Date: December 18Love in Place of Fear, 2022
Session Title: The Fear of God
The Point: There is no room for fear when God’s love is in us.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after discussing question one.
This year, Black Friday spending broke records. According to TechCrunch, Americans spent 9.12 billion in e-commerce alone—the first year spending has ever surpassed 9 billion. As Black Friday spending increases year over year, it makes one wonder—is there really that much left to buy? To deal with new holiday purchases (so many great sales!), many of us find ourselves desperately trying to clear out closets, basements, and boxes, making room for the new and getting rid of the old. We find broken toys, ripped blankets, and pants that are too tight, and we clear them away to make room for the good and the useful. After all, there is only so much stuff our homes can hold.
While we can probably all stand to simplify the amount of shopping we do between Thanksgiving and New Years, there’s another lesson to consider as well. As believers, I wonder—what would it look like to take some time this season to prayerfully consider what to clear out of our hearts and minds in order to make more room for the love of Christ? More specifically, where has fear taken up residence in your mind in 2022? And what would it look like for you to allow God’s love to push that fear out of your mind? Ask the Lord to walk with you in this process—it’s impossible without Him.
May the peace of Christ remain in you and with you as you enjoy this advent season. May you sense Christ’s love for you and allow the Holy Spirit to cover your heart and mind with love.
Study the Bible
Use this story after discussing question three.
God’s love for us is perfect—but the imperfect love we have experienced from others may cloud the ways we are able to trust in God’s love. According to a recent article from Psychology Today, the two most essential traits for a healthy, secure relationship are commitment and minimal expressions of anger. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Clinical Psychologist Daniel S. Lobel states, “Unstable, insecure relationships … are transactional: They are characterized by the last interaction. Any frustration or dissatisfaction is seen as the current status of the relationship as a whole. A constant feeling of being judged and an inability to predict the future behavior of significant others results in high levels of anxiety and insecurity.”
If this description fits any formative relationship in your past, specifically a parental one, it can be difficult to trust God’s perfectly committed, slow-to-anger love. But God’s commitment to us is perfect. He will remain with us always—and despite the feelings that may fill you with fear, God is not angry at you, nor is He waiting to abandon you at the first sign of any misstep. Take time this week to pray about where your own ideas of God’s love may stray from the true, perfect nature of his love.
How do you think your own experiences with the world’s imperfect love have caused fear in your relationship with the Lord?
- What do you most prefer to fill up on during the holidays?
- When do you feel most content?
- When’s the last time you couldn’t eat another bite if you tried?
1 John 3:13-18
- What is the connection between God’s love for us and our love for others?
- How does knowing you are loved give you a sense of security?
- How have you seen or personally experienced God’s love working through others?
- What are some reasons the world hates believers?
1 John 4:14-16
- What are some ways we can lay down our lives for each other?
- What does it mean for God to abide in us?
- What convinces you of God’s love in difficult circumstances?
1 John 4:17-18
- Why is there no room for fear when we’re filled with God’s love?
- How does loving others help give us confidence for the day of judgment?
- How does God’s love dispel fear in our lives?
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:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- Mature Living – Blessed Assurance
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
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Ken Schmidt says
In this lesson and most of the lessons, the commentators seem to have forgotten who wrote “The Holy Bible”. All through this lesson for instance, they tell us that John said this or John meant this or John was trying to explain this or that. These ARE NOT the words of John or the words of Paul or James….THESE ARE THE WORDS OF GOD!!!
Most times, I have to edit these commentaries or go elsewhere for my helps in preparing my Sunday School Class.
It is amazing to me that something so basic and fundamental to our faith is either forgotten or ignored.
Lynn Pryor says
Ken, thank you for your passion for God’s Word. It certainly is His Word—and nothing less than that!—and it is a testimony to God’s power how He worked through human writers to communicate to us. Second Peter 1:20-21 tells us: “Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit: (2 Pet. 1:20-21). In our language, we refer to different men as the writers, but we refer to God as the Author.