Grow Deep - Faith Works Edition - week 1

Week 1: September 9-15

Rejoice in Trials

Memory Verse: “Blessed are those who persevere under trial because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 ESV

Though my memory of the experience has faded over the past 40+ years, I can still recall many of the details of the struggle and pain of childbirth. Labor was long and hard and honestly, I wondered when it would end. But I knew at the outset that I could endure just about anything. You see, the picture etched into my mind and heart before it even began was one of incredible blessing and joy on the other side of the struggle and pain.

James opens his letter with an encouragement to be joyful, even in the midst of trials. He explains that the result of perseverance through a time of trial and testing will be a mature and complete faith. God is faithful, and His promise is that He will grant us wisdom so that we can endure the time of trial. Holding on to that promise doesn’t make the trial easy to bear; it doesn’t make it something we are eager to experience. Still, we can have joy! Our joy is not in the experience itself but in the knowledge etched into our hearts and minds that we belong to Jesus, and that He always love us and acts on our behalf for good. The struggle and pain of labor gives birth to something that is precious and of great worth; God assures us that the struggles that come with times of trial do, too.

Sunday, September 9

Read: James 1:1-18
James tells us that Christians should view the trials in their lives as opportunities to rejoice knowing that the trial will produce Godly character. What do you think James meant in v.4 when he said,
“Let steadfastness have its full effect”? What is the basis of our steadfastness and our joy?

For the Family: Do you like it better when things are easy or hard? Most people would probably choose easy, but God says we should be happy when things are hard. Why?

Monday, September 10

Read: Romans 8:18-30
Paul reminds us that we will all suffer many trials in our lives; we will share in the suffering of Christ. He further reminds us that our suffering is intended for good in our lives and will not compare with the eternal blessing we will have in the future. Re-read v. 28. How can the truth of this verse encourage us in a time of trial?

For the Family: Can you think of a time when something that you didn’t really want to happen, happened anyway? God promises us that whatever happens will be used for our good. How do you think that can help you the next time something happens that you really didn’t want to have happen?

Tuesday, September 11

Read: John 16:25-33
In this world we will all have trouble and hardships. But Jesus came to save sinners, and He has overcome the world. How does the
Gospel give us purpose, strength, and resolve in the time of trial? How is it a source of joy?

For the Family: Do you think there is a difference between being happy and being filled with joy? What is it? These verses tell us that Jesus came to save us and make us His forever! How does that make you feel … happy, joyful, or both?

Wednesday, September 12

Read: Proverbs 1:1-7; 3:7; 4:6-7; 19:20
In this collection of verses from Proverbs, Solomon outlines the source and benefit of wisdom. What is the wisdom that James refers to in James 1:5-8? How do these verses from Proverbs describe that wisdom? How are we to obtain wisdom? (See James 1:5)

For the Family: What is wisdom? How can we get wisdom? What does God want us to do with the wisdom He gives us?

Thursday, September 13

Read: Mark 9:42-50
Sometimes temptation is so subtle that we are easily pulled in. Mark cautions his readers about being the cause for someone else to fall into sin. What is the message to you personally in these verses? Have you ever been guilty of leading another person astray, even without intending to do so? Seek forgiveness from that person and from God. Pray that you will live a life that is marked by Godly character and actions that are pleasing to God.

For the Family: Think of a time when you were tempted to do something wrong. What were you tempted to do? When you do things that God does not want you to do, it can hurt your relationship or friendship with Jesus. What can you do the next time you are tempted?

Friday, September 14

Read: Romans 8:1-8
Paul writes that those who set their minds on the things of the flesh, live by the flesh. Those who set their minds on the Spirit, live by the Spirit. A mindset on the flesh results in death; a mind set on the Spirit has life and peace. Why is it important to keep our minds on Christ? What is the result of a mind that is focused on Christ? How does that strengthen us to stand up under trials and to resist temptation when it comes?

For the Family: St. Paul tells us to keep our minds focused on Christ. How do you think we can do that? We do have to think about other things sometimes, don’t we?

Saturday, September 15

Read: Hebrews 13:1-9
This section of Hebrews is a reminder to act in ways that honor Christ and to pray for the leaders of the church. It ends with the reminder about the unchanging nature of Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Why is it important to remember the unchanging nature of Jesus, especially in the face of trials and temptation? Spend some time now in prayer, praising God for specific character traits.

For the Family:
Did you ever make a sand sculpture using different colored sand in a glass? I have. And every time I got it just the way I wanted it, the sand shifted, and it looked completely different. Well, these verses tell us that Jesus NEVER shifts or changes! He is the same, and He loves us the same every single day. Why should we always try to remember that Jesus never changes?