– The Live Free Series –
BIG CROSS . DON’T GROW UP . TURN AND RUN . HEART IDOLATRY
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The BIG IDEA
God wants to give us life in all its fullness, but we miss out when we seek satisfaction apart from him.
We let good things become “god things” or the most important thing in our lives, which the Bible calls idolatry.
Since true life is only found in God, seek life in him and don’t make good things “god things.”
Why THIS MATTERS
True satisfaction can only come from exchanging the things we put in the place of God for Christ himself.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: That we tend to wander from devotion to the Lord in spite of him being the only source of true life.
- EXPERIENCE: A desire to remain faithful to the Lord and know the abundant life he desires for us.
- DO: Remain faithful to the Lord and resist the temptation to turn good things into “god things.”
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!
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*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Someone gave Maria a bucket, asked her to fill it with water from a pond, and walk across a large field to water flowers on the other side of the field. She didn’t realize it at first, but the bucket had several holes in the bottom of it. So Maria filled the bucket with water, but it was almost empty by the time she crossed the field and got to the flowers. How would you feel about this if you were Maria?
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
*Today’s passage is part of a message God gave to his people through his prophet named Jeremiah. A prophet brought messages from God to his people and this message is about how God’s people have loved other things more than God. Let’s see how that message relates to our lives today.
*1. Read Jeremiah 2:1–2. How did God’s people start out in their relationship with him?
They were devoted to the Lord, loved him, and followed him.
*2. Read Jeremiah 2:4–8? Summarize what happened to God’s people in their relationship with him.
They stopped following the Lord and went far away from him (verse 5). They stopped seeking him in spite of all the ways he had been faithful to them (verses 6-8). They worshiped other gods like Baal (verse 8).
3. Jeremiah 2:5 says, “They walked after emptiness and became empty.” What do you think this means?
Allow the group to discuss. The things they pursued outside of God didn’t satisfy them like they thought they would. Instead, they left them empty.
4. Read Jeremiah 2:9–13. Why did the Lord want to fight with his people (verse 9)?
They changed gods (verse 11). They walked away from him in spite of him being the “fountain of living waters” (verse 13), the source of all life. They tried to find their satisfaction elsewhere, which was like trying to pour water into jars full of cracks or holes that couldn’t hold water.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
*5. Why do you think we sometimes start out loving the Lord but drift away from him over time?
Allow the group to discuss. Sometimes we take him for granted. We forget how amazing he is. We get distracted by other things in this world that are more immediate and seem more satisfying.
*6. In what ways have you struggled with letting a good thing become a “god thing” in your life?
Allow the group to discuss. Start by giving an example from your own life. Encourage your group to think about ways this has happened with them in areas like relationships with family and friends, sports, and academics.
7. How can you relate to what Jeremiah 2:5 says, “They went far away from me and walked after emptiness and became empty”?
- How is this like Maria’s experience of trying to water flowers with a bucket that’s filled with holes?
Allow the group to discuss. Again, start with an example from your own life of a time you made something other than God too important and experienced the emptiness that went with that. Encourage your group to share as they’re willing. Help your group see that making things other than God too important is like the frustration of trying to water flowers with a bucket full of holes. At first it might seem like it would work, but it ends up not happening.
8. Sometimes we go far away from Jesus because he doesn’t seem as satisfying to us as some of the things we pursue. Why does he sometimes seem less satisfying to us than other things?
Allow the group to discuss. One reason Jesus seems less satisfying than other things is that we experience him by faith, not by sight. He offers a different kind of pleasure than the immediate, physical pleasure of something like a fat steak, the physical intimacy of someone we’re attracted to, or the high that comes from alcohol or drugs.
9. Read John 10:10. How does knowing Jesus as the source of life in all its fullness (i.e., “the fountain of living waters”) help us resist the temptation to seek satisfaction in things outside of God?
Allow the group to discuss. Knowing Jesus fills us with true satisfaction, so that other things aren’t as satisfying. It’s like having a good meal. When we’re satisfied with the best food possible, it makes us less interested in eating junk food because we know that’s not as satisfying.
*10. What’s a practical step you can take to be satisfied in Jesus so that it’s not as easy for good things to become “god things” in your life?
Allow the group to discuss. Some ideas include setting aside time each day to read the Bible and pray and spending time with others who love Jesus at church, studying the Bible, and at Cru meetings.
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.