Confidence in the Face of Fear
The Point: Trust God when you are overwhelmed with fear.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Chapman University conducts an annual survey collecting data on the fears, worries and concerns of Americans. Once the survey is complete, undergraduate research fellows at the university analyze the data and use it to write their research papers. The research fellows have recently completed their studies and released their research papers. Based on the Chapman survey, here are Americans’ top fears for 2020/2021:
- Corrupt government officials – 79.6% of Americans are very afraid or afraid
- People I love dying – 58.5% of Americans are very afraid or afraid
- A loved one contracting the coronavirus – 58% of Americans are very afraid or afraid
- People I love becoming seriously ill – 57.3% of Americans are very afraid or afraid
- Widespread civil unrest – 56.5% of Americans are very afraid or afraid
Say: Americans’ fears are wide ranging, and they do vary some from year to year, as each new survey is conducted. Then call attention to Question #1 (What are some things others might fear that cause you no fear at all?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study (Option from the Daily Discipleship Guide)
Use this activity to launch your discussion.
To introduce the topic of fear, turn off the lights in your meeting space (if possible) and play a soundtrack of scary music. Click here for a brief audio clip. Scroll down the page and play “Halloween Theme 1” for about 15 seconds. Ask, “What does this kind of music signal to us when we hear it in a movie?” Allow time for discussion. Explain that we often hear eerie music just before something frightening happens in a movie. Next, Ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use the following information to introduce Question #2.
International Mission Board missionaries working in Southeast Asia recently reported that there is cause for great celebration among members of a local church. The people brought a children’s pool to their meeting space to baptize a woman named Putri. Putri was the first believer in her family and the first known believer in the whole village. Raised in a rural Muslim community, Putri had never heard the gospel message until she moved to a city in another Southeast Asian country to work as a cook at a school. At her new job, she met a Christian coworker who invited her to church. Putri came to a church service and afterwards, Da Ming, one of the church leaders talked to Putri and shared the gospel with her.
Both Putri and Da Ming faced risk because of their faith. In Da Ming’s country, believers who share the gospel with Muslims can face severe persecution. As a Muslim, Putri risked pressure from her family and society, if she decided to follow Christ.
In spite of any fears he might feel, Da Ming shared the gospel with Putri that day and invited her to follow Christ. She immediately made a profession of her faith. Da Ming began to disciple Putri and sometime later she was baptized there at the church.
Jonathan McGrath, an IMB worker who attends the church, described how rare it is for someone from a Muslim background to come to faith in Christ so quickly. “It’s almost unheard of,” he said. “Her salvation to baptism story brings me great joy. It helped me see the potential for believers to set aside their fear, boldly share despite what might result, and take the initiative to disciple others.”
Say: Fear of persecution might have caused Da Ming to hesitate in sharing his faith with Putri. Fear of family pressure might have caused Putri to turn away from the gospel. Yet both of them overcame any fears, and because of that Putri is a new believer. Then call attention to Question #2 (What are some situations that cause us to fear instead of trusting God?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
* Names in this story are changed for security
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
- When have you experienced fear that now seems silly?
- When was the last time you felt really scared?
- When have you faced and overcome a fear?
- What reasons did Abram have to fear in this moment? What reasons did he have to trust God?
- What kinds of situations cause you to fear?
- What’s your initial reaction to a fearful situation?
- When have you seen fear become contagious?
- How did Abram’s fearful actions affect those around him?
- How do these verses demonstrate the rippling effect of Abram’s failure to trust God?
- How can we move from failure and guilt to a place of worship?
- Why is worship an appropriate response to having overcome our fears?
- What do you find encouraging in these verses?
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 – When God Says “Fear Not,” What does He Really Mean?