We asked the question this week, would you rather be out of control or under control. When asked this question, we would all probably say that we want to be under control. After all, being out of control is no way to live. Being out of control leads to anxiety and stress and causes us to say and do things we regret. The good news today is that we do not have to live feeling out of control. Scripture teaches that when God works and moves in our lives, He helps us to live with self-control.
Would you rather never be stuck in traffic again or be able to watch TV commercial free forever?
1. In what areas of their lives do you see many people losing control?
2. When in your life do you feel most in control? When do you feel the most out of control?
3. Read James 5:13-18. Acknowledging that we need help is one of the first steps to finding freedom and self-control. What area of your life feels out of control right now?
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
4. According to these verses, why is confession so important? How have you personally benefitted from acknowledging your struggles?
5. Read Galatians 3:1-4. In that out-of-control area of your life, have you been trying to take care of it on your own, or have you been seeking God for help in this battle of self-control?
Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
6. What does it look like to seek God for help as you seek to have self-control in certain areas of your life?
7. One of the ways we can fight to have self-control is to invite someone to keep us accountable. Who is someone in your life who you can invite to help keep you accountable so that you can gain freedom in the areas where you feel out of control?
In your fight to live with self-control, your small group members are here to help you. In the area of your life that you feel out of control, come up with one step you will take this week to fight for control, and share that step with your group. Maybe you can make an effort to pause before saying something if you are struggling to control your words. Perhaps you can delete the app off of your phone that you spend too much time on each day. Maybe gaining self-control looks like seeking help in an area of addiction by attending a Living Free group. Whatever it looks like for you, invite your group to hold you accountable as you seek to grow in self-control.
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The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.