became his own god.  In doing so, he wrecked his life, his marriages, his family, and his nation.

  • Pastor Mark Batterson is fond of saying that we make a few major decisions throughout our lives and then spend the rest of our lives managing those decisions.  What is one pivotal decision you made in life, and what has its impact been?  If you were baptized last weekend, share what led you to make that decision.


Understanding

Have a volunteer read Ecclesiastes 12:1-8.

Here Solomon uses a lot of poetic language to say that before you get old, before your mind get fuzzy and your knees weak, don’t let your life journal be full of regret and shame like mine was.  Remember your Creator and live a better story while you’re still young.

  • When is one time when you decided to live a better story?

  • In the Old Testament, we read a lot about people who built altars to God as a way to remember what He had done in their lives. What is one thing you could do each day—in addition to prayer and Bible study—that would be a way of remembering God?

The word “remember” here means more than recalling facts or thinking about God, to “remember” God is to obey Him.  We obey God because He is God, because he is so much bigger and greater than we are, but we also obey God because—as we’ve seen throughout this series—our lives are better when we obey Him, when we let God be God.  When we try to be God like Solomon did, we wreck our lives.

  • How much does a desire to obey God impact your daily decisions?

Have a volunteer read Ecclesiastes 12:9-14.

Solomon made many observations about life in Ecclesiastes. He noted the joys of life and the tragedies. He pointed out the futility of human pursuits as an end in themselves. Pleasure, wealth, sexuality, work, and all other human activities are meaningless apart from pursuing God.

In these closing verses, Solomon writes his conclusion, he gives his bottom line.  The goal of life is to fear God and keep His commands. And these commands are inseparable.

In Ecclesiastes 12:13, the command to fear God is elevated to the supreme principle of life. Fearing God doesn’t mean walking around scared that God will harm us if we displease Him.  Fearing God is the attitude of a follower of Jesus who recognizes the truth of who God is and gives Him the honor He deserves by obeying His commands.  Nothing dishonors God more than when we willfully disregard what He has asked of us.

This level of obedience is the example that Jesus set for us. By leaving heaven and coming to earth to be a sacrifice for us, Jesus demonstrated that obedience is rooted in love for God and worship of Him. When we obey God, we’re following Jesus’ example.

  • If you know God but don’t obey Him, what does that say about the way you view God and your relationship with Him?

Have a volunteer read Philippians 2:1-8

Here Paul, the man who started many of the earliest churches, reminds us that Jesus is the ultimate example of humility and obedience. That Jesus, even though He is God, he submitted himself to the will of God the Father, and humbled himself by becoming a human—setting aside all of the rights and privileges that come with being God—and sacrificing His life to heal the broken relationship between God and people.

  • What do you think it was like for Jesus to leave heaven and become human? What did He give up in doing so?

  • What would our lives look like if obeying God were our a primary focus rather than a secondary concern?


Application

  • What is one change you plan to make as a result of this message?  How can this group help you make it?


Activity

At the beginning of his message, Gene shared the importance of remaining humble, gentle, unified, and peaceful as followers of Jesus, in spite of any differences we may have or frustrations we may feel as a result of the recent election. (Ephesians 4:2-3)  He also talked about the importance of praying for those who are in power.

Spend a few minutes now praying for God to bring unity to our country and—even more importantly—to the Church.  Ask God to heal racial, political, and socio-economic divides.  Also ask that He would be with President-elect Trump, that God would give him wisdom and discernment and that He would draw the new president into a close relationship with Jesus.