Date: December 25, 2022
Session Title: Submission to God in Place of Fear
The Point: God’s desire to work through us is no cause for fear.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after discussing question one.
Congress is currently divided about whether or not to approve making Daylight Savings Time permanent. According to Reuters, our country’s leaders are currently going back and forth, trying to determine whether or not the United States of America should continue to “spring ahead” and “fall back,” or if we need to pick a time and stick with it.
“’We haven’t been able to find consensus in the House on this yet. There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be,” says U.S. Representative Frank Pallone. Ironically, this legislation was initially supposed to be a bipartisan slamdunk. The Senate passed it in May, unanimously. But now that it’s in the House, there is ongoing discussion and disagreement, and the possibility that they will have to restart the entire legislation process in 2023.
Change is hard—even change that seems like it won’t affect that much about our daily lives. As Christians, we live our lives in full awareness that God is at work in all things, but like Congress, we might find ourselves debating and at a standstill at the idea of moving forward toward a new change. Thankfully, we serve a God who wants to work through us and with us, and we have no reason to fear any changes he may bring.
What is one silly or small change you’ve gotten stuck debating about for a long time?
Study the Bible
Use this story after discussing question three.
Every year, Chapman University does a survey of America’s top ten fears. The top fears that cropped up in 2022 covered corruption in governing leaders, war, harm to those we love, and environmental and economic issues. While this list is probably pretty accurate for the general population, each of our top ten fears looks a little different.
Ironically, as Christians, some of our greatest fears may be directly correlated to submitting to God’s will. We often find ourselves most afraid of what it might look like to answer God’s calling in our lives. But why is that? Do you assume that God only wants you to take on the hardest, scariest thing you can imagine? Or is it simply that His plans are unknown that makes it so scary? Regardless, the truth is that this world is full of possible fears and unknowns. Let us remember that we can have peace and confidence in the fact that we have a loving, all-powerful heavenly Father who has great plans for us—His children.
What would it look like for you to take a step in submission to something you sense God is calling you towards? Take time to pray over it, alone and with others. Be gentle with yourself as you take time to discern God’s call on your life.
Study the Bible [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 55]
In advance, print out copies of “Don’t You Worry, Mary” by Matt Tullos and plan on reading it in unison in the class. Or choose four readers and assign each one line to read, all the way through.
In advance, play the song “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant. Invite group members to reflect on what it would have been like to be in Mary’s shoes. Then ask group members to consider God’s calling on their own lives.
- What activity that other people seem to enjoy, would immediately strike fear in your heart if you were required to participate?
- When has someone asked you to do something that seemed impossible to accomplish? How did you feel?
- When has a pleasant change caught you by surprise?
- What gives you confidence to step into something you’ve never done before?
- What stands out to you about the angel’s greeting and Mary’s response?
- What causes us to be afraid of the unknown?
- If we know God is good and his plans are good, why are we often afraid of His plans for us?
- What causes us to sometimes fear God’s plans for us?
- What did the angel say that can help us overcome our fear of God’s plans?
- How have you discovered that God is a God of the impossible?
- When have you had to believe God for the seemingly impossible?
- What can help us submit as Mary did to the promises of God?
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.