Session 8: It's a Wrap (Discussion Guide)


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Final session in Myth of Happiness study.

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Session 8: It's a Wrap (Discussion Guide)

  1. 1. Living Joy Session 8 <br />Ch. 11 <br />1. Read James 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:6. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was a popular song from the 90s. Is James 1:2 merely a Christianized version of the same sentiment? Why or why not? <br />2. How do we avoid James 1:2 becoming an act of will power? <br />I read a best-selling Bible study that concluded, based on James 1:2, that the appropriate response for a believer when trials come is to: <br /><ul><li>Immediately give thanks to God.
  2. 2. Take on a joyful attitude</li></ul>Philips paraphrase of NT: “Don’t resent trials as intruders, but welcome them as friends.” <br />The Message: “Consider it a sheer gift”. <br /><ul><li>Welcome as friends?
  3. 3. Treat as a birthday gift?
  4. 4. When my friend gets laid off, is he supposed to “immediately give thanks to God?
  5. 5. Is my cousin supposed to welcome his cancer and painful treatments as friends?
  6. 6. Is my neighbor called to instantly “take on a joyful attitude” when his wife of 20 years suddenly runs out on him? </li></ul>No matter how resolved I am, I can’t will joy. It just doesn’t work that way. <br />I can choose joy as I surrender my claim to myself, but I can’t will a joyful attitude. <br />3. Are James and Peter being realistic? Do you find these passages encouraging when you face trials? Why or why not?<br />4. Have you or Christians you’ve known become embittered through hardship? <br />5. Read Hab. 3:17-19. How can grief and joy coexist? Explain. <br />Let’s get back to James 1:2. <br />“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” <br />When we experience hardship and trials as are seeking the Lord, we will end up reaching the end of ourselves and then be able to surrender everything into the arms of Christ. <br />Seen in this light, joy in times of hardship starts to make sense. <br /><ul><li>Trials bring us to the point of surrender.
  7. 7. Surrender is the key to opening the floodgates of joy in our lives. </li></ul>Therefore, while happiness and sorrow are mutually exclusive, joy and grief actually walk hand in hand. <br />Joy resides deep inside of a surrendered heart and stays burrowed there, even when the flood waters of emotional strife sweep through. <br />Joy doesn’t flee pain, but mixes freely with it. <br />But not stopping there, joy also provides solid footing for us to stand on as emotions rise and fall like roaring waves. <br />Over time, as the emotional waters begin to subside, the joy that was constant throughout starts to become visible once again. <br />In the end: James 1:2 is not an ideal to strive for. But simply a description of what life is like when you walk with Jesus Christ during the worst of days. <br />Ch. 12 <br />1. Read Matt. 5:3-10. What does the word “blessed” mean? Could it be translated as “happy”? <br />If you want to experience my joy in all its fullness, here’s how…<br />Read p. 160-top of 161<br />2. How do the Beatitudes convey the interwoven relationship between joy and surrender? <br />read from page 162. <br />3. What is the underlying worldview of “living strong”? Is this way of life compatible with Christianity? <br />Manifesto - “It’s your life. You will have it your way.” <br />Believer - “It’s God’s life. He will have it his way.”<br />“Living strong” is all about making the most of every moment we have on earth. <br />“Living joy” stands in contrast. We live for eternity, not for the here and now. <br />But when we live for eternity, <br /><ul><li>we don’t just spend our lives behind locked doors waiting for heaven.
  8. 8. Instead, something amazing happens: the here and now is transformed into something far more meaningful. </li></ul>4. Throughout this study, we’ve been talking about the shortcomings of happiness. How are believers to approach happiness? Should we avoid or embrace it? <br />To the disciple, everything we experience in the present has a footing in eternity. <br /><ul><li>The good and the bad.
  9. 9. The trials and the triumphs
  10. 10. The sad and the glad. </li></ul>Trials are not the only experiences engineered and used by God, but happy ones are too. <br />Happiness is seen as a gift to delight in when it comes, but not depend upon. <br />Joy serves as the constant presence of God flowing through us through good times and bad .<br />5. Are there any thing that you will take away from this study to enable you to live out joy consistently in your walk? <br />