Why We Do What We Do :: Why We Stay Stuck

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Gateway Central


We’ve all been stuck at different points in our lives, and often it’s hard to get unstuck. Why is that? Why is it so hard when we’re unhappy with our circumstances, we’re still unable to change? This week we looked at the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19 and how he gets unstuck.

Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!


  1. What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “stuck”? What kinds of feelings would you describe as being characteristic of someone who is stuck?
  2. Can you think of a time in your life when you were stuck (either you couldn’t stop doing what you didn’t want to do, or start doing what you needed to do)?
  3. Read Luke 19:1-4. When we’re first introduced to Zacchaeus, he could be viewed as a man stuck in the pursuit of riches. What was the “movement” Zacchaeus initiated? Why might reaching out and telling someone else be helpful in our process of getting unstuck?
  4. Read Luke 19:5-7. When Zacchaeus does his best to get near Jesus, Jesus responds by entering his life. Describe a time when you worked to move towards God, and you experienced God working in your life. What did you do to get close to God? In what way did you experience his help in the process?
  5. Read Luke 19:8-10. Ultimately getting unstuck will require getting rid of old habits and stepping towards a new existence into which you feel God is leading you. What might you consider removing and replacing with a new thought or behavior that could aid your transformation from the old self to the new?
  6. What are you willing to risk this week to get unstuck? How will you seek support and encouragement from other people? From God?


Luke 19:1-4 — Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

Luke 19:5-7 — When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Luke 19:8-10 — Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”


This week, as a way to “Work out so that God can work in,” try scripture meditation. Essentially, you focus your mind on a truth from the Bible for an entire day. Read it in the morning. Memorize it, if possible. Or, take it with you throughout the day on your smartphone or an index card. Talk to God about it. Trust that it is true. Explore what it means for you. Let it draw you close to God and his promises. Here are some Scriptures to meditate on each day this week:

  • Monday: Psalm 28:7
  • Tuesday: Philippians 4:8
  • Wednesday: 1 Peter 5:7
  • Thursday: Romans 8:37-39
  • Friday: Matthew 22:37-39
  • Saturday: 1 John 5:14
  • Sunday: John 8:31-32

Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to SPIRITUAL GROWTH PATH and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.

Spiritual Outcomes – Study God, Confession, & Freedom

  • Learn more about the value of meditating on scripture by working through the STUDY GOD outcome.
  • Learn more about the value of being honest with God and others about where your stuck by working through the CONFESSION outcome.
  • Learn more about how you can experience ever-increasing freedom from the things that keep you stuck by working through the FREEDOM outcome.


If you’ve yet to do so, we encourage you to download the Bible App by YouVersion on your smart phone. Create a free YouVersion account under Settings. Tap Plans > Discover > Search: Outreach New Testament > Start Plan. Then you can read along each day with us!