Life’s Questions – Week 44 Study Guide

By November 17, 2019Small Group Study Guide

Pillars of Human Resiliency: Mental

OPENER

How would you describe discontentment? How has it shown up in your own life?

Note: Discontentment is tiring, it’s tedious, and it will take and take and take until we are consumed by it.

It’s not hard to see how perpetual discontentment makes us less resilient people…less able to thrive.

Terry suggested that we need to become discontent with our discontentment. Specifically, the kind that makes us prone to being ungrateful and likely to miss the opportunities in our present circumstances. We need to grow in contentment, it is a key factor in mental resiliency.

OBJECTIVE

Our objective today is to understand that it is okay to become discontent with discontentment, in fact it’s highly recommended. Philippians 4:4-7 shows there is a clear path towards a different way of thinking and living, which is a key factor in living in mental resiliency.

STUDY:

Read Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Question: What does it mean to rejoice? Why is Paul telling us emphatically to rejoice?

Answer: How strange that a man in prison could tell a church to rejoice. But Paul’s attitude teaches us an important lesson: Our outward circumstances do not need to dictate our inner attitudes. Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him. Several times in this letter Paul urges the Philippians to be joyful, probably because they needed to hear this. It’s easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously. If you haven’t been joyful lately, let the Holy Spirit remind you that true joy is found in the Lord and the promise of His second coming.

(Notes from Application Study Bible)

Question: Verse 5 says to “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Why does Paul say this? What does he mean?

Answer: In addition to joy, believers are to have gentleness, which is to be evident to all. Gentleness suggests a forbearing, nonretaliatory spirit. Joy, an inner quality in relation to circumstances, may not always be seen; but the way one reacts to others—whether in gentleness or harshness—will be noticed. Why be gentle? Because the Lord is near. We are to be spiritual adults…people whose “controlled strength” is evident to all.

We are not to be known as demanding people but grateful, trusting people.

Question: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” How do we not be anxious? What does this look like practically speaking?

Answer: Paul’s appeal to the Philippians is do not be anxious about anything. But this was not a call to a carefree life. To care and be genuinely concerned is one thing. To worry is another. The life of trusting God (4:6) brings God’s peace. Is it really possible for a Christian to be anxious for nothing? It is possible as long as we have the resource of believing prayer. The rest of the verse goes on to explain how our lives can be free from sinful fretting. Everything should be taken to the Lord in prayer. Everything means everything. There is nothing too great or small for His loving care! Prayer is both an act and an atmosphere. We come to the Lord at specific times and bring specific requests before Him. But it is also possible to live in an atmosphere of prayer. It is possible that the mood of our life should be a prayerful mood. Perhaps the word prayer in this verse signifies the overall attitude of our life, whereas supplication signifies the specific requests which we bring to the Lord.

Question: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. Let God’s peace guard your heart against the anxieties of this world that try to bring you down and keep your focus off Jesus. When we trust God, He gives us a peaceful perspective in a traffic jam, on a difficult phone call, in a troubled relationship, and even when death draws near.

Question: Think back over the passages, how might they lead you down a path to a different way of living? How do they help us to be discontent with our discontentment?

APPLICATION:

What can you do today to walk the path of Philippians 4:4-7?

What would it look like for you to keep on rejoicing in the Lord always?

What are some practical steps you can take so you can let your gentleness be evidence to all?

How can you personally Battle against anxiety and live in thankful relationship with Jesus?

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