What is your response to the onset of cooler weather? Does it refresh you?
Strengthen us, oh Lord, to stand in the day of evil.
James 1:2–4 NLT, emphasis added: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
All of us are faced with struggle and resistance. In fact, Jesus promised adversity. Our human nature, however, tries to protect us from difficulty, though in reality, we grow only as a result of facing resistance. None of us would exercise with no weights on the bar, yet we want to go through life without a care.
If there was absolutely no resistance or lack in your life, you would spend your billions while sipping lemonade on your private island. I doubt that you would learn or grow with that kind of built-in success. But the truth is, all of us do face struggle at one time or another. Some struggle is self-inflicted as we stray from the wisdom prescribed in the Bible. Some struggle comes as a result of circumstances beyond our control. Regardless of the cause of the struggle, our response is within our control. Let’s take a closer look at this topic of encountering resistance.
Do you look at adversity as a test or just a bother? Share with the group.
In this way, we learn what we truly believe. We see this in Genesis 22:1–2 (NLT): “Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’ ‘Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.’”
Share with the group a test of your faith where you passed the test.
In the New Testament, God tested Philip to feed the five thousand. Philip responded from the perspective of a natural solution. Remember, God promotes only after testing.
When you face a problem, do you turn to natural solutions first or do you have faith for miracles? Share with the group.
God sometimes allows resistance and friction to enter our lives in order to test our character. For example, Joseph endured a 13-year prison sentence for a crime he did not commit. What are you made of? Do you quit your marriage when it’s hard?
God also tests our loyalty. Peter failed this test, but God was faithful to allow a second chance. Don’t let last year’s failing define your character. The greatest test of your life is whether or not you will put your faith in Christ and receive the forgiveness of your sins, with the reward of eternal life.
When did you face a test of your character? What did you learn? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation?
Adversity comes to us all. Satan tempts us to disqualify us, but God tests us to qualify us. Grow during your struggles.
The struggle is real. Look at every instance of resistance this week as a test that God wants you to pass. Don’t quit when difficulty comes. God may want to promote you after you pass the test!
Fall Freedom Encounter: This life-changing weekend is only weeks away! Let your B-Group members know to reserve November 15-16 on their calendar. Share Freedom Series Video Playlist with them.
What is your favorite spot to go in town?
Lord Jesus, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
1 Corinthians 10:12–13 NLT: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Real life is not like perfect Instagram posts. All of us are tested, and all of us endure temptation. The reality of temptation is that it is not constant, but rather arrives in certain key moments. It’s what we do in the crunch when temptation occurs that defines our character. It is not a sin to be tempted; as a matter of fact, temptation is a sign that we are being tested. Hopefully, this knowledge will empower us to win in those crunch moments we all face.
Have you ever felt guilty just for being tempted? Share with the group.
For Eve, it was the tree. For Esau, it was the campfire. For Joseph, it was the house. For David, it was the housetop. For Jesus, it was the desert. For you, it could be the casino, the bar, the hotel, the business trip, the vacation, the text thread, the app, the television, the computer.
The devil tries to isolate us before he attacks. Have you ever considered that your place of temptation often occurs when you are alone? Discuss this with the group.
(1) when you are alone, (2) when you are tired, (3) when you are bored, (4) when you are overconfident, and (5) when you are lured. Ephesians 6:13 (NLT) reminds us, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”
These five moments of temptation can be prepared for. What good advice could you share to help others avoid some of these moments?
All of us endure temptation. It is not constant, but rather arrives in certain key moments. However, we can learn how to bear up under temptation and overcome.
Temptation is just around the corner. Stay away from the tree. Learn to run. Learn to fight. Call for backup.
When you were growing up, who was your favorite superhero?
Lord, give us the courage to step into leadership.
1 Peter 2:9 NLT: “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
Today we’re going to take a look at Black Panther, a superhero movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This movie centers around the character T’Challa, who is the soon-to-be king of his home country, Wakanda. In this movie, we see the struggles that T’Challa faces as he steps into his calling as the king of Wakanda and the Black Panther. Let’s take a look at his life and see what we can learn about our calling.
What were some of your doubts when you first learned that you had a calling from God? How did you handle your doubts?
T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, died, and T’Challa became royal heir to the throne and the new leader of Wakanda. Many times we wonder what it would be like if we were royal members of a powerful kingdom. Well, the truth is, we are all invited into royalty of the most powerful kingdom in existence. As 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) says, “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” Those who believe in Jesus are heirs with Him. We are called to rule with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
If God’s intended leaders do not step up, what do you think will happen to God’s kingdom?
When T’Challa was emptied of his superhuman power, Killmonger was able to take him down. In the same way, if we try to fight in our own human power, sin will overcome us. The Bible teaches us that our war is spiritual, so we need spiritual power. As Romans 8:12–13 (NLT) says, “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” T’Challa was strengthened by the flower to access the power of the Black Panther, but we have something so much greater—the Spirit of God Himself on the inside of us.
The world longs for supernatural powers. We actually operate in the supernatural when we live through Christ. How have you seen Christ’s “superpowers” in action? Share with the group.
We are all called of God to lead; however, we often hesitate to step into the calling even though the kingdom depends on it. This film illustrates how critical our participation is to seeing God’s purposes fulfilled.
Be encouraged that the Scriptures tell us that we overcome the world. Lift up your head. You’re invited to be royalty in the most powerful kingdom there will ever be. God desires for every human to become a part of His royal family and to rule and reign with Him, and if God desires you to rule and reign in His kingdom, that means there’s something for you to do!
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