Sabbath School Lesson for July 30-August 5, 2022

Overview of Lesson 6

We’ve seen how intense our crucibles can be. This week we study about ways we can navigate our toughest trials. It’s important to know…

  • about the truth of the great controversy and how we are saved–the Spirit of truth is needed (Sunday)
  • how our human effort is combined with God’s strength and power (Monday)
  • that our choices should not be based on feelings alone (Tuesday)
  • that radical commitment is necessary for our survival, because we have drifted so far from God (Wednesday)
  • how to keep on going despite our pain, just as Jacob persevered in wrestling all night with Christ (Thursday)

Surviving our crucibles is sometimes all we expect while we are experiencing them. But God’s purpose is to do much more. As we’ve seen, the intense heat of our crucible changes us, transforms us into something valuable to God and His Kingdom.

Just as gold is purified by heat and made shiny and beautiful, enabling the goldsmith to see his image, we are being transformed into God’s image when we feel the heat from our life crucibles. There are ways that encourage this process. We mature much quicker if we understand how we are to persevere during our times of suffering and grief.

Memory Text: “To this end I strenuously contend, struggling with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29 NIV

New Living Translation: That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

Sunday: The Spirit of Truth

It’s important to understand the truth of God in the context of the great controversy between good and evil. It helps us to know what heavenly forces we are up against, and why.

But there are also truths regarding ourselves, that the Spirit is able to help us understand during our crucibles. We can’t repent of our sins and be spiritually strengthened by our weaknesses, if we don’t know what they are. Trials tend to make us look at ourselves more closely. The Holy Spirit, working with us during these troubling times, can thankfully make us aware of our faults, enabling us to address them before God.

Knowing about both of these truths, about God and our own nature, will help us navigate our difficulties and will result in a more positive outcome for us and God’s Kingdom.

Discussion Questions:

John 16:13 and 14:17

  • What kind of truths does the Holy Spirit tell us?
  • Where does the Holy Spirit work?

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

  • What does it mean to have “the mind of Christ”?
  • Who does not receive the Spirit of God? And why?

Monday: The Divine-Human Combination

As our memory text this week tells us in Colossians 1:29, there is human effort involved in surviving our harsh experiences in life. We do labor during our crucibles. Other verses verify this struggle with admonitions to hold fast to the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:4), strive to enter the narrow gate (Luke 13:24), compete for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:25), and resist to bloodshed, striving against sin (Hebrews 12:4).

We must remember, however, that our power to struggle comes from God. Colossians 1:29 says God is working in us. So, even though we are straining with everything we have, God is the One who gives us our strength and perseverance. He’s working too. Whatever results from our effort, we can know that God has seen our suffering, empowered us to withstand it, and will reward us for it, either now or in eternity.

The divine-human combination means that we work WITH God. That recognition should make the burden of our crucible lighter. We let Him carry the heavy end, leaving us with the lighter duty of following His lead.

Discussion Questions:

Colossians 1:28, 29

  • What kind of human effort is involved in our “striving” to be perfect?
  • Where does our power to struggle come from?
  • What battles have you fought that needed God’s power to win?

Tuesday: The Disciplined Will

Although feelings aren’t bad, we must remember that they can’t always be trusted when it comes to knowing the right thing to do. Think of the experiences of…

  • Eve (feeling attracted to the fruit on the wrong tree)–Genesis 3:6
  • David (feeling a desire for Bathsheba as she bathed on her rooftop)–2 Samuel 11:2-4
  • Peter (feeling uncomfortable with the Gentiles when his circumcised friends were around)–Galatians 2:11, 12

These examples inform us of the danger of trusting our feelings and senses alone when faced with decisions. There must be something more to inform and guide our actions.

Paul’s description of Christ being the head of the body (Colossians 1:18), and counseling us to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), should tell us something about knowing what to do during a crucible. With the mind of Christ, we can develop a disciplined state of mind, which will help us survive our trials and temptations.

1 Peter 1:13 says clearly: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Immersing ourselves in the word of God, allowing His grace to inform our actions, is crucial to surviving and even avoiding our most trying crucibles. Without control of our mind, we are like a rudderless ship, tossed and turned by every feeling that blows our way. Christ must have that control. With Christ as the Captain of our ship, we will reach a safe harbor.

Discussion Questions:

1 Peter 1:13-15

  • What do we need, besides emotions and feelings, when it comes to knowing what to do?

Wednesday: Radical Commitment

We may wonder why we have such intense, radical experiences. They might be so intense because we have drifted so far from God–either in our own individual life or the population as a whole. Sin has done radical things to our world. Therefore radical things happen to us.

Extreme action and commitment are often needed on our part when trials become overwhelmingly difficult. This explains the words of Christ in His sermon on the mount, when He tells us to cut off our hand, or cut out our eye, if these members cause us to sin (Matthew 5:29, 30). These are definitely radical solutions. But what Jesus is really calling us to do is to control our minds and bodies, no matter how much it costs.

We may be required to make a commitment to give up something we have treasured or start doing something we dread. But these radical actions will be rewarded, if they are what God calls us to do in response to our crucible.

Discussion Questions:

Matthew 5:27-30

  • What is Jesus telling us in these verses? Does He expect us to literally maim ourselves, in order to refrain from sinning?
  • What kind of extreme actions might be needed in order to give Christ control over our life?
  • How do our actions and commitment affect our crucibles?

Thursday: The Need to Persevere

To understand perseverance, we can look at the story of Jacob when he wrestled with a heavenly being all night, despite the pain from his dislocated hip (Genesis 32). He held onto Christ through the pain and was no doubt limping when he later met his brother Esau.

The limp may have made him look weak, but in actuality it was an indication of his tenacity and perseverance. Jacob was blessed because he held onto God through the painful struggle on that night of mental and emotional torment.

In spite of our desire to give up, we, too, can find strength by holding on to God and His promises. God knows that under pressure we are weak and afraid, but He rewards our perseverance. As a Christian, we can find strength by remembering Philippians 4:13, which says we can “do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 32:26

  • How do we understand the perseverance of a Christian from Jacob’s statement?

Matthew 6:11

  • Why does God encourage our asking for blessings? Even for the blessing of perseverance?

Friday: Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand God’s nature of love, but also our nature of sin, in order to overcome our crucibles. The victory takes painstaking effort on our part, made possible only by the strength God imparts to us by His grace.

We are told by Ellen White in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 248, “In order to receive God’s help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to earnest and persevering prayer and effort…and God will assist them by uniting divine power with human effort.”

The best strategies that will help us mature during our crucibles are:

  • understand the truth about God and the great controversy between Christ and Satan
  • understand the nature of sin and our free will
  • commit to God wholeheartedly and persevere to the end

With these truths in mind, we can press onward to higher ground, knowing that God is with us every step of the way.

Next Week: Indestructible Hope

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