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Strengthening Our Grip…on Success

25 Jul

Does the one with the most toys really win?

successSuccess is an elusive commodity. It is pursued by many, but achieved by few. But what is true success? It certainly is definite in numerous ways in our society!

To some, success is seen as the power of a Wall Street ‘mover and shaker.’

Others look to TV personalities or sports heroes. As we move through the Bible, it looks quite different, doesn’t it?

The acquisition and use of power has motivated people throughout the centuries. Power is a curious thing. It can be abused certainly. But it can also be used for good. Jesus exemplified the constructive and compassionate use of power when he healed people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But what is power really, at its root? Domination over others? The skill of making things happen? Force that cannot be resisted? The ability to effect miracles? The secular view of power has to do largely with the idea of dominance. The New Testament view of power is quite different. It involves action that springs from a place of weakness not from a place of superiority.

When you were 12 years old, who had the most powerful influence in your life? (Check two)

__ your mother            __ your father   

__ your grandmother   __ your grandfather

__ your sister/brother  __ a teacher

__ a friend                __ a minister/youth leader

__ a neighbor            __ a TV/movie star

 

Which of the following do you feel are the most common ways people pursue happiness? (choose two)

a. By achieving social status        

b. By acquiring knowledge

c. By having a loving family and friends

d. By getting rich                        

e. By serving others

f. By living in harmony with nature

g. By pursuing their spiritual beliefs

h. By achieving successful careers

i. By maintaining good health

We want to look at a well-known event in the life of Jesus. As we work through the verses, ask yourself constantly: who is the successful person in God’s view of things? Is it the one who uses power to dominate others or the one who relinquishes personal power for the sake of others? Read Matthew 4:1-11 and discuss your response to the following questions with your group.

1. How would you describe the power struggle going on here?

a. This is the classic struggle between good and evil

b. Satan is trying to conquer Jesus when he seems weak and powerless

c. This power struggle is no different than the ones we face daily

d. Satan is trying to conquer Jesus by tempting him on the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual levels

2. What was the devil attempting to do with Jesus?

a. He was trying to physically kill Jesus

b. He was trying to play “mind games” with Jesus

c. He was trying to get Jesus to worship him

d. He was trying to enlist Jesus as an ally

 

3. What tactics did Jesus use to counter Satan?

a. He called on an army of angels to help him

b. He quoted Old Testament Scripture as authoritative rebuttals

c. He changed the subject

d. He appealed to a higher authority or power

4. In verse 3, why did the devil challenge Jesus to change stones into bread?

a. He wanted to see if Jesus could really do it

b. He wanted to exercise some control over Jesus

c. He was mocking and daring Jesus

d. He knew Jesus was very hungry and vulnerable

5. In verse 3, why did the devil challenge Jesus to change stones into bread?

a. He wanted to see if Jesus could really do it

b. He wanted to exercise some control over Jesus

c. He was mocking and daring Jesus

d. He knew Jesus was very hungry and vulnerable

6. In these verses, what do you learn about Satan?

a. He also knows and can quote Scripture

b. He is able to change his tactics as circumstances dictate

c. He is easily frustrated

d. He tries to tempt at a point of weakness

 

7. Why didn’t Jesus give in to this temptation?

a. He knew Satan’s ultimate agenda was to have Jesus worship him?  

b. He didn’t want to interfere with his reason for coming to earth?

c. He knew that, in the end, he would defeat Satan?

8. What can be learned from the way Jesus handled this power struggle? a. That even in a moment of weakness, we should fight back?

b. That power is exerted with the “Big Picture” in mind?

c. That power struggles should be avoided at all cost?

d. That power can be used without annihilating others?

e. That God is ultimately in control?

 

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2016 in Encouragement

 

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