Gather/Get Together


Review Your Time Since You Were Last Together


Open God’s Word


Understand & Apply One Thing


Pray For Each Other


Week Six Group Guide

Throughout human history, there have been wars. Lasting days, months, even decades. But inside each of us a far more personal battle is raging. It’s one we’ll be fighting for the rest of our lives. And its impact will be eternal. This Means War is a multi-part series that will expose you to the real rules of engagement. And will equip you to fight and win the battle for your soul.


“Since you have heard all about Jesus and have learned the truth that is in him, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must put on your new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true. So put away all falsehood and tell your neighbor the truth because we belong to each other. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.” Ephesians 4:21-27(NLT)

Nothing on Earth is perfect. Every product we buy and even the food we eat is allowed to have some acceptable level of defect. This applies to people also. Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NLT) tells us “There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.”  The fact is that you will never be sinless on earth, but it is possible to sin less. In this study we are going to look at why is so hard to change our defects and what it takes to actually change them.


Our character defects come from three sources — biological, sociological, and theological. The biological source is our genetics. Each of us has inherited some physical and emotional defects. These genetic defects may explain our inclinations but they do not excuse our sin. Our background is the sociological source. The way we were raised modeled behaviors. We learned how to respond to hurts. And our defects are often attempts to meet our unmet needs. The final source is the choices we make. What we choose to do repeatedly becomes a habit. These habits can be good or bad. Our defects are often our strengths being misused.

Leader Notes

Icebreaker: What are some of the funniest stories of defective merchandise you have heard of or experienced?
Goal: Recognize why change is so difficult and what can be done to bring about change.
Prayer: “Father, help each of us to look at the areas of our lives we need to change and give us what we need to make those changes. Reveal your truth to us, guide our choices, and show us new ways to think. Send your Holy Spirit to give us the power to change and help us develop the relationship with you we need to make effective changes. Help us to participate in a community to encourage and assist each other as we go about implementing the changes, and help us to overcome temptation and the lies Satan will throw at us to keep us from changing. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
PRAY for insight as you begin to prepare for leading your group. Ask for God’s wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will be the teacher and that you will be God’s instrument to lead the group to greater understanding and a willingness to commit to becoming more like God. Prayer should be your primary source of personal preparation for leading your group.

PLAN where you want to take your group in the next 60-90 days. Is your group strong in some areas and weak in others? How can you challenge the members to live more balanced Christian lives? Consider God’s five purposes for the church: Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission and Worship, and make a plan to encourage your group members to growth and commitment in their weak areas.

PONDER YOUR PROGRESS after each session and at the end of a series. Reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Re-evaluation is key to your growth as a leader. Consider whether your plan is being effective in moving the group to greater understanding and commitment. How are you doing with leading the discussion: is it stimulating, challenging, and meaningful? Are you able to keep the group on track? Do you need to make some changes?

• This Sermon Discussion Guide is only a tool to aid you in meeting the needs of your group. For most groups there are too many questions to answer in one session together. After considering the needs of your group you may choose one of the following options:
• One section of questions;
• One or two questions from each section

• Feel free to adapt the format to meet the needs of your group. If your group is mature and wants to dig deeper, add Scripture and ask suitable questions. Remember that this is only a guide.

• The questions relating to the five purposes are helpful to develop balance and spiritual maturity in our lives. You can bring your group to an awareness of their needs in these areas by using these questions as a regular part of each discussion.

• Personal application is key to everyone’s growth and should be included in every discussion. When asked how he or she intends to apply a certain principle a group member may say, “I need to spend more time in the Bible and in prayer.” It is important for you to help group members make applications that are more specific and commit to a specific plan of action by asking, for example, “How are you going to begin?” An example is to get up 30 minutes earlier each morning, spending 15 minutes reading the Bible and 10 minutes in prayer. Encourage each group member to be accountable to the group for personal progress at the next meeting.

• As the leader your goal is to help bring the group into a stimulating discussion that helps the members recognize their need for personal life change. Ultimately you want them to be willing to commit to change with accountability to the group. Accountability helps us to persevere in our commitments and achieve the blessings of success.


In general, the things we want to change weren’t developed overnight. They took time to develop. We have trouble changing them because we are used to them.
We often confuse our identity with our defects. By identifying with our defects, we set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then when we want to change, we are afraid that if we change, we won’t be ourselves.
We don’t do things that aren’t rewarded. Anytime a negative behavior is repeated there is some payoff, even if it is temporary. It may mask our pain, give us an excuse to fail, get us the attention we desire, or any number of other payoffs.
Satan is known as the accuser. He is constantly suggesting negative thoughts to keep us from changing. He may try to tell us that we will never be able to change, it’s hopeless. Or he might suggest that it will never work or people we like will walk out of our life if we change.

Now that we see why it is so difficult to change, we will look at the verses from Ephesians at the top of this page to see the 6 steps we can take to make the changes we want and need to make.

Open your group with a prayer. This is only a guide – select the points you want to discuss.


According to Ephesians 4:21, who is the source of truth?
• How can someone encourage others to trust that God’s Word is true?

Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What is the purpose of Scripture?
• The secret to lasting personal change is knowing and facing the truth. What are some ways that people avoid facing the truth?
• Behind our self-defeating defects, there are lies that we believe. How can someone use Scripture to uncover and identify the lies they believe?

What does Ephesians 4:22 suggest we do with our old nature?
• What does it mean to ‘throw off’ our former way of life?
• Why do you think God might be waiting for us to make a decision before allowing change to happen?

How does Philippians 2:12-13 recommend we work out our salvation?
• What are some of the ways that we might miss God’s best for our lives?
• What is the difference between action from willpower and from the will and the power of the Holy Spirit?

What does Ephesians 4:23 teach us about how we should think?
Every thought determines our feelings and actions. What can we do to renew our thoughts and attitudes?

Who does Philippians 2:5 recommend as the source for our minds and attitudes?
What we think about is our choice. What are some specific steps that someone could take to change how they think?

Read Ephesians 4:24 out loud. What does God promise us?
• How can someone know when they are becoming righteous, holy and true?
• Transformation does not come from our own power but from the Holy Spirit. What are some ways to determine if you are depending upon the Holy Spirit or your own willpower for change?

What will the Spirit of the Lord help us become as stated in 1 Corinthians 3:18?
• What can we do to remain committed to the process of changing to become more and more like Jesus?

What does Ephesians 4:25 say we are to do? Why are we to do it?
• Why are people fearful of sharing honest details of their life with others?

How are we to obey the law of Christ, according to Galatians 6:2?
• Why can’t we change certain aspects of our lives unless we help each other?

Read Ephesians 4:26-27. How does the Devil get a foothold in our life according to these verses?
• Why does being angry give the Devil a foothold?
• What are other ways we create a foothold for the Devil?

Discipleship – Transformation is a process of developing new habits over time. Habits become the building blocks of change and collectively shape our character. Our character is the sum of our habits. Spend a few minutes thinking about a new habit that you would like to develop. What are some specific action steps that you can take this week to incorporate this new habit into your daily routine? How will you invite the Holy Spirit to work with you on your new habit?

Take a moment to review any assignments/challenges made during the personal application and commitment section of your previous meeting.  Seeing God at work in the lives of those who commit to Him is essential for growth.


Change is difficult and often messy but it is possible. The real question is how serious are you about changing for the better? What is keeping you from making the changes you want to make? How will you apply the lessons learned from this study to get you started on a path towards lasting change? Find a partner you can trust with the truth about the area of your life you want to change and get started now. Ask God to give you the wisdom and strength to accomplish the changes. Change is your choice.