WE’RE NOT HOME YET
We are all guaranteed to have some difficulties in our lives. But despite the storms of life that inevitably come our way, there’s a way through them that can make us overcomers too. How could shifting our perspective change how we perceive our trials? Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. When someone says they have good news and bad news for you, which do you prefer to hear first? Why?
2. Read John 16:33. God made it clear in the Bible that we would have difficulties in life. But He also gave us encouragement that we still have a reason to be joyful because God is fighting our battles. What does it mean to you to know that although we’ll all experience trials, God promises to be our support even in the toughest of times?
3. At what point in your life would you say you grew the most as a person? What were the most character-shaping events of your life?
4. Have you ever gone through a hardship and asked yourself the question “Will this just take from me, or will I take from it?” How did things turn out? Are there still difficulties in your life from which you feel nothing at all was gained? How does that make you feel?
5. Read 1 Peter 4:12-13. What does this passage mean to you? What does it look like to be on mission with God? Do you ever imagine how amazing the reward of heaven will be? Do you truly believe that the experience of heaven will make all suffering worth the pain?
6. Read 1 Peter 1:3-8. This week, find a way to daily remind yourself about an important perspective shift we learned about this week: This is not your story you’ve invited God into; this is God’s story, and you’ve been invited into God’s Story. Pray through what that perspective shift, placed in front of you at all times, could mean for your life. What steps will you take to make the shift a reality? Share your thoughts, goals, and prayers with your family, friends, life group, and/or running partner.
John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 – Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
1 Peter 1:3-8 – All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again [adopted into God’s story], because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation… So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
As you look to dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, consider checking out the Steadiness and Perseverance outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
The authentic follower of Christ knows the power and importance of both steadiness and perseverance. Scripture abounds with story after story of those who have persevered in their faith, decade after decade, and consequently developed profound depth in their lives. A person may be tempted to withdraw from critical relationships, church involvement, and serving opportunities, because for one reason or another, things got hard. The hardship may be something heavy, like suffering and conflict, or it may be something common…Regardless, withdrawing from God and people due to suffering and pain, or wander and boredom, leads to shallow living that misses the richness of perseverance.
To explore the outcome in its entirety, head to gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/steadinessand-perseverance/