The BIG IDEA:
Getting what you want right away isn’t best if it takes you outside of God’s will.
We believe that “now” is always better, so we become slaves to satisfying our desires right away and as a result can miss God’s best for our lives.
Since following God is the ultimate satisfaction in any given moment, we can wait for him to gratify our desires in his time and his way, even if it means waiting.
If only we could have a “Right Now” button for all the things we don’t want to wait for. Traffic, The end of class, dessert, Christmas – we wouldn’t have to wait for anything! Where can I get one of those?
- What I want the group to know and understand: God’s best is worth waiting for.
- What I want the group to experience: Moment-by-moment satisfaction in God that grows our heart to trust him for the power to wait for his best instead of living as a slave to the desire for instant gratification.
- How I want the group to respond: By finding satisfaction in God and trusting Jesus for the power to wait for his best, even if it doesn’t come right away.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
We live in a world that wants everything right away. That worldly desire shapes our hearts in many ways, but God rarely works that way. His plans can take days, months, years, and even a lifetime to unfold. If we don’t grow in our ability to resist the desire for instant gratification and wait patiently for God’s timing, we will miss out on his best for us.
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 leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
What would be harder for you:
1.) Having someone text you and you not responding right away?
2.) Having someone put your favorite dessert in front of you but you not eating it right away?
Explain your answer.
Allow the group to discuss. Help your group appreciate why it’s so hard to resist the desire for instant gratification. Explain that we’ll be discussing why that’s a fight worth fighting.
Read Matthew 4: 1-1
1. Explain in your own words what happened as this story began.
God’s Spirit led Jesus into a remote area so that the devil could tempt him. After going without food for 40 days, Jesus would have been more vulnerable to temptation than at other times. It’s important to see that the devil tempting Jesus was part of God’s plan for him. It is for us too. God shows off in our lives when we say “no” to temptation. Our “no” is a way of saying that God is better than whatever we would say “yes” to other than him.
2. In verses 3-4, how did the devil tempt Jesus toward instant gratification and how did Jesus respond?
Allow the group to discuss. The devil tried to get Jesus to satisfy his basic need for food right away instead of waiting for God the Father to satisfy that need in his time and way. Jesus responded by saying his ultimate satisfaction came from God’s word, not from what he ate.
3. In verses 5-7, what did the devil do to tempt Jesus toward instant gratification and how did he handle this temptation?
Allow the group to discuss. The devil tempted Jesus to call on God the Father to fulfill a scriptural promise to him on his own timetable instead of trusting the timing of God’s plan. Jesus handled this temptation by resisting the urge to put God the Father to the test. It was more important for him to be on his Father’s timetable than on his own.
4. In verses 8-11, how did the devil try to move Jesus toward instant gratification and what did Jesus do in response
Allow the group to discuss. Even though Jesus would someday rule over all the world’s kingdoms (see Revelation 11:15), the devil tried to offer him that position right away in exchange for Jesus worshiping him. Jesus told the devil to leave him because the Bible says we should worship God alone. Jesus’ devotion to his Father was more important than devotion to anyone else or to anything this world has to offer.
5. What was the same in each of Jesus’ responses to the temptation of instant gratification (see Matthew 4:4, 6, 10)?
Jesus responded each time with, “It is written,” fighting the temptation of instant gratification with God’s word.
6. Where is the temptation of instant gratification strongest in your life? What are some of the consequences of giving in?
Allow the group to discuss. Some may say it’s something sexually related. Others may struggle not to binge on food or Netflix. Help create an open environment for sharing by offering an example from your own life first. Also help your group see some of the consequences of giving in. For instance, giving in sexually results in dishonoring God, another person, and myself. Binging on food or Netflix reveals that I’m seeking that to satisfy me (which doesn’t really work) instead of getting perfect satisfaction from God.
7. How does having Jesus as an example and savior help when the temptation of instant gratification strikes?
Allow the group to discuss. Jesus shows us how to fight the temptation of instant gratification. He also gives us the power to resist this temptation through his Spirit. And he forgives us when we fall.
8. What can you learn from Jesus’ example of fighting the temptation of instant gratification with God’s word every time?
Allow the group to respond. If Jesus needed to use God’s word in his fight against temptation, we should handle things the same way. That means getting to know God’s word well enough to be able to use it when we face temptation.
9. Based on what we’ve discussed today, what’s something you can apply with the help of the Holy Spirit the next time this temptation strikes?
Allow the group to discuss. As people in your group share, encourage them to rest in the unconditional acceptance that comes from Jesus’ success in the face of his temptation, trust in his power through his Spirit to resist temptation, and receive his forgiveness when we fall short. Point your group to Jesus’ example of using Scripture to resist temptation.
10. Jesus was able to resist the temptation of instant gratification because he treasured his relationship with God the Father more than anything. What would it look like for you to treasure your relationship with God more than anything in the face of the temptations you face?
Allow the group to discuss. Encourage your group to pray that God would move them by the power of his Spirit to treasure their relationship with him above all else. Help them see that we grow in treasuring someone by spending time with that person. The same is true in our relationship with God. We will grow in treasuring him as we spend time with him in his Word and prayer and with his people.
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.