Play the quiet game. While your group is milling around, getting snacks, making coffee, etc. introduce the quiet game. As always, the rules are as follows: 1. Be quiet. 2. The first person to talk loses. 3. As soon as one person talks (or giggles) the game is over.
If you have an especially quiet bunch you can require them to answer questions using only gestures until someone breaks and uses words.
**If your group hasn’t met consistently over the last few weeks, take a moment (or lots of moments) to review the discussion guides from parts 1-3.**
As a group, say 2 Timothy 1:7 (our key verse for the series) out loud together: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Say it a few times until everyone’s saying all the words.
What is self-control or self-discipline? What is its relationship to fear?
Think of someone you know who’s self-controlled. Have you ever witnessed their self control protecting them from fear? If so, share an example.
We said on Sunday that worry happens when we welcome fear into our thoughts and entertain it. Do you struggle with worry? If so, take this opportunity to confess to the group and seek help and accountability.
- Why do you think worry can be an easy sin to embrace (and even excuse)? Do you like to worry? How does worry feel?
- Do you know anyone who’s been consumed by worry? What does worry do to a person when left unchecked?
- What can you do to overcome it? Practically speaking?
Marcus Aurelius wrote (a long, long time ago), “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
- Do you think that’s true? Why or why not? Do you live like it’s true? Why or why not?
If it’s true that your thoughts don’t get to control you and that you have the responsibility to control your thoughts, how do you do that? How do you make yourself stop thinking unhealthy thoughts?
The purpose of self-discipline is not to make life hard, but to make life easier. Name a time when discipline (of any kind) made life easier for you.
How do you think self-discipline might protect you from fear? Where would a more disciplined life lead you?
Review the homework from this Sunday’s sermon: What are you going to stop doing this week? What are you going to start doing? (If you have members who didn’t hear the sermon, explain that we were encouraged to exercise our self-mastery with these two practices: choosing one thing to stop doing and one thing to start doing. Challenge them to find an area where they need to develop self-control and plant their exercises in that soil.)
Read Titus 2: 11-13
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
- Is this passage confusing to you? If so, why?
- What is it about grace that teaches us to say “No”? How does grace help us be self-controlled?
- Have you personally experienced grace to be a motivator to self control? Share.
Share one way/place/environment in which you’d like to be more self-controlled. Pray for self control for one another in these specific areas.
Also, you might decide to pray this prayer together:
Father, make me master of myself.
Help me to daydream
not about the bottom falling out,
but about your grace coming down.
Help me say no to foolish impulses
and yes to wise practices.
Remind me that discipline
won’t make my life harder, but easier.
Endow me with the authority and power I need
to bring my thoughts and my actions under my control
as I thrive under yours.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.