Wrinkle-free days usually don’t create great faith because we don’t know what we actually believe until what we claim to believe is tested. Those unexpected things life throws our way can end up being pivotal circumstances in our faith journeys.

Start Talking

  • Share about a pivotal circumstance that has hurt your faith
  • Tell us about a pivotal circumstance that has grown your faith
  • Has the pain of those around you or even just those in the world ever been a barrier to you trusting God? 
  • Do you know anyone who has suffered greatly but has great faith in God? What would you say has made the difference in their faith being strong through their suffering? Has this person’s faith grown your own faith? 
  • What would you say is THE pivotal circumstance that began your relationship with God?

Read This

  • Talk about the disciples. What are some of the struggles that they encountered? What can we learn from their faith in spite of their circumstances?
  • Read James 1:2-4
    • What stands out to you?
    • Who is James?
    • Why is it important that James is the one making these statements?
    • James says that trials test our faith or our confidence in God. How has your personal faith been tested?
    • How have trials helped you understand what you actually believe?
  • Jesus orchestrated several pivotal circumstances for those around Him while He was alive. He wanted them to have a solid faith that could only be built if their faith was tested. Talk about a story in the scriptures that shows this?

What Now

  • If God uses pivotal circumstances to build your faith, what should your response be the next time life takes you by surprise? What is your go-to response? Panic? Anger? Doubt? Call a friend?
  • Tested faith is where you determine if you have real faith. Andy mentioned that the things that move our tested faith to real faith are: 
    • What we believe (do you know what Jesus promised us in the New Testament?)
    • Who we listen to (who is speaking truth to you in your trials?)
    • How we frame the trial (what good might this trial produce?)

As you think about your life, do you have a deficit in any of these three areas? What do you need to do to strengthen it?      

  • As Jesus’ death approached in John chapter 16. He left them with this thought:

“I have told you these things so that IN ME you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

How do Jesus’ words change you? How do they encourage you? How do we find faith in Jesus despite our circumstances?

Consider Praying this this week: “God help me to see as you see” because “If we can spot God in it, we are more likely to maintain faith through it”- Andy Stanley

Additional Resources

Paul’s Letters Bible Reading Plan

Book: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Book: When God Breaks Your Heart by Ed Underwood