Give group members 120 seconds to make a list of things that transform over their lifespan. Have members share their answers. The person with the most wins. Any answer another group member also wrote gets cancelled out.
Read the following passages together:
- “...we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings” (Rom 5:2-3)
- “...you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6)
- “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
- “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad” (Mt 5:12)
- ”They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Act 5:40-41)
- “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor 6:10)
- “I rejoice in what I am suffering for you” (Co 1:24)
- “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property” (Heb 10:34)
Taken together, what do these verses teach us about being a follower of Christ? What is it all these suffering people are so happy about?
This week we focused our attention on the idea that suffering has the potential to transform us to look more like Christ. Why do you think it’s so effective that way?
What kinds of changes do we usually see in ourselves when we endure suffering well? In what ways might we be transformed?
Share a time when suffering was the vehicle for your own personal transformation (or a time when you saw another person transformed by suffering). Hang out here for the majority of your group discussion. If members can’t immediately identify a time, encourage them to share a time when they suffered and allow the group to help them identify any transformation.
Does suffering inevitably lead to maturity and growth? Have you ever seen someone mishandle suffering? What happened?
- What do we need to do in order to receive the transformation that’s possible in suffering?
This week, pray for transformation. Do you feel like God wants to use something to shape you? Ask Him to do it. Don’t let suffering be wasted! Too, ask for “eyes to see” what He’s up to.
Consider watching RRCOC member Patti Fatheree’s story of transformation through suffering: https://vimeo.com/186127137