1 Sam. 16:7 People are often popular because of their looks (tall, dark, handsome, and muscular or petite, beautiful, and feminine), but at what does God look?
[“the heart” – the inner character].
What makes someone popular in your eyes, and why?
Matt. 10:21-22, 34-37 How popular or unpopular might or will a Christian/follower of Christ be in his/her own home when the rest of his/her family aren’t dedicated Christians/believers?
Or, what might happen to this Christian/follower of Christ in his/her family?
What would you do if your family responded to your Christian dedication in this way, and why?
Mk. 8:31-33 Why wasn’t Peter very popular with Christ during this incident?
[“man’s interests” – self-centered interests, like popularity, position, power, possessions, etc.].
Have you ever rebuked a dedicated Christian for his plans to do the will of God because his plans to obey God would mess up your personal plans that involved him?
Or, have you ever been rebuked by another Christian because you wanted to wholly do God’s will in some area or some way that would have messed up their plans if you did God’s will?
If so, when, and what was it?
Lk. 6:22-23 What is true of the believer/follower of Christ when he/she is ostracized, insulted, and/or spurned by others because of his/her relation to Christ?
And what should that believer’s reaction be when he/she is not popular with others because of his/her being a follower of Christ?
Have you ever been ostracized, insulted, or spurned by others because of your devotion or relationship to Christ?
If so, by whom?
What happened, specifically?
And what was your response to it all?
Lk. 6:26 Is it good to be well spoken of by all people, and why?
[“woe” means “ruinous trouble”].
Have you ever compromised your convictions/beliefs in order to be accepted by people?
If so, when?
What was it, and why did you do so?
Lk. 11:42-43 Why is the judgment of “woe” put upon these Pharisees?
Do you ever love to be in the “spot light” or publicly honored for your religiosity?
If so, what, when, and why?
Jn. 12:42-43 What was the real reason these new believers didn’t confess their faith openly?
Has this ever been or is this true of you, and why?
What has or would change your perspective or actions in this area?
Jn. 5:44 What were the Jews receiving from one another?
[“glory” – praise].
And what weren’t they seeking from God?
Which is true of you, and why?
Jn. 15:18-19; 17:14-16 Who does the world love?
[“the world” – non-believers].
When will the world hate Christians?
[“of the world” – holding or participating in the self-centered values, goals, priorities, opinions, beliefs, and activities of non-believers or carnal Christians.].
Acts 4:1-2, 18-20; 5:26-29 When faced with a decision, whom did the apostles choose to obey – the religious and civil authorities or God?
With the threatening difficulties the apostles faced, what would you have done if you were them, and why?
Rom. 1:16 Was Paul concerned about being popular?
How do you know (also see 1 Thes. 2:4)?
Have you ever been ashamed of sharing the gospel, and why?
If so, what will need to happen in your life so that you’re not ashamed?
Rom. 8:6-8 Who can’t please God?
[“in the flesh” – controlled by their sin nature].
If you as a Christian want to please God, what should you do?
[“set on the Spirit” – fixed on what the Holy Spirit desires, e.g., Christ-like character – Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22-23; evangelism – Acts 1:8].
Are you consistently setting your mind on the Holy Spirit’s desires, and why?
If so, how do you do so?
Rom. 12:2 What is the will of God for all Christians here?
Are you conforming to the world (the self-centered activities, pursuits, priorities, desires, opinions and beliefs of non-believers or carnal Christians)?
And are you transforming/changing your life to be Christ-like by renewing your mind/thinking with God’s Word, the Bible?
If so, how?
1 Cor. 15:33 About what shouldn’t we be deceived?
Do you want to be popular with “bad company” (i.e., those who don’t want to obey God and the Bible), and why?
Does Jesus’ eating with sinners in Lk. 5:29-32 contradict this, and why?
2 Cor. 5:6-9 What was Paul and Timothy’s ambition (2 Cor. 5:9)?
And what pleases God (Heb. 11:6; Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 3:22)?
What is your ambition in life, and why?
2 Cor. 5:14-15 (Rom. 14:7-8) For whom should Christians be living, and why?
For whom are you living?
2 Cor. 6:14-15 Why is it senseless to try to be popular with non-Christians?
Do you ever get caught up in trying to be popular or liked by non-Christians, and why?
Gal. 1:10 What would be true if we try to please people by teaching beliefs/doctrines that they want to hear rather than what God says in the Bible, and why?
If it means displeasing God in order to please people, what would you do, and why?
