Date: March 27, 2022
A Life of Love
The Point: Remaining in Christ means our relationships are marked by love.
Get Into the Study
Use the following to introduce today’s session.
The war in Ukraine, Covid numbers, political division, gas prices, inflation: our newsfeeds have been filled with turmoil. We could all use an infusion of joy.
An elementary school in CA has launched a hotline to provide just that. Give Peptoc a call and you will hear the following menu options read by students: If you’re feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5.
Professor Jessica Martin, who teaches the arts program at the elementary school, said the students’ positive attitudes inspired the project. “I thought, you know, with this world the way it is, we all really needed to hear from them — their amazing advice and continued joy,” she said. She was onto something. Two days after the hotline launched on February 26, Peptoc was receiving 700 callers per hour, according to Martin.
While the children’s pep talks are encouraging, they aren’t a long-term solution to the troubles we face. Imagine calling the hotline daily, planning to remain on the line indefinitely. That wouldn’t help anyone.
This session, we will study the love of Christ—a love we can experience daily, a love we can remain in, a love that leads to true joy.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, she 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.
Study the Bible Option (from Advanced Bible Study Teacher Guide, p. 22)
After talking about how to remain in Jesus’ love and experience His joy, to illustrate how parents and caregivers show love to children of all ages, show a dandelion or a picture of a dandelion. Then follow the remaining instructions on page 22.
Live It Out
Use the following story to conclude this session.
A recent article in Psychology Today hit on something that many of us have been feeling as of late—nostalgia about the days before cell phones—and the way we used to connect with one another. The author, Dr. Leah Katz, describes watching reruns of Seinfeld, a show in a completely smartphone-less world, and feeling overwhelmed with the desire to go back to a time when our smart phones were not a part of our lives. It’s become a problem, she argues, explaining,
“Our phones have become very relevant, very slippery slopes…it is becoming evident just how much they interfere with our relationships, productivity, jobs, and time spent with our loved ones. As I write, I literally have to keep my phone out of sight because just seeing it is that distracting. Not only are we on screens so much of the time (statistics from February 2021 showed nearly half of respondents were spending 5-6 hours a day on their phones in non-work-related tasks), we are often double-screening (a term I heard from a client—it means watching a movie while scrolling on your phone).”
As Christians, it might be time to take a step back and assess the possible ways that our smartphone usage is affecting our abilities to show Christ’s love to those around us. Staring at our phones can make us look unavailable and closed off, and they can keep us from recognizing the opportunities we’re given to love others. As we strive to live a life marked by love—love for others and love for God—how much of our limited energy is devoted to our phones? This week, spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord what phone habits you may need to decrease in order to increase your life of love.
If time allows, ask, “What are other practical ways you might make yourself more open and available to loving others for Christ this week? Could you go without your phone one day a week?” Allow time for discussion.
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband and three sons.
- When have you felt way over your head with a task?
- What are some characteristics of a loving relationship?
- What song comes to mind when you think about love?
- Why are love and obedience so closely connected?
- How does being disobedient to God rob us of joy?
- How would you respond to a person who questions why or how you have joy in the middle of difficult circumstances?
- In what ways can we “lay down our lives” for our friends?
- How would you describe Jesus’ love for you?
- What actions and attitudes are required to love sacrificially?
- How are you both honored and humbled by these verses?
- How do you respond to being called a friend of Christ?
- What does it mean to ask for something in Jesus’ name?
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 – Easy to Love