Were the heroes of faith in the Bible any different from the present-day child of God? Scripture tells us in James 5:17 that Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are. He was an example of how a Christian, even today, can react in times of stress and pressure.
Christian maturity comes as a result of taking a realistic, practical, and God-directed approach to both the opportunities and the problems of life. That is why the admonitions found in the Bible are of proven value. They apply to the everyday experiences we face.
How to gain Christian maturity is the thrust of the lessons to be studied during this quarter.
The basic point to remember in considering the precepts of this unit is that submitting to Christ as our Lord and Savior comes first. With this thought in mind, we begin the unit by focusing on the reality of Jesus’ presence with us and in us.
The second lesson deals with the subject of Christian growth, establishing that God’s Word outlines certain ways and means of spiritual development, and that spiritual growth is necessary.
With these two lessons as the foundation for the quarter, we move into a consideration of specific areas such as decision-making, resisting the devil, avoiding physical and spiritual pollution, self-discipline, and how to deal with personal problems.
Our quarter concludes with a lesson on looking at the outcome, in which we will be encouraged to see the importance of measuring our daily actions by whether these actions will draw us closer to God or move us farther away.
Our goal this quarter is to reach the point where we can say with Paul, “. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
- As we read the story of Elijah, what are some of the stressful situations in which he found himself? How did he handle each of them? Particularly note 1 Kings 17:1,3,7,17; 18:17-24.
- What did God promise Elijah when he faced Ahab after the 3-1/2 years of drought (1 Kings 18:1)? What did Elijah do when this didn’t happen immediately?
- What attributes were shown by the three Hebrew children when they refused to obey the king’s edict to bow down to his idol? See Daniel 3:16-18.
- What did Jesus do when He was falsely accused and reviled for doing good? Since He was the Son of God, do you feel the stress and pressure He went through was any less serious than what we may feel? See Hebrews 4:15 and 1 Peter 2:21-23.
- How do most people react when they are reproved for something and realize they may have deserved it? How do most people react if they are accused of something of which they are completely innocent? Justified or unjustified, reproof can cause stress. In what way should a Christian react to stress? See 1 Peter 2:18,20.
- What are some of the situations that may arise in our present-day society that can induce stress and tension in one’s life?
- What are some ways people have tried to combat stress in their lives, as compared with what a Christian can do?
- What does the Bible instruct us to do when the cares, anxieties, and pressures of life come upon us? See Matthew 6:25; Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 Peter 5:7.
- What kind of Christian witness are we displaying when we meet the crises and tests of life as God would have us meet them?
- The outcome of giving in to stress can be physical distress and in some cases a total breakdown. According to Philippians 4:7-8, there is something we can do to counteract the pressures and stresses of this life. List several stressful-type situations that might come to us and, using this Scripture, explain what you could do to lessen the stress.
Daniel 3:8-30; 1 Peter 2:19-21