BIBLE STUDY& LIFE GROUP DISCUSSION HANDOUT
I. Deeper Study for Christian Formation
Why do you think trials are normative for the Christian life?
When have you had the most significant spiritual growth?
How do hardship and trials in your life right now help you see God’s hand?
Which one have you struggled with? Why are good intentions not the same as genuine faith?
What have you learned recently in the midst of a difficult situation?
Recount a trial that felt far too big for you to bear. What enabled you to endure it?
What role does obedience have in the growth of a follower of Christ? What is God asking you
today to obey?
II. Bible Exploration
How do you respond to painful situations? Share one significant trial you’ve faced in the last
year. How has that trial helped you see just how real your faith is?
Trials help us see what’s really in us. They “test our faith,” strengthening our spiritual vitality.
But, too often we see trials as unwelcomed interruptions in our lives. The Apostle James says it
this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because
you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4). In this study we’ll
learn the art of considering our trials pure joy.
Without a test, frankly there’s no way to know the real from the fake.” We are tested to be
proven, to see what’s really inside us in terms of faith. Let’s explore what that means.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Why do you think God provides a way of escape? Have you found it to be true that God provides
you with an escape hatch from sin?
Read Matthew 12:33 and Luke 6:43–45.
How important is bearing fruit in the disciple’s life? What is the natural outcome of a seed
planted in the soil?
Why do you think people’s words carry so much weight in today’s world? (as opposed to their
Take a look at Matthew 13:1–23.
Which soil indicates the counterfeit of the “fast start” that Larry shared? (Shallow soil)
Who in your life represents rocky ground? Shallow soil? Thorns? Good soil?
Read 1 Peter 1:4–7.
What role do trials have in the believer’s life? (Trials test and prove your faith, resulting in honor
and praise to God.)
five things we learn in spiritual boot camp: obedience, perspective, endurance, confidence, and
Which one is the most frustrating for you right now?
Read Hebrews 5:8, Matthew 21:28–32, and Proverbs 3:5–6.
What do these verses say about the importance of obedience? (Obedience is essential to the
What does God promise to those who trust and obey? (He will guide our paths.) Read 2
Corinthians 4:16–19 and 11:23–29.
Why is perspective so valued in the kingdom of God? What specifically helps us endure
hardship? (Our perspective)
How does having an eternal perspective put trials in their proper place? (We realize they are light
and momentary, and we are gaining heavenly reward.)
How does reading about Paul’s extreme trials help you change your perspective on your own?
Read Romans 5:3–5 and James 1:2–4.
According to the Romans passage, what does suffering cause? (Perseverance, then character,
The Christian life is more marathon than sprint, which makes endurance essential.
How have you learned to endure? According to the James passage, trials produce perseverance
and endurance. What is the ultimate goal of trials testing our faith? (That we may be mature and
complete, lacking in nothing)
Read Hebrews 10:35.
Why do you think confidence is so important to the Christian? Why do you think the author of
Hebrews say confidence will be richly rewarded?
Read Hebrews 12:11–12.
What role does courage have in the life of a person of faith? Why is it courageous to endure a
trial? How does this inspire others? What do you think the author of Hebrews means when he
encourages believers to strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees? Why does that take
Read about the rich, young ruler in Mark 10:17–27.
Was the rich, young ruler obedient? Why or why not?
What prevented him from pursuing the Kingdom of God? What holds you back from giving
III. Deeper Christian Formation Walk
Select at least one activity below to complete during the next week.
• Personal Action:
Repeat this activity from the last week: Fast from whatever media platform causes you the most
stress and worry. Recount how the fast changed your perspective.
Who do you know right now who, like Daniel, has trusted God in the midst of a painful/difficult
circumstance? Ask this question: What helped you thrive in the midst of a painful trial? What
gives you peace when the culture seems to be getting crazier and more godless?
Talk to a significant friend or group of friends about the one of the three things you learned from
this lesson, Ask for input about how you can experience God’s presence in the midst of those
difficulties. Ask your friends what their list of three would be. End the time praying directly and
specifically for each other.
This week a new verse you should memorize. Write down Hebrews 10:35 on a 3 x 5 card, then
keep it with you in an obvious place (purse, wallet, car, mirror). Read and memorize it when life
feels out of control.