Gal. 6:14 What has happened in Paul’s life as a result of the cross of Christ?
[“The world” – the self-centered values, goals, beliefs, activities, priorities of non-believers and/or carnal Christians.].
[“dead to” – of no interest].
Is this true of your life? If so, why?
Eph. 5:6-10 What should the Christian try to learn?
Are you doing this? If so, how, and why?
And what does the Bible say pleases Him in Hebrews 11:6 and 1 Jn. 3:22?
Phil. 3:7-10 What did Paul count as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ his Lord?
How did Paul regard all the things that were of personal gain to him, and why?
How valuable are the things you cherish the most (achievements, abilities, associations, pedigree, etc.) in comparison to your desire to know Christ better in your experience?
And does the time you spend with Him in prayer and reading and obeying the Bible reflect this?
If so, how?
Col. 1:9-10 What prerequisite is necessary in order to live in a manner that is pleasing to Christ in all respects?
How does a person become filled (thoroughly familiar) with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom (Psa. 119:160)?
Are you pursuing knowing God’s Word, the Bible, well so that you know what pleases Christ in all respects?
If so, how?
Col. 3:1-3 On what are we to seek and set our minds?
Are you focusing on eternal, spiritual things, like God’s kingdom, your citizenship there, and godly qualities (Rom. 14:17; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 2:22), or are you focusing on what the world says will make you popular (e.g., money, possessions, looks, high position, power, expensive clothes, cars, houses, etc.)?
What do you seek most and spend the majority of your time setting your mind on, and why?
1 Thes. 2:3-4 How did Paul and Timothy speak?
When you speak the gospel or other truths, who do you try to please, and why?
1 Thes. 4:1 In what does Paul exhort these believers to excel still more?
Are you doing this? If so, how?
2 Tim. 2:4 What doesn’t a soldier (Christian) in active service do, and why?
[“entangle” – means to get wrapped up in, nearly enslaved in/to something].
Are you entangled in the affairs of everyday life (e.g., career, school, sports, music, computers, social media, TV, phones, electronics, house, cars, money, hobbies, family, grades, relationships with the opposite sex, lifting weights, video games, martial arts, etc.), and why?
What should we be deeply involved with, and why (Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Pet. 1:15)?
2 Tim. 3:12 What does it say will be, not just may be, true of all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus?
How do you respond to this promise, and why?
Do you ever try to walk the fence and please both God and the world in order to be accepted by both, and why?
Heb. 11:5-6 Without what is it impossible to please God?
[This entails believing that He is (who He says He is), and believing that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (that He will do what He says).].
Are you desirous of pleasing God? If so, what will you do about it, when, and how?
Jas. 4:4 What or with whom do you want to be a friend or popular, and why?
1 Pet. 1:14-15 To what shouldn’t we be conformed?
[“former lusts” – for immorality, and self-centered: power, position, possessions, wealth, etc.].
What should we do instead?
Which is true of you, and why?
1 Pet. 4:3-5 What are non-Christians surprised that we don’t do?
And what do they do when you don’t do these things with them?
Are you willing to be maligned (slandered or spoken evil of) by people and not be popular in order to be popular with God by living a holy life?
If not, what will it take for you to do so?
Do you surprise people by not participating in wild parties, night clubs, sensuality, or going to or watching “R” or “X”-rated movies or websites, or do you run/participate with them (i.e., non-believers or even carnal believers), and why?
2 Pet. 2:18-21 What is true of those who promise you freedom in doing your own thing – whatever you want?
To what is a person enslaved?
For whom has the “last become worse than the first”?
Are you entangled in or overcome by any worldly activity?
If so, what do you plan to do about it, and why, and when?
1 Jn. 2:15-17 What are we not to do?
What is true if we love the world or the things in it?
Do you love the things in the world (i.e., “the lusts of the flesh” – immorality, drunkenness, gluttony, illicit drugs; “the lust of the eyes” – coveting things/possessions or people God did not intend for you to have; “pride of life” – position, fame, wealth, materialism, power, etc. acquired for self-centered reasons)?
Are you more interested in being popular with God or the world, and why?
1 Jn. 3:13 About what shouldn’t we marvel?
Are you surprised when this happens to you because you’re a Christian trying to live a godly life?
[If it has never happened, you might ask yourself whether you have compromised by trying to be popular with the world.].
1 Jn. 3:22 When does God respond to our prayers?
Is He responding to your prayers in a positive way?
If not, could it be because you’re not keeping His commandments or doing the things that please God?
If so, what do you plan to do about it, and when?