Session 3 – Small Group Study Guide
Gentle and Lowly Chapters 4-5
- It is one thing to imagine suffering and another to experience it firsthand. If you have gone through significant suffering (financial struggle, health issues, relational loss, injustice), how has the experience of suffering changed how you approach others who are struggling?
- Commenting on Hebrews 4:15 (“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”) Ortlund writes, “Not only can he alone pull us out of the hole of sin; he alone desires to climb in and bear our burdens. Jesus is able to sympathize. He ‘co-suffers’ with us.” (49). How does this truth encourage your heart and help you to fight your sin?
- Who is someone (or a type of person) who you have difficulty sympathizing with? How does it affect your interactions with them? Another way to ask this question is: “When you see others struggling, do you focus more on the ‘bad’ (sin) or on the ‘hard’ (suffering)?” Why do you think you respond to these people with impatience and annoyance instead of with compassion?
- Ortlund writes, “If you are in Christ, you have a Friend who, in your sorrow, will never lob down a pep talk from heaven. He cannot bear to hold himself at a distance. Nothing can hold him back. His heart is too bound up with yours” (50). In what ways can you grow to emulate Christ in this aspect with your spouse, your children, and even those who you have difficulty sympathizing with (see Question 3)? And when you fail to do this, how can this same truth give you comfort?
- Ortlund writes, “Our sinfulness runs so deep that a tepid measure of gentleness from Jesus would not be enough; but as deep our sinfulness runs, ever deeper runs his gentleness” (56). The question is do we truly understand how serious our sin is? John Piper once said, “You can’t cleave to Christ with white-hot devotion if you don’t remember and feel what your plight would be without him.” How do you think a greater understanding of your own sin would allow you to have a greater understanding of Christ’s love for you?
- Ortlund states, “Looking inside ourselves, we can anticipate only harshness from heaven. Looking out to Christ, we can anticipate only gentleness” (57). Do you believe this is true for your life and how does that affect how you live and your relationship with Christ? Explain.
Sharing and Prayer
- What is one thing from this study that has impacted your understanding of Jesus? How might this add a dimension to how you relate to Him?
- Share other prayer requests: