The BIG IDEA
God desires for us to have peace in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
Our focus is on ourselves, worry, and fear rather than on God’s ability to manage our life.
As we give God control of our worries, we can embrace the peace he wants to give to us.
Why THIS MATTERS
God doesn’t promise a life without challenges, but he does promise that he will always be with us. He wants to replace our worries with his peace.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: God is always with us and wants us to have his peace when we face anxiety.
- EXPERIENCE: Peace that God is with us and has our lives in his control.
- DO: Give God our worries and fears and receive his peace and comfort.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Bring a bag of smooth stones and several permanent markers. Give each student two or three stones. Ask each student to write something they often worry about on each stone. Tell them that these are small reminders of the larger boulders of worry that each of them carry each day.
Ask: If your pockets were filled with stones like these, representing your worries, how would their presence affect your day?
The weight would make it hard to walk, do sports, sit down in class or for lunch.
Ask: If there were too many to fit in your pockets, you might put them in your backpack. How would this affect your day?
It would hurt your back, be too heavy to carry, you would want to get rid of it or ask for help.
Read: Imagine Jesus saying to you, “I will carry your backpack. Whatever concerns you have, I’ve got this. Will you hand me your backpack?” How would you feel if Jesus made this offer?
- What are three things you worry about?
- How does worrying affect your life?
- Imagine life without worries or anxiety.
- What would it look like?
- If you could be freed from your worries, would you accept that freedom?
- Why or why not?
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
1. Read Matthew 6:25-34. According to this passage, what are some reasons we can experience anxiety?
Allow the group to discuss. Worries about life, what we’ll eat, wear, wondering if God will provide or what will happen tomorrow.
2. How does Jesus describe our worth in verse 26?
We are far more important than the birds, flowers, or grass, yet he fully takes care of them.
3. How does this passage describe God?
Allow the group to discuss. God is the provider for nature and for us. He is in control and big enough to provide for our needs. He has all the resources needed to care for us. He is kind and values us as verse 26 shows us.
4. What does verse 33 mean by “seek first his kingdom and righteousness?”
Allow the group to discuss. It means we need to be more concerned about what benefits God’s plan than our own plan. We need to always be asking, “How is this helpful to God?”
5. If we are more concerned about God’s plan rather than our own plans, what will be given to us according to verse 33?
Allow the group to discuss. God will provide all that we need: food, clothes, etc.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
God allows us to experience challenges in life. He doesn’t always remove challenges, even when we trust him with our lives. How we react to these challenges determines whether we have peace or worry.
6. What were some of the worries you thought of at the beginning of our time?
Allow the group to discuss. Encourage students who didn’t previously share to share at this time if they’re willing.
7. What are some of the reasons you have these worries?
Allow the group to discuss. Students may answer things like, “I worry about money because my parents don’t have good jobs;” or “I worry about grades because if I don’t get good grades, I can’t go to college or get a good job.”
*8. Read Matthew 6:26 and Romans 8:32. If we really believe God values us as these verses show, how can this turn our worry into peace?
Allow the group to discuss. We’re worth so much that God was willing for his Son to die for us. If he was willing to sacrifice his Son for us to deal with our greatest problem in life (our need for forgiveness before a holy God), we can surely trust his power to handle any other problem or challenge we’re facing.
*9. Many self-help books will tell you to find the power to overcome anxiety “within yourself”. The Bible says the Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome our anxiety. What is the difference?
Allow the group to discuss. The Holy Spirit is God who has limitless power. He created you and knows you completely. He wants to give you the power to trust him with all of your worries. We may be pretty smart and strong, but we don’t have the kind of power and wisdom that God has.
10. Close in prayer by asking the members of your group to think back to the thing they said they worry about. Invite them to offer short prayers along the following lines: “Lord, thank you that because you sent Jesus to die for my sins and have promised to meet my needs, I don’t need to worry about __________.”
Lead your group in this prayer time by offering the first prayer as an example for your group. Invite others to pray as they feel comfortable, letting them know that they don’t have to pray if they don’t want to.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
- God Is…Series (This will help reiterate God’s character and ability to take care of our worries.)
- The Me Series (This will help remind you of how God views you.)
- http://www.everystudent.com/features/finding.html Article on Peace of Mind in an Unstable World
- https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/life-and-relationships/emotions/depression-anxiety-all-in-your-head.html Article on Depression and Anxiety
Free MP3 Download:
- http://www.gospelinlife.com/peace-8617 Sermon on Peace-Overcoming Anxiety.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.