TEXTS: James 4:7; Jhn 8:44,13:2; 1 Jhn 3:8; Rev. 12:9; Acts 10:38; Matt. 16:23; Mark 4:15; Acts 5:3; Eph. 4:25-32
1. “Together-ness” is a highly important aspect of the Christian faith (and it directly impacts a believer’s personal spiritual growth). Through the cross of Christ God has not only reconciled us back to Himself, but also to the family of God. The enemy of our souls wars against God’s children in an effort to make us feel abandoned and alone, but our Father wants us to remember that we have been adopted into His family and He has graciously placed us with other believers who will walk alongside us as we seek to overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil.
2. It is widely accepted by scholars and theologians that the term satan is a generic word that refers to the entire realm of spiritual wickedness and darkness. The realm of spiritual wickedness operates within a hierarchy and contains structure and order, much like any other group or organization.
3. The phrase “the works of the devil”–which can be found in 1 John 3:8–does not refer to physical disease or sickness (even if Charismatics have wrongly interpreted it that way). It actually refers to Satan’s effort to tempt humanity to do what he has done from the beginning–lie, deceive, and sin.
4. We have been called to resist letting anger fill our hearts and lives. The powers of spiritual wickedness deliberately work against believers in an effort to steer us towards allowing anger to control our actions and attitudes.
5. In what ways do the children of God commonly find their lives ‘intersecting’ with the work of the devil? We can expect that our enemy will seek to: (1) tempt us to sin, (2) direct us away from being truthful, (3) deceive us into believing and living out a lie, (4) fill our lives with anger, (5) fill our heads with thoughts that directly lead to sinful actions, (6) fill our heads with thoughts that are meant to oppress and discourage, (6) make us feel abandoned and alone, (7) accuse us of being sinful and condemn us, (8) get us so focused on the “earthly” that we lose sight of God’s Kingdom and our place in it, (9) tempt us to live idle lives, and (10) create an unhealthy desire for recognition from others within our own hearts.
6. It is common for humanity to struggle with both effective communication and keeping our hearts free from offense. It will require a faithful commitment to prayer on our part if we desire to navigate this area of life in a way that glorifies God.
7. God created (and commanded) the Sabbath because He knows we need a rest from the toil and responsibilities that living in this broken world presents us with. Failure to have a time of sabbath built into the 'rhythm' of your life is both unwise and unhealthy.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. How can/should a child of God resist the temptation to allow anger to fill their lives? What practical actions and attitudes are necessary to ensure that we overcome this temptation?
2. What does it mean and look like to incorporate a time of sabbath into the rhythm of your life? What should you focus on and be involved in during your sabbath times? Is it the same things for everyone or do personal circumstances impact how we observe a time of sabbath?
3. "Truth 5" mentions many ways in which the work of the devil intersects with our daily lives. Can you recognize how one of the works mentioned in the list has recently shown up in your battle to resist the devil and draw near to God? Additionally, how did you resist that work/temptation?
4. What are the implications of Truth 2? Does this reality impact our lives and spiritual growth in any way?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- Read and pray through Ephesians 4:25-32
- To resist allowing anger to control and motivate our lives