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Date: January 24, 2021
The Benefit of Spiritual Disciplines
The Point: Growth in Christ occurs when we practice spiritual disciplines.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Some athletes are known for adopting habits and rituals that they believe will bring them good luck as they play their games. Professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, is one such athlete who has an unusual pregame ritual. He burns sage in the arena before he plays the game. The burning of sage is a Native American ritual, thought to remove negativity in an area. Irving explains his reasons for burning the sage, saying, “Just making sure we cleanse the energy in here and we play well. And I want everybody to stay safe, not just my teammates.” If the opposing team allows him to do it, Irving said he likes to burn sage at every game. [Obviously, Christians don’t approve of pagan or folk religious practices.]
Say: Kyrie Irving believes his habit of burning sage just before playing a basketball game, helps him and his teammates to perform well. Then call attention to Question #1 (What are some odd habits you’ve observed in others?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study (Option from Adult Leader Guide)
In advance, play a funny or interesting video about odd habits to help group members consider the role habits or disciplines play in our lives. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use the following information to supplement Question #4.
Athletes around the world were training in preparation for the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo and then Covid arrived, forcing the Olympics to be postponed till 2021. Suddenly their years of training and preparation precisely timed toward the goal of competing in the Olympics were disrupted. Emma White, a professional racing cyclist, said, “It’s exhausting. You eat, sleep, and breathe thinking about the Olympics. Every decision in your life on and off the bike is for this one goal. To push that back a year, it’s a big mental challenge.” White believes the dealing with mental challenges of the postponed Olympics is even harder than the physical challenges. “It’s tough to stay motivated and positive through all this,” she said. “It’s gonna be a big mental battle.”
Say: Paul’s instruction in verse 7 to “train yourself in godliness” reminds us of the kind of preparation an athlete or musician or actor might pursue. For the athletes preparing for the Olympics, the disrupted training and postponed Olympics is a real challenge. Then call attention to Question #4 (What are the challenges and benefits of training ourselves in godliness?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible (Option from Senior Adult Leader Guide)
After reading 1 Timothy 4:4-7a, display a dollar bill, pill bottle, bottle of perfume, a handbag, a pair of tennis shoes. These items are all are prone to being counterfeit. Counterfeits are illegal but some are dangerous. Determine which of these counterfeits could be dangerous and why by using information from this article. Click here.
- What are some things you do simply out of habit?
- When have you benefitted from a disciplined approach?
- What obstacles do you encounter when trying to form a new habit?
1 Timothy 4:1-3
- What are the dangers of falling for false or ungodly teachings?
- How can we equip ourselves to identify false teachings?
- What distortions of biblical truth have you encountered recently?
1 Timothy 4:4-7a
- What are some things that have helped you focus on and lift up the truth of God?
- What are some examples of the “good” gifts Paul mentioned in verse 4?
- What can Christians do to identify and avoid myths?
1 Timothy 4:7b-10
- What are the implications for Paul’s choice of the word “train” in verses 7-8?
- What strategies have helped you stay committed to spiritual disciplines?
- How have you seen returns on your investment in your spiritual life?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
As a supplement to our study on spiritual disciplines, Bible Studies for Life offers several free e-books.
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.