1.On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate yourself in the category of “waiting on the Lord” for a patient answer to the questions you have asked Him? What steps can you take to improve your score?
Allow students time to rate themselves. Some who want God to show His power and glory or to bring immediate justice might rank themselves very low. They may criticize themselves for their lack of patience.
This may not actually be a bad kind of impatience. If we are eager for God to be justified through demonstration of His power, we are really on His side and acting as His cheerleaders. This is not the same as being frustrated with God because He will not act they may we desire for meeting selfish requests (see James 4:1-3). As we focus on doing the work God assigned to us, we will grow in patience. Allowing God to do His work on His own timetable.
2.When we pray we often have in mind the answer we want God to give us. Is that a good thing? Why, or why not? What guidelines will help us be ready for God’s answer if it does not agree with our expectation?
Habakkuk is a good example. He was convinced that God would answer. He did not know when or how, but he prepared himself to listen. He continued in his faithfulness to God in every way. He also got ready to respond if God surprised him. He was ready to do the specific work God assigned him to do, no matter what.
3. What secrets (if that is the right term) need to be passed along to younger Christians about walking by faith versus trusting self to do it all? The danger of trusting self can lead easily to the tendency to use inadequate or sinful means(cheating, violence, undue fear, etc.) to reach the desired results. The servant who buried his one talent is an example (Matthew 25:25).
In contrast, walking by faith means listening carefully to God’s instructions and taking steps to follow those instructions. We may find this easier as we become familiar with the ways faithful individuals in the Bible struggled and succeeded in their walk with God. Many of us will also find
it easier if we venture out one step at a time while experiencing God’s providential care as new situations unfold. Keeping a journal of the faithfulness of God in our lives will provide re-minders over time that God can be trusted in all things.
4.How would you respond to someone who says that the use of wine (or any alcoholic beverage) could never become a problem in his or her life?
The Bible does not condemn wine as such (compare 1 Timothy 5:23). Sin does not come in a bottle. Yet the Scripture is very clear about the dangers that alcohol use poses. It can quickly affect a person’s judgment, actions, and witness. Wine is cast in a negative light in Habakkuk 2:5 (also see vv. 15, 16).
Researchers (not to mentions police officers!) have long known of the connection between the use of alcohol and domestic violence, traffic accidents, lost jobs, and impulsive decisions. Therefore the safest advice to anyone is either to abstain totally or to use alcohol only as Scripture implies.
5.How does knowing that God’s plan will ultimately be fulfilled help you deal with situations in life in which evil seems to be in control? How do you need to grow spiritually in this regard?
Righteous people have always had to endure the negative aspects of living in a fallen world. While desiring to have a good life here for our 70 or so years on the earth is understandable, Christians must realize that we were created primarily to live eternally with God.
Therefore we are to be ready to remain faithful in the face of very difficult circumstances as we make our way toward living forever in eternity. Adopting a fatalistic approach—”what will be, will be”—is not productive. Yet being attuned to what God wants us to do to improve (not just endure) a situation requires spiritual maturity. Sometimes just pausing for a few minutes to reflect on the concept of eternity can help us keep a perspective. With that perspective, the Christian may be better able to detect doors of opportunity that God may be opening.