Small Group Questions

Stress: Under New Management: Finding the strength to keep going 

Introduction:

When you’re emotionally worn out and are searching for strength, you need a strategy to recharge your spiritual and emotional battery. In this message, we look at 4 truths from God’s Word about how to keep on going when you feel like giving up.

Bottom Line: Attitude determines altitude. 

Something To Talk About: 

 The last few years have been challenging. The amount of uncertainty is enough to stress anyone out and with this uncertainty that has been affecting our health, finances, and emotional well-being, people have been turning to multiple outlets for comfort and assurance. The best place to turn is to God and:

  1. Honestly tell God what you are feeling: Does it feel to you as if God requires polite conversation? Like you can’t bring your real mess, real emotions, real questions, real doubts before Him in all sincerity and raw truth? Imagine today that Jesus is just waiting to hear your authentic heart and is calling you to be intimately real with Him, and then do. Honestly tell God, what you are feeling. Have you ever done that? Have you ever simply gotten alone with God and let Him have it all, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly — whatever it is you’re thinking and feeling? Doing so will change your life. Open up to God. Too many people live their lives filled with shame, with the profound sense that no matter what they did, they would never be good enough for God. That falsehood, creates a wall around the heart. The wall may keep you emotionally safe, but you will never have the relationship God craves to have with you. Talk to God honestly.  You will feel closer to Him than ever before. Truth does that.
  2. Humbly ask God for strength:  Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” The last few years have been challenging. We should be turning our worries over to God and searching for comfort through His perfect word. The Bible has many examples where the people of God turn to Him in times of crisis. Humbling yourself before the Lord was never seen as a sign of weakness. Rather, it showed strength, courage, and insight by these men who were able to recognize their shortcomings and the necessity of God’s help. David humbly asked for strength, which, God granted him. The strength that God will grant us may not be like David’s, but he will always give us the strength to endure the hardships that come our way. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
  3. Gratefully thank God all all that’s good, despite all that’s bad: Most of us know thanksgiving is a good practice.  The Bible shows the power of gratitude. And that includes thanking Him for the good as well as the bad. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” But most of us didn’t sign up for this. Life is kinda grueling right now. The present is a little nerve wracking and the future seems uncertain. It makes the Bible mandate to give thanks at all times seem a little impractical. 1 Thessalonians doesn’t say we’re to give thanks for everything but that we’re to give thanks in everything. You get cancer, you don’t have to be thankful for that. Somebody gets in an accident, you don’t have to be thankful. God is good and God does good and that doesn’t change even when circumstances are bad. Giving thanks opens our eyes to all the good God is doing right in the midst of our circumstances. And that is what is needed when life is hard. Gratitude is a choice we make to look for good in every situation. Giving thanks in all things might not change the situation, but it will always change us in the situation.
  4. Constantly keep God as your focus: It’s important to remember that even when we forget God, He never forgets us. He knows what’s happening to us every moment of the day, and He also watches over us. The reason is because He loves us with a love that never fades. The Bible says, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” (Isaiah 43:4) But God does want us to walk with Him every moment of the day — and the first step is to begin the day with Him. Mornings are hurried for most of us — but develop the habit of setting aside a few minutes to be alone with God. Pray about things you know you’ll be facing that day, and read a portion of God’s Word, the Bible. Then let that portion of the Bible take root in your soul all day long, remembering it and calling it to mind. In addition, develop the habit of constant prayer. Finally, send some time and focus on God’s love for you — not just at church once a week or at the end of the day, but repeatedly. Some day, we will be in Christ’s presence forever and that is all we will focus on. It might as well begin now. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. We have hope in God, even in the tough times. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 and choose the ‘but not’ phrase that connects the most with you.
  3. Regardless of his numerous difficulties, Paul reminds us we are never abandoned and to keep going. What gives you strength to get up and keep going in the face of life’s setbacks? 
  4. Why are we often reluctant to be open with God about our feelings? Why is confessing our feelings to him beneficial to us? 
  5. What are the benefits of asking God humbly for strength every day?  What moves God to answer our prayers when we come to him in humility? 
  6. What are some methods or tools you’ve used to remind yourself to focus on gratitude for God’s blessings when things get rough? How did it change your perspective?
  7. Life is full of challenges that distract our focus away from God. How do you keep focused on God daily? 
  8. What did you hear? What point in this message was most impactful for you?
  9. What do you think? How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
  10. What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?

Take one thing home with you:

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:7-9) 

This passage shows God’s sustaining power.  In verses, 8-9 Paul makes two things clear: the depth of His suffering and the never-failing power of God. While He was often pushed to the edge, God never failed him. God’s power is sufficient for any trial. We may be pressed on every side, but we are not crushed. perplexed but not driven to despair; hunted down by never abandoned; knocked down but never destroyed. These four contrasting pairs work together to make this point: Paul’s suffering was intense and significant, but God was always faithful. In Paul’s weakness, God showed His strength and His power.