Favor You Cannot Earn

OPENING

Have a volunteer read the opening out loud for the group.

It’s that panicked feeling… you know, the one that comes to the surface when you see a friend celebrated for an accomplishment, and you think, “Wait, what am I doing with my life?” Or, it’s that sinking feeling when you reach the end of a day filled with little people and you think, “Do I have what it takes to be a mom to these kids?” Or, maybe it’s the desperation you feel when faced with the end of a romantic relationship and you wonder, “Wasn’t I ‘enough’ for him?” It’s the familiar longing for favor, acceptance, belonging, and the assurance that we’ve done enough… are enough. And we all want it.

Friend, if you struggle with these very thoughts, you are not alone. Whether we act like it or not, all of us have known, at some moment in time, the weight of not measuring up, and responded by trying to be good enough. Some of us feel trapped in the never-ending hamster wheel of approval-seeking. Our obsession with earning favor influences the way we dress, how we talk, and who we try to impress. And, if we’re honest, it influences the way we interact with God.

We were not made to find our worth, favor, or enough-ness in our own efforts. God made a better way! Let’s discover His way together.

FOCUS SCRIPTURE

Open your Bibles and have a volunteer read this session’s Scripture out loud for the group. It doesn’t matter which translation you have—reading God’s Word together is always a good idea!

Ephesians 2:4–10

WARM-UP QUESTION

Take a few moments to think about the question individually before asking for 1–2 volunteers to share their answers with the group.

Share a circumstance or situation in which you’ve wondered if what you’re doing is really enough or a time when you’ve questioned whether God is pleased with you.

WATCH THE SESSION 1 VIDEO

Scriptures referenced in this session:

  • Genesis 3
  • Romans 5:8
  • Ephesians 2:1–10
  • Hebrews 4:16

GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Use the following questions to help process the themes from the video session. You may not get to every question and that’s okay!

1. Describe how you have wrestled with approval from either God or another person close to you. In what ways has your wrestling positively or negatively affected how you relate to others and to the Lord?

2. With whom or where have you felt the most “welcome”? What specifically made you feel that way? How has such a feeling impacted your expectations in other relationships and circumstances?

3. For better or worse, briefly explain who or what has most shaped your view of God and His character? Do you believe this influence has been an accurate reflection of God’s character or has it skewed your understanding of who God is? Discuss the ramifications of this influence.

4. What comes to mind when you hear the words unmerited favor? Share your best definition of the word grace and compare it to Ruth’s definition. How does the idea of never being worthy of receiving a huge gift make you feel?

5. In what specific ways can you fight the current culture of “strive, hustle, earn your place”? Name a few and if you cannot, listen and write down a few ideas to put into practice or try out.

6. Do you find it easier to give or to receive? Why? What is it about giving or receiving that makes you feel good? In what ways do you or don’t you translate those feelings to God’s feelings for you?

PRAY

Spend some time praying together before dismissing the group.

Take a few moments for group members to share how they think this study will challenge them and then ask one volunteer to close in prayer, asking God, by His Spirit, to open your eyes to who you are, who He is, and how His grace really can change everything.

PREPARE FOR NEXT SESSION

Make time before your next group meeting to work through the personal study on the following pages. Do as much as you can to get the full benefit from the teaching.

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Your Turn

Let us know your thoughts on When Strivings Cease. We’d love to hear from you in the comments!


Join us for the When Strivings Cease online Bible study January 17th – February 27th. Sign up today!

 

Ruth Chou Simons is a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including GraceLaced, Beholding and Becoming, and Foundations. Her first Bible study curriculum, TruthFilled, released in 2020. She is an artist, entrepreneur, and speaker who uses each of these platforms to spiritually sow the Word of God into people’s hearts. Through her online shoppe at GraceLaced.com and her social media community, Simons shares her journey of God’s grace intersecting daily life with word and art. Ruth and her husband, Troy, are grateful parents to six boys — their greatest adventure.

Follow Ruth Chou Simons on:   Facebook   Website

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