(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)
Focus Verse: “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7
T-Talk About It
What are some things you doubt in life? Doubts come to us all the time…it’s what we do with them that can really impact our faith. The more thought and energy we give to our doubts, the less we are trusting and relying upon God. Doubt not only takes a hit on our faith, but it can also grow our fears. We are going to look at how doubt can keep us cowering in fear and hold us back from living out our God-given purpose in life. But, the Good News is that God gave us His powerful Spirit to help strengthen us in those moments of doubt.
A-Anchor To The Bible
Our focus story shows us the power doubt can have on our spiritual lives…who else better to teach us than the very men who walked the Earth with Jesus: His disciples. You see, for three years, they saw Jesus do ministry. They witnessed miracles and soaked up His teachings. Their faith grew. And then, during the most holy of weeks, Jesus was taken from them and crucified. For the first time in years, Jesus was gone…and their faith took a hit and they went into hiding.
Have you ever felt like you were all alone? Or, have you ever felt like God let you down?
Like many of us, the disciples probably had a lot of doubt filling their minds after Jesus’ death. Perhaps they didn’t understand what God was doing by allowing this pain and suffering. Perhaps they doubted God was working in this situation. Perhaps the disciples doubted what to do with their lives at this point. Perhaps they had doubted so much that when they got news that Jesus was alive, they simply didn’t believe it. Maybe they had doubted so much that these doubts grew into fear. And the more fear they had, the less faith they had…so they continued hiding in the Upper Room, fearful that they, too, would be arrested and killed. And though they may have felt like God had let them down, they were about to get a face-to-face lesson that God is always working good, even amid despair.
Have you ever felt like hiding from your fears?
It’s a good thing that Jesus doesn’t leave us hiding from our fears. In fact, Jesus was so passionate about these men overcoming their doubts and facing their fears that he literally just appeared in the Upper Room to show them that he really was alive! He showed them his hands and feet and even had them touch him, proving that he wasn’t a ghost. And the funny thing was that the disciples still doubted this was really their Jesus! So, Jesus ate some fish in front of them to show them that he really was alive. It was at this point they realized, it really was Jesus! But, Jesus wasn’t done yet…he was about to give them a permanent present that would help them overcome doubt and fear – The Holy Spirit. It is that same Holy Spirit that can help us stop doubting and start believing God and His Word. Doubting leads to fear…and fear leads to a lack of faith. Let’s be willing to take our doubts to Jesus and pray about them before they grow into fears. And if we have a fear, let’s be willing to face it with The Holy Spirit’s help. After the disciples stopped doubting and believed that Jesus really had risen from the dead, they went on to become the most effective missionaries in the world, giving their lives to tell everyone about Jesus Christ.
L-Learn God’s Word
Doubt doesn’t come from God. Fear doesn’t come from God. All doubt and fear do is hold us back in deepening our relationship with the Lord. We may not always get to see what God is doing, but He wants us to be willing to trust Him to help us face our doubts and fears so that we can live our purpose on Earth – to live out our faith and tell others about the saving power of Jesus Christ. And the benefits of surrendering our doubts and fears? We get power, love, and a sound mind. What does that mean? It means we get Holy Spirit power to fight our fears, the supernatural ability to love others, and the strength to fight any doubts that come our way, giving us a “sound mind”. The disciples accepted these gifts and changed the world…what could you do if you choose to trust God and overcome those doubts and fears with faith?
K-Keep Each Other Accountable
Here are a few ideas to keep everyone in check with this week’s TALK:
Be willing to have hard talks about doubts and fears with your kiddos – what are their doubts and fears? Hearing your kids verbalize these is a powerful motivation to start teaching them to face them with the Holy Spirit’s help. Teach them the above focus verse, as well as Deuteronomy 31:6. If they aren’t saved yet, this is the perfect time to talk about salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Pray this week’s focus verse with your kiddos. Write it on a note and put it in their lunch boxes. You can also write it on their mirrors or text it to them daily. Even better, say it to them personally every day before they leave for school.
Motivate each other to memorize our focus verse this week. Write the verse on a chalkboard and display it by the door. Have them say the verse each morning and initial they did so.