Series: Grow Strong
Sermon: Growing What
Speaker: Jessyka Albert
Writer: J. Murdock
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Read: Jeremiah 1:7-8 (NLT) As you read through these two short verses in Jeremiah, note any insights or questions that arise.
Reflect: The Lord seems to have a singular call throughout the Bible, which can be incredibly soothing to hear, but can become immeasurably frustrating when applied. This notion that we are called not to be afraid requires constant reminding because of the simple fact that we live in a constant state of fear. At times, it seems only natural to live this way when we look to the headline news and see that there has been yet another terror attack on innocent people. Lord, how are we not to fear when terror is so present in our world?
Fear has a natural enemy that God points to when speaking to Jeremiah. In this case, the solution is found in awareness. Jeremiah believes that he is too young to be used as an ambassador for the Lord, but God awakens him to the reality that he is not defined by his age, his abilities, or his preconceived notions. He is not operating alone in this world. God is with him in all things and intends for Jeremiah to prosper in the face of adversity. Much like a child finds comfort from a parent when startled by the monsters in the closet, Jeremiah is covered in the protection of the Lord. It is God’s intention that we be built up by His love and the deliverance He promise.
Deliverance is a troubling pill to swallow as its position is not as unnerving as being told that God will shield us from experiencing pain at all. It would seem so much easier for us all not to fear if God would simply offer to remove our fears altogether! But God is calling us to recognize a very simple truth: we were never meant to experience fear. Fear is the misappropriation of emotions which stem from the belief that we are in control of this world and have somehow lost hold of the joystick that directs us through. Unwilling to encroach our free will, God instead steps in to remind us that we are not in control, that we were never in control. God tells us that He is ready and willing to deliver us from turbulence.
Fear not. God is here now. He is standing before you and will deliver you to safety no matter what you see coming at you through the windshield. But He won’t wrestle the controls out of your hand if you don’t want Him to. And until you do, He is gently reminding you that you have no business in this storm and that He knows the Way out. Will you trust Him with the steering wheel of your life?
Recalibrate: What parts of your life are being directed by fear? What is keeping you from allowing God to take over that part of your life?
Respond: Ask God into your heart and to reveal to you all the ways in which fear has taken an unnecessary grip on your being. Pray for deliverance from the fears of your life so that you can make room for God to make an ocean of peace manifest in your heart, your mind, and your soul.
Research: If it is your intention for God to transform you from someone captured by fear to an ambassador uninterrupted by consternation, He will need to create in you a new heart. As you go through your day today, reflect on the ways that you are not living as God may desire for you. Use these realities to ask God for a change of heart and mind.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3): The world can be scary place for a child. Similarly, a scary endeavor for parents to bring a child up in a world that seems so bent on heightening that fear. As you navigate the troubled waters yourself, spend time with your child today experiencing hope and love by listening to what Jesus says when He calls you not to fear.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11): It seems like parents have a lot of rules for their kids. Rules are often there to keep us from doing something we shouldn’t be doing in the first place. What are some rules in your house? Why do you think those rules are in place? Are there any rules about making sure you are safe and loved at all times? Jesus has rules too, and the most important ones deal with making sure you’re safe and loved all the time. Do you feel that way when you think about Jesus? Why or why not?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16): Being a teenager is no walk in the park most days. Take it from someone who didn’t enjoy being a teen himself, it gets better. As you experience struggles in life, what do you lean on for encouragement? Jesus tells us not to fear, which is easier said than done. How important is Jesus in your life now in reminding you that you are safe and loved? Having a closer connection with Him could be a positive relationship for you to rely on even when your other friendships are rocky. How might Jesus blend in with your current commu- nity? What would it take to bring Him into the group?