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Date: June 13, 2021
Steadfast in Difficulties
The Point: We need not fear because we are rich in God’s grace.
Get Into the Study
Use the following to introduce today’s session.
Brood X cicadas are emerging for the first time in 17 years. Encountering one of these large, red-eyed insects can be scary. Fortunately, cicadas don’t bite. But snakes do. Pest control experts are issuing warnings about copperhead snakes during the Brood X cicada emergence. The poisonous snakes are expected to come out in larger numbers to feast on the cicadas.
While there is no reason to fear the cicadas, experts advise caution around copperhead snakes.
Ask: Does this advice mean we should fear copperhead snakes? What is the difference between caution and fear?
This week we will study the church in Smyrna, which was facing danger and persecution. Nonetheless, Jesus encouraged them not to fear. We will see how God’s grace helps us stand strong despite danger or persecution.
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a video that deals with fear in a light-hearted way. Then ask Question #1.
Use the following to conclude today’s session.
Gold-medal gymnast, Simone Biles, is preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and on May 22, she debuted a new move at the U.S. Classic. Competing for the first time since 2019, Biles successfully performed a Yurchenko double pike on the vault, making her the first woman to land the move in competition.
A short video of the performance can be shared.
Ask: What fears could have held Biles back from successfully performing this move? Fear of failure or fear of injury could have prevented Biles from following through and landing the move.
Ask: What or whom did Biles need to trust to successfully perform this move? For example, Biles had to place trust in herself, her training, the equipment, and her coaches.
As believers, we cannot let fear hold us back from completing the tasks set before us. But we don’t have to put our trust in ourselves, or other people. When we trust God’s grace, we can stand strong even when difficulties or persecution arise.
Nikki Wilbanks wrote these Leader Extras. She grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, Nikki enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor. Having returned to Tennessee with her husband, she is now thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom and writer.
- When have you been frightened by something that turned out to be a false alarm?
- When have you been reminded of either extreme wealth or extreme poverty?
- What are some ways you might consider yourself “rich?”
- In what ways are we rich in God’s grace?
- How would it change things in your life to realize that Jesus knows your situation?
- Why are we tempted to focus on physical realities and downplay or ignore our spiritual blessings?
- What are some ways your faith has been tested?
- How can we prevent ourselves from being afraid in the face of suffering?
- How can God’s past faithfulness give you courage to remain steadfast?
- What does conquering look like in our daily lives?
- How can we better listen to the Holy Spirit?
- How will our lives be different if we don’t fear death?
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:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- Mature Living – Taking Courage in Life’s Hardships