Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza
Struggling With All Energy
Memory Text: “To this end I strenuously contend, struggling with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:29, NIV).
The Week at a Glance: What is the role of our wills, and willpower, in the battle with self and sin? How can we avoid the mistake of letting our feelings rule the decisions we make? Why must we persevere and not give up when in the crucible?
Am an and woman sat together on a talk show. Both had expe-rienced the murder of a child. The woman’s son had been murdered 20 years before, and her anger and bitterness were as great as ever. The man was totally different. His daughter had been murdered by terrorists a few years earlier. He spoke about forgiveness toward the killers and about how God had transformed his hurt. However terrible the pain, this man had become an illustration of how God can bring healing to the darkest moments of our lives.
How can two people respond so differently? How does spiritual change occur in the life of a Christian, enabling that individual to mature through life’s crucibles rather than being completely overwhelmed by them?
SABBATH: Not everyone hurts the same way? A man & a woman on a talk show all had a child murdered. The woman’s son was murdered 20 years ago & the daughter of the man was murdered by terrorists a few years earlier. The woman was bitter & angry while the man spoke of forgiveness & how God healed him from hurt. The same pain but different reactions. How? God can help us mature in life’s crucibles.
SUNDAY: Every man that comes to Christ will find that Christ is able to save him. But why do our lives remain the same even when we’ve prayed to God to transform us? A reason is that although God’s Spirit has unlimited power to transform us, we can restrict what God can do. He knocks & we’re to open. We have free will (John 16:5-15). God told Adam & Eve the truth about the “tree” but did not force them.
MONDAY: “Rome was not built in a day.” They were laying bricks every hour. Likely, your great feats in life did not happen while you idled in bed. So is our walk with Christ. To be a great disciple of Christ, you have to labor together with God (Col. 1:28, 29). We cannot build ourselves. God bestows His gift & we use it. Paul worked with God to a point of exhaustion (Deut. 4:4, Luke 13:24, 1 Cor. 9:25, Heb. 12:4).
TUESDAY: Some crucibles in life are self-inflicted. Our five senses were given by God for His glory. If left undisciplined, our feelings can lie to us (Jer. 17:9), create a false image of what’s real, & lead us to make bad choices which land us in crucibles of our own making (Gen. 3:6; 2 Sam. 11:2-4; Gal. 2:11, 12). We’re to go through life with faith & not feeling. Thus, we must give God our minds (1 Pet. 1:13).
WEDNESDAY: God desires radical disciples, radical commitment, & a radical faith (Matt. 5:29, 30). In a sin-sick world where we can easily drift away from God, we’re to take conscious steps to avoid sin. The little sins are what grow into giants & led us astray. Small steps in sin takes us far away from God. Often, we sin in our hearts first before we act. Jesus calls us to control our minds & hearts no matter the cost.
THURSDAY: Jacob is an epitome of perseverance (Gen. 32, 27, & 28). He never gave up on claiming his blessings in life amid the perils of life. He had tricked his brother & father & was on the run for his life. He was scared that he’d not gain God’s blessings even after he saw God’s glory in the form of a ladder. As he “fought” Jesus & had his hip dislocated, he chose to hang on till he was blessed (Gen. 32:26).
FRIDAY: Satan can strongly have an influence on our will because of the sin that led to the Fall. We lost our dominion to Satan & he ever since exercise control over our will. Man must see his need for help & the truth that his help only comes from God. By prayer, efforts, & a transformed mind, God will be able to change us to do His will. Only by determined efforts can we avoid sin. God won’t do what we can do.
—Ellen G. White, “The Night of Wrestling,” pp. 195–203, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “Consecration,” pp. 43–48, in Steps to Christ & Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 248.
Free Will & The Great Controversy- If God did compel us in even the slightest way, we would lose our free will, and Satan would accuse God of manipulating our minds and hearts and would thus be able to accuse God of cheating in the great controversy.
Human & Divine Effort- God will not do what man can do. He bestows us with His gift/power and we’re to use it. He knocks our hearts & we’re to open. He opens the door of repentance & we’re to enter. We need to work with God for His power to enter in and transform us. God won’t act differently today as He was with Adam & Eve. He shows us the way & we’re to walk on it.
Christian Misconception- Some people falsely believe that if you just believe, the Holy Spirit will fall upon you with amazing supernatural power and perform great miracles. But this is a dangerous half-truth. We need to work with God & not sit & wait for miracles.
Jacob’s scar- His dislocated hip to outside appearances it was a weakness, but for Jacob it was an indication of his strength.
SUNDAY- The Spirit of Truth
MONDAY- The Divine-Human Combination
TUESDAY- The Disciplined Will
WEDNESDAY- Radical Commitment
THURSDAY- The Need to Persevere
📌 To what extent do you think that we actually recognize that our wills were “at the Fall given into the control of Satan”? How, by focusing on the character of Jesus, can we better understand just how fallen we are and how great God’s grace is toward us?
📌 Read the story of Jesus in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36–42). What were Jesus’ own feelings and desires, as opposed to God’s will? What can we learn from this example?
📌 As a class, talk about the distinct things in your own culture that can work to break down our defenses and leave us more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. What can we do to help other church members be aware of these dangers, as well as help those who feel the need for help?
📌 Do you know someone in your church who hasn’t been there for quite a long time, who might be getting ready to give up or already has given up? What can you do as a group to encourage this person, to help him or her not turn away from Jesus? What practical things can you do to help?