Thrilled or Chilled? Week 1
We live in a pretty awesome age. We have every convenience at our fingertips, and technology is just getting smarter and more advanced. It seems like everything is advancing and it’s not just limited to the wealthy or the super intelligent. Everyone can have it. You would almost assume that in a world where anything is possible, that people would be more driven to get more done. Not so in a lot of cases, though. I read somewhere that if someone from the year 1900 found himself in our day, the hardest thing for him to understand would not be the tiny device we carry in our pockets that can access a world of information in a matter of seconds, but it would be why we use that technology to watch cat videos and to argue about nothing with people we have never met. It seems that advancing sometimes has the opposite effect of what it should. Some people become complacent and chilled.
For years, we have heard the phrase “chill out”. This usually means to just kick back and relax. What better way to have fun and to forget about life than to just "chill out." While there is nothing wrong with kicking back and relaxing, I’m afraid that this attitude often spills over to other parts of our lives. We start to take on that “chilled” mentality in more than just our leisure. Ask yourself this question and give yourself an honest answer: In what other areas of my life am I chilled out? Take 5 minutes as a group to identify important areas of everyday life where we are chilled and shouldn’t be.
Did you find that that question was easier to answer than it should have been? It’s simple to allow a relaxed attitude into some of the most important areas of life. This is especially true in our Christian lives. We believe in God, know we are saved, and know that God is capable of great things in our lives, but the amount of time and excitement put forth towards our Christian faith is often suspect, at best. We have allowed the relaxing, easy, and enjoyable parts of our lives to trickle down into our spiritual walk with God. Answer these questions (privately or as a group): do we actually pray and study God’s word, and If so, how often? Have you ever spent more time in prayer than watching TV in one day? Do you make every choice in life with the goal of pleasing God in mind? Have you memorized any scripture? I’m not asking these questions to shame you, though I find myself often ashamed of my Christian walk. These are legitimate questions that every Christian should answer. If we are to claim Christ, should we not follow after Him?
As a group, look up and read the following verses: II Timothy 2:3-4; Ephesians 6:11-18. Hardship? Soldier? Armor? For some reason, these terms that the Bible uses don’t fit into or describe our modern spiritual walk with Christ. We don’t see ourselves as soldiers. We don’t see ourselves as needing armor. Are we enduring hardship? Christ is trying to tell us something here: WE ARE AT WAR. I remember when the World Trade Center was destroyed. I also remember when the President and Congress declared war. A few days later, we were seeing images of cruise missiles and explosions, and as a teenager, I remember having a feeling of realness. We, as a country, are actually at war. However, I don’t feel that same feeling very often in my spiritual walk. We go to church, enjoy the music and the message, and live out our week dealing with whatever comes our way the best we can, making it back to church the following Sunday. I have done it so many times, and I’ve failed in growing closer to Christ so many times that the failure has literally become my status quo. It’s what I expect from my week. This must change.
As a group, spend 5 minutes discussing what the realities of war are and then identify what spiritual battles we face every day. Compare them to the realities of war. They say war is Hell. It is a disastrous awful conflict resulting in destruction and death. Injuries are common, fighting is everywhere, and little pleasure can be found. Friends, this is not how we view our spiritual battle; it’s how the devil and his angels view it. Unfortunately, we view our spiritual battles as a glorified game of laser tag. We look for whatever enjoyment we can find, play with whatever fervor we wish, and expect everyone to be perfectly fine when the game stops. This is not the reality of spiritual warfare. Read John 10:10 and spend 5 minutes discussing what the devil wants out of this warfare.
Now, before discouragement starts to set in, let me remind you of something. God has sent His Holy Spirit to live in us so that we can defeat Satan and live a victorious Christian life! We don’t have to be defeated. We don’t have to fall. The Bible tells us that we can overcome the world. However, it’s important to understand the steps we MUST take to win the battle. We have the numbers. We have superior firepower. We have everything we need to succeed, but we must start putting these things to work. We must get God involved in our lives.
Take 5-10 minutes to read these scriptures and identify the tools we need to have victory: Ephesians 6:9-18; Psalms 119:105; Joshua 1:8; Philippians 4:6; Luke 11:9; Ephesians 5:22-26. We can live a God-filled life. I think we have too often told ourselves “I can’t,” and we have completely believed that lie. The truth is this: YOU cannot live a good life. That’s why we MUST GET GOD INVOLVED. For the next 6 days ask yourself this question daily: Will I do what it takes to grow closer to God? I pray the answer will be yes. We will be looking at some major areas of our Christian faith in which we should be THRILLED about, and not chilled. Read James 5:16 and take the rest of the time identifying and asking those in your group to pray about the areas in your Christian walk that you need to be more thrilled about.