Date: September 12, 2021
Sure of Relationship
The Point: My relationship with God is reflected in how I live.
Get Into the Study
Use the following story as an alternate introduction to this session.
If you look at the home page of any news site right now, you will find a million things that are going terribly wrong in the world. At the end of August, we watched in horror as Afghan civilians attempted to flee the Taliban in desperation. The Covid-19 Delta variant is ripping through much of the country, and the world, renewing fears of Covid-19 that we thought were finally in the past. Flooding in Tennessee is claiming lives, and there is a hurricane whipping toward the northeastern states. And these are just the news headlines from this week.
Adding to this daily deluge of terrible news is the isolation and social anxiety many experienced after quarantining and social distancing in some form for the past year. Now, even attempting to “go back to normal” is stressing people out, as they attempt to navigate relationships that were once a daily part of their lives and find themselves feeling lost. We are in a world full of people who cannot seem to find their footing. Everything feels unsure.
But through it all, God has given us the gift of His relationship with us. His ever-loving presence has never diminished in this time, even when the world appears to be on fire. The more we trust in the truth of His love and power, the more freedom we have to live in joy, even in the face of trials and tribulations. When we trust fully in the love of our Savior, we can still mourn with the world—but we can mourn knowing that in the end, Christ will return and wipe away every tear. Our ultimate truth is the eternal hope of our heavenly Father.
Ask, “How has this past year changed your relationship with the Lord?”
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two busy little boys.
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a video illustrating someone who exudes confidence. Then ask Question #1.
Use the following illustration as you conclude today’s session.
Only weeks after winning a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Polish javelin thrower, Maria Andrejczyk, put her medal up for auction. As she explained in a Facebook post, Andrejczyk hoped to raise funds for an 8-month-old boy who needed to travel from Poland to the United States for a life-saving heart surgery. The winning bid of $125,000 came from Zabka, a Polish supermarket chain. Zabka chose not to keep the medal but returned it to Andrejczyk and donated the $125,000 for the boy’s surgery.
Anyone who wins an Olympic medal has worked hard. You don’t get to the Olympics by chance, and you don’t succeed by luck. Normally, that silver medal would be a badge of honor, something earned and kept as proof of the accomplishment. However, Andrejczyk chose to give that away, as did Zabka who had not earned the medal but purchased it.
It is tempting to view our relationship with Christ in terms of what we have accomplished. We may want to look back at past achievements, good deeds, or times of Bible study and prayer as medals of honor—proof that we have earned our relationship with Christ. But we cannot earn salvation; we cannot buy it. Christ has paid the price and ransomed us by His blood. Therefore, instead of clinging to past accomplishments, we are assured of our relationship with Christ when we walk in His footsteps, sacrificially loving others.
Encourage group members to choose one of the Live It Out applications.
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.
- What gives you confidence when you have reason to doubt?
- As a kid, when did you want to ask an adult, “How do you know?”
- When have you seen confidence (or a lack of it) affect the outcome of a game?
1 John 2:3-6
- How does obedience to God reflect our love for Christ?
- What blessings has obedience brought to your life?
- What’s the relationship between love and obedience?
1 John 2:7-11
- When have you felt spiritually blind?
- What makes love so difficult?
- What makes spiritual blindness dangerous?
1 John 2:15-17
- Why does loving the world come more naturally than loving others?
- How can we protect ourselves from loving the things of this world?
- How are love for God and love for the world mutually exclusive?
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.