1. Paul addresses his letter to "beloved friends" (2:12). Love is a necessary environment for all growth. What do you or your parents do or say that expresses the quality of love in your family life?
2. Paul writes, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (2:12-13). "Fear & trembling" just means it's important and needs our attention. This whole verse reminds us that God does his part in growing us as Christians, while we do our part.
When have you been helped to grow by a good coach, teacher or counselor? How did their effort help you know what you had to do to improve or expand your capabilities? How is this like what God does to help us grow to be like Jesus?
3. Paul says people who think like Jesus "shine among [the not-yet-believing world] like stars in the sky" (2:15). He goes on to give examples like Timothy, Epaphroditus, Euodia and Syntyche who shine like stars in different ways.
Who do you see in your life who shines like this? How do you think people observe your "shine"?
4. What evidence is there to say you are growing to think like Jesus?