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The Alternative to the Struggle


To help us realize that Jesus offers an alternative to the struggles of life that make us weary and heavily burdened.

Scripture Basis & Reference:

Genesis 1-3, Eph 6:11, Luke 16 and Matt 6:25-33

Copy of the Video "Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure"

Inclusion Activity:

Each of us face things that are difficult in our lives - in effect we struggle. Many of us struggle financially, others struggle in relationships, others against illness, disease, drug addiction, depression, low self esteem, and the list goes on.

…. Have the class list some of their struggles or those they have observed in others. Discuss why they are difficult

The BackDoor: (Video)

Lets see what Gods says about our struggles and why we have them. In order to do this we must first learn about time travel. Time travel you say ? Yes, do you remember the movie "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure". In it two rather unorthodox students decide that in order to learn about history, they need to travel back in time and learn about it from the people who lived back then. Lets watch a little.

.. show segment from the video Bill and Ted from the beginning where they take their first ride back in time. (5 min)

Now we can learn something from Bill & Ted here. In order to understand why something exists today, it is helpful to go back and see how things happened in the beginning. Now we are quite fortunate here since we actually have a time machine. You see while TV show writers have to imagine the way things were long ago, God actually knows .. he was there and his Word, the Bible is a real record of what happened. It is our time machine. So Lets take a trip back in time and see how the struggle began

Students Teach Students:

Struggle Verse
The changed state of the woman including multiplied pain in conception, sorrow in motherhood; and the headship of the man 3:16
The light work of Eden (Gen 2:15) being changed to burdensome labor because of the earth's being cursed 3:18-19
The inevitable sorrow of life 3:17
The tragic certainty of physical death to Adam and all his descendants (also in Rom 5:12 - 21). 3:19

Key Message :Today the world is a dark place and the struggle continues in the same way. You see struggles of this world are really struggles against Satan and his forces, (see also Eph 6:11) struggles against our sinful nature (see also Heb 12:4) and struggles against the curse. (Gen 3) We most often think of difficulty entering our lives only from our own sin, yet we also experience all sorts of difficulty in this world due to the sinfulness of others and mankind in general. So, what should we do? What is the alternative to struggling? Is there an alternative way to make it through the struggle. Yes there is! You see one day this guy names Jesus shows up and says ..

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28 (NIV)

Now most of us know this verse, some by heart, but the next two verses that follow are often omitted, they say;

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." . Matt 11:29-30 (NIV)

Now why would Jesus talk about giving the weary "his yoke". A yoke is a device that is placed on the shoulders of an Ox to pull the plow. It is a reference to work. The strangest part of this verse is that Jesus here equates rest and his work. Now what is up with that! Well there is another person Jesus told us about in scripture that can help us understand. Lets turn to Luke 16.

Read Luke 16:1-9

Now this is another story that I never understood, I could never figure out why Jesus commends this obviously dishonest manager for cheating him by helping his debtors off cheap. This always frustrated me until one day I realized that Luke 16 follows Luke 15. Luke 15 contains 3 parables on forgiveness and the value of the lost. The last is the story of the prodigal son. In it when the sinful son returns home the father actually restores the prodigal son instead of making him live with the results of his sin.

Key Message : Once you read the two stories back to back, you can see that the reason the dishonest manager was commended is that the master really wanted his debtors to be forgiven and his manager realized this and set about helping the process. You see this is the yoke Jesus spoke of. Matt 6:31-33 tells us point blank ..

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:31-33 (NIV)

Instead of struggling to get the basic needs of your life, instead seek first the kingdom of God, make the number one thing in your life building up the Body of Christ (i.e. bringing people to Christ and/or supporting them) Then watch God provide just enough for all the other aspects of you life. In doing this you will find the rest and peace spoken of in Matt 11:28 because you will have exchanged the struggle against the curse for the struggle against sin. Not just in your own life but in the lives of others. For the struggle against sin is Jesus yoke. It is however important to note that the struggle against sin is not always easy. Satan does attack us when we begin to learn this lesson and we must work to not give him a foothold. Furthermore, not all difficulties in life are related to the curse. Some are actually used by God to help us learn reliance on him and build up our faith.

But if you are struggling against the troubles of this world consider the alternative. Begin by starting to do things according Gods ways. Focus your efforts on eliminating sin in your life. And begin taking the message of Jesus and his forgiveness to others. Help them to be forgiven and watch God take care of your needs while you build eternal rewards

Closing :

Give a Personal Testimony of where you have seen the struggles of life (darkness) lifted when the message of forgiveness in Christ (light) was delivered or perhaps where you have seen God provide for you as you sought first his kingdom.

Note to the teacher :
Follow up in another session with a lesson focused on the other types of difficulty in a Christians life as described in the matrix on the next page. Also the lessons These Inward Trials & The Cost of Following Jesus discuss dealing with difficulty . It is important that a student not go way with the concept that following Jesus will eliminate all problems in his life. Instead help them learn what types of difficulty we can avoid and what types are for our benefit.

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When "Difficulty" Happens, What Kind is it?

The Curse
It is From
Gen 3
The Lord

1 Cor 11:32
The World

1 Peter 5:8-9
It's the Result of
Original Sin (Adams)
Gen 3
Your Sin

Following God

2 Tim 3:12 ,

2 Cor 4:11

John 15:18-20
Pride or Exposure

Prov 16:18
How you Know
You just seem to be always over your head in the struggle of life
The difficulty fits your crime
It Proves your Faith

1 Peter 1:6-7
It leads you astray
Right Response
Seek First the Kingdom of God

Matt 6:33

Matt 11:28-29

Luke 16:1-8
Repent - Agree with God and turn away from the sin

2 Tim 2:19

Rev 3:19
Persevere (hang in there)

Rev 8:10, 2 Cor 4:8-16

Rom 5:3-5

I Cor 10:13

James 4:7
Wrong Response
Run harder after things - work on Sunday - keep back your tithe, etc.
Ignore the correction

Job 5:17-18
Give up

1 Thess 3:3
Give in
God is Saying
my yoke is easy and my burden light

Matt 11:28-29
You are my Children

Heb 12:5-8
I am sufficient

Rom 8:28-30
You are weak

Heb 4:15-16

Matt 26:41
Ultimate Purpose
Build up the body of Christ and rewards in heaven

Eph 4:11, I Cor 3

Heb 12:9-11

2 Cor 4:17-18

1 Peter 1:6-7
Sin or Victory ?

1 Tim 6:9 or

Eph 6:10-13