The Fight in the Dark

Overview ::

When we get to Heaven, we will be fully made in the image of Christ, perfect and without blemish or shame . But until then, we live imperfect lives in an imperfect world . But no matter how hard the fight or dark the night, we can still flourish in the struggle because we are in Jesus Christ and He is the light that has overcome the world .

Session Start-up ::

LEADER: Read aloud to group.

A seed is destined to grow. But it’s not as simple as tossing a few apple seeds into dirt and expecting an apple tree to sprout within days. Seeds must germinate. Then they must be planted. And then, with the right soil, water, air, light, and temperature, they grow. They do what they were born to do. And they do more than just bloom, they grow.

It’s easy to dismiss the growth process when we’re focused on the flourishing part. Let’s be real. Flourishing is more fun. It’s gorgeous. It’s our “after” picture. It’s where we show off results, showcase our victory, and personify success. We get our degree. We run the marathon. Our dreams actualize. We get it right and stop feeling like we’re always failing at something. The thing is, flourishing is not reserved only for our desired outcome.

Flourishing is interwoven with growth, with struggle, with fighting.

And doesn’t life seem like that sometimes? A fight? A fight to be kind, a fight to do what’s right, a fight to focus on what matters most, a fight to live with purpose, peace, and passion.

In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament, encouraged us to,

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. — NIV

While we receive the gift of salvation and are born again, it doesn’t mean we live in this trouble-free dimension flush with sunshine, rainbows, and fairytales. Paul gives us the directive to fight. In other words, it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to get sweaty and tired. We might even sport a black eye or a cut lip.

We are born to flourish, yes, but we need the fight in order to flourish.

This truth is not meant to dampen your parade of living your best life. Jesus is with us in the fight and in the darkness. We are not alone. We are not left battling it out in our human strength. We don’t need epic ninja skills or superhero punches. We hope in the darkness because we have the light of Jesus in us. Light that shines in and cannot be overcome by the darkness. Light that cannot be dimmed or snuffed out. Light that gives and keeps giving light to each of us. And no matter what situation we find ourselves in, whether we’re wallowing in disappointment, crushed by heartache, or seeing stars from one of life’s sucker punches, we can allow the Light of the world to shine through us.

Talk About It ::

What value does darkness have in everyday life?

Watch the Video ::

VIDEO TEACHING NOTES

Watch the session 1 video. While viewing the video, record key ideas or any thoughts you want to remember.

  • What does it mean/look like to flourish?
  • The process we are going through right now is the destination God has for us.
  • Psalm 92:12-15

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

  • Our life right now is motivated by and caused by starting at the finish line.
  • When we follow Jesus, God looks at us and sees His Son.
  • In this fight to flourish, God created us for a very unique purpose and for us to walk in it.
  • God desires us to grow and live an abundant, full-of-joy life.
  • When you hurt and it’s hard, know that God is right with you in the pain.
  • Psalm 18:28-29

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.

Small Group Discussion ::

LEADER: Read aloud each numbered prompt. Select a volunteer to read the Scripture and content from The Fight to Flourish book.

30-40 minutes

1. Read Psalm 92:12-15:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;

 

List aloud three attributes of a flourishing life found in this passage.

2. In the video teaching, Jennie talks about how our lives represent a seed packet. The picture on the packet shows what the seed inside will grow to look like. The seed itself looks insignificant, but it has great potential. When we look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we have the potential of being like Him, the picture on the seed packet of our lives.

Describe an instance when you felt overwhelmed by failure, great or small, few or many. How does knowing that God doesn’t look at us and see our flaws, but rather Jesus, encourage you?

3. Read John 16:33:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

How does this promise from Jesus encourage you to trust Him and not give up during tough times?

4. Share what has been the darkest time in your life. Name one or two ways you have experienced Jesus working in and through you during that time?

5. Read the following Scriptures:

    • John 1:4-5:

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

  • John 9:5:

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

  • 1 John 1:5-7:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Take turns naming something these Bible passages teach us about the source and importance of light.

6. Consider the concept of us reflecting the light of Jesus. How have you reflected the light of Jesus to others? Talk about a time when you were encouraged by someone who reflected the light of Jesus to you.

7. In the video teaching, Jennie talks about beauty being possible in a dark place, even in our struggles. Read Psalm 18:28-29:

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.

What has it looked like in your life to “run against a troop” or “leap over a wall” as a result of God shining a light in your darkness?

Wrap It Up ::

LEADER: Read the paragraph below and select a reader to close the group in prayer. She can use her own words or be guided by the ideas below:

Today we have learned that God shines the brightest in the darkness. We can flourish in the dark and in the fight because He is in and with us. And there’s more. God can heal and use our pain to uncover brilliance in our lives and in those around us.

Let’s close this session in prayer.

  • Thank Him for being the light of the world.
  • Ask Him to reveal opportunities in which you can shine for Him.
  • Pray for strength, courage, and grit to do the hard things, the things you don’t feel like doing.
  • Ask your heavenly Father to use your pain or your darkest day to bring about good in the life of someone who needs it most.

Excerpted with permission from The Fight to Flourish Study Guide: Engaging in the Struggle to Cultivate the Life You Were Born to Live by Jennie Lusko, copyright Jennie Lusko.

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