When asked, most people say that the thing they want more than anything else is happiness. Happiness is based on good happenings. As a result, it is as fleeting and unpredictable as the circumstances of our lives. However, happiness, as good as it is, is actually a counterfeit for the supernatural characteristic of joy. Joy is an inner predisposition towards gladness and hope which is rooted in God’s character and promises, independent of circumstances and expressed in our lives. It is grown in the garden of waiting.
- Are you currently waiting for something in your life? What is it like for you to wait? What is difficult about it for you? Would you call the experience of waiting a wilderness or a garden?
- Ecclesiastes 2:26 (see link above) says that joy comes from God and is given to the one who pleases him. What does the Bible reveal as the one requirement for pleasing God? (see link for Hebrews 11:6 above)
- Have you ever tried to “help God out” when you have waited for him to act and didn’t want to wait any longer? (Read Genesis 16 for a good account of “helping God” in the season of the wait) How did that work out for you? In what ways was that walking by sight and not walking by faith? (see II Corinthians 5:7)
- In what ways did Jesus have to wait before he saw the fulfillment of God’s promises and plans for the salvation of the world?
- Read Hebrews 12:2. What was the fruit of Jesus enduring the cross and despising the shame of crucifixion? What was the joy set before him?
- Can you believe that God is giving you his best, even in the often difficult and painful seasons of waiting in your life?
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The outline and application questions are intended for your further reflection and action upon the weekend message. They are also designed to facilitate discussion and accountability within your LifeGroup.