Sunday Fuel: July 7, 2024

Welcome to Sunday Fuel! This series of questions is designed to assist your personal reflection and fellowship with others about the sermon from this past Sunday.

Go to This Sunday’s Sermon (start at 18:08)

Note: This is a long reflection so feel free to work through it in smaller chunks or select the questions that would be most helpful to you.

Name Your Anxiety and Coping Strategies

What is a situation or circumstance that currently creates anxiety for you?

Describe how you tend to respond:

  • Do you work frantically to find your own solutions?
  • Adopt an attitude of stoicism, gritting your teeth and enduring?
  • Try to find peace through escape, avoidance, or seeking distractions to find relief and comfort? 

How do these help? How do they create more problems? 

In your anxieties, what desires are your heart seeking: a desire for control, security, safety, success, approval, justice, other?

Confess to the Lord the ways you have relied on your own cocktail of coping methods to gain the ends you desire instead of putting your faith in him in the midst of your anxiety. 

If you do not struggle with anxiety

  • Praise God that he has blessed you with a natural freedom from anxiety. 
  • Would you say your experience of peace is truly rooted in Christ? Or is it a prideful confidence in the nature God has blessed you with? 
  • Are there ways you have pridefully or smugly looked at others in judgment for their anxiety? Pray that God will give you a healthy concern that shows love and care instead. There is a difference between anxiety and genuine concern.

Act in Faith

The Bible’s particular means to peace is through faith and trust in the presence and goodness of God in every circumstance we face. 

If the key to peace is our faith, how might God use your current struggle to develop it?

Pastor Jason suggests three ways to invite God’s presence, grow our faith, and cultivate peace. Choose one of the following and apply them to the situation or circumstance you identified earlier. 

  1. Prayer – God listens to us
  • Even if we our thoughts are unorganized and messy, we can simply speak as a child to Him about our cares.
  • Take some time to slow down and take a step of faith through prayer. Bring your mess to God, even if it is unorganized, and boldly speak to Him about your worries. What would you like Him to do for you? Then relinquish your cares to Him, trusting He hears you. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart through this situation and that He might sanctify you to become more like Christ through it. Commit to choosing to trust Him for His outcome, not the one you want. 
  • Pray that God will help you to see the situation as He sees it. Ask Him to help you to look at things from His perspective, not the world’s. Review Matt. 6:25-34

2. Thanksgiving – God is always with us

Being thankful does not mean turning a blind eye to the realities of your worries and concerns, but turning your mind to dwell on the great God who holds your life and your cares in His hands. 

  • Take some time to remember how God has already been at work in your life. Can you remember a time when your life was a mess but you were at peace? What are some ways He has continually been caring for you, things that you often take for granted? 
  • Or take some time to meditate on some truths about God’s character and nature. How might a greater view of God help you see your worries in a different perspective? 
  • Thank God for the unique opportunity your worry provides you to grow in your sanctification as you wrestle and do battle with the subjective feelings you are experiencing right now. Thank Him for His presence with you and ask Him to help you keep your eyes on Him, even as you navigate through the situation that troubles you.
  • Thank Him for His providence in the midst of your circumstances. How might remembering that even these are perfectly ordained by Him be helpful, even if we don’t like it?
  • Ask God to bless others through your experience. How might the fruit of the Spirit expressed in peace be a witness to others? How might it point others to Christ? 

3. Right thinking – God speaks to us

  • Where does your mind spin out of control into unproductive and unhelpful paths? What what-ifs, worst case scenarios or unknown assumptions fill your mind?
  • Try the heartwork Pastor Jason suggested: Each day, review your thoughts using one of the words in Philippians 4:8. Are they true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise? If not, how could you reframe your thoughts so that they are?
  • If your worst case scenario has come true, God’s character has not changed. How might this truth help direct you in a Godward direction? What is still true? Lament your situation before Him, even as you remember that He is for you (Rom. 8:31-32). 
  • How will you plan to keep your mind stayed on Christ in trust (Is. 26:3)? What truths will you rehearse? 

Take Action in the Midst of Your Anxiety 

Peace does not mean that we no longer worry. It means that we put the things that we have learned, received and heard into practice (v. 9).

How can you work out your salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12)? How do we do battle in prayer, think rightly, follow His law, have a healthy concern, count the cost, make preparations and plan diligently, even as we rest, trust, and depend on the Spirit in active reliance even if we don’t know His purposes? What would that look like for you? 

Respond in Praise and Prayer

Praise God for the objective peace you enjoy with God through Christ. Thank Him for His supernatural peace that surpasses understanding. Thank Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit that now resides in us, working in our hearts, convicting us of sin of false worship, leading us to confession and true repentance. 

Ask Him to transform our thoughts and desires as He brings to mind biblical truths to counsel and comfort us in the midst of our anxieties. Ask Him to help you face the realities while clinging to Him in faith at the same time.