Genesis 3:6-10; 15:1-3; John 14:1, 2; Matthew 6:25-34; 18:3; Philippians 4:11, 12; 1 Peter 5:7
We all experience fear and worry―sometimes imagined, sometimes real. God has provided help for our anxieties.
Paper, pencils, Bibles
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Have you ever worried about something that turned out to be nothing at all? If you feel comfortable, share your experience with the group. What did you learn from your experience?
- Listen as others in the group describe their experiences and then summarize what you learned from everyone’s experiences.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Like deadly arrows, worry can destroy you. On a piece of paper, draw a stick man holding a shield. Draw several arrows of worry coming at the shield and give them names. Write on the shield what helps to protect you from worry.
- Thought Questions
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, experienced fear after they sinned and hid from God. Read Genesis 3:6-10. The Bible says after the first couple sinned, they “realized they were naked” (verses 7, 11). What does this mean?
- It means that before sin, they hadn’t really noticed that they were naked.
- When you “realize” something, it is brought to your attention. Sin opened their eyes.
- The temperature in the Garden of Eden dropped a few degrees after they sinned, and they felt cold.
- There is nothing wrong with being naked when you are pure and holy.
- Nakedness had less to do with skin and more to do with shame.
Read Genesis 15:1-6. When God promised Abram a child, Abram responded with “But…” What can we learn about fear and worry from this exchange between God and Abram?
- It is okay to express your doubts to God.
- We need to believe God’s promise from the beginning (verse 1: “Do not be afraid....I am your shield”).
- Great people in the Bible had trouble with fear. We are not alone when we struggle with worry.
- Nature (in Abram’s case, the stars) can teach us to trust in God.
- The best antidote for fear is ____ (fill in the blank).
When the disciples were told they could not follow Jesus to heaven, they received a promise. Read John 14:1-3. How might these verses give comfort to someone who worries?
- They encourage us to manage our emotions; we have much more control over them than we might think.
- To trust means “to lean on.” When we lean on God, our trust will be rewarded.
- Our gracious and benevolent God has plenty of room for all who believe.
- Fear often sprouts from the unknown. The disciples were reminded numerous times where Christ was going.
- The disciples were afraid of being separated from Jesus. Christ’s promise in verse 3 addresses their specific worry.
The classic statement on worry is found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Read Matthew 6:25-34, choose one verse that speaks to your heart, and explain your selection to the group.
- Verse 26: “Look at the birds of the air…”
- Verse 28: “See how the lilies of the field grow…”
- Verse 30: “God clothes the grass of the fields…”
- Verse 32: “For the pagans run after all these things…”
- Verse 33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness...”
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: “I just can’t stop worrying about my son,” your neighbor confides. “It’s eating me alive! What can I do?” Based on what you’ve learned in today’s lesson, craft a short and caring response to your neighbor.
- Option 2: Rewrite Paul’s famous statement on contentment (Philippians 4:11, 12) in your own words.
- Option 3: As a group, act out a silent skit based on 1 Peter 5:7. Find a heavy object (stone, book, etc.) to represent your anxieties―the true burdens of your heart. Bring the object to someone who represents Jesus. How does that feel?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Think deeply for a moment and be honest with yourself: Do you have a worry in your life that is a heavy weight? Do you really believe God wants to take it from you?
- Kneel quietly with one other person in your group and prayerfully give your fear to Jesus. Feel the outstretched arms of Christ embracing you.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
1 Kings 17:2-4, 15, 16; 19:1, 2; Matthew 11:28; Mark 6:31-34; Galatians 6:2; John 15:13
For further study materials: