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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today in Sunday School

Today we discussed lessons that had to do with fear, the importance of being introduced to faith as a child, and self-control as the fruit of the Spirit.  Fear while at certain levels and in reaction to real threats can be helpful.  But probably more often than not we find that fear is disruptive to optimum performance.  For example, on learning to swim children often show great fear even though the instructor is there to support and protect them.  Someone just learning to drive can have a thousand fears not felt by an experienced driver.  Another typical creator of fear is public speaking.  The speaker freezes up and can’t think straight just when he needs to do the opposite.  Yet another frequent source of fear is when we feel we will not display approved behavior—when we feel out of our element.  An example is when people unused to formal dinners find themselves at one, or vice-versa, when people used to formal affairs find themselves in a strange and freewheeling environment.  Fear is relieved by gaining experience, by assuming you are in friendly territory—not in a den of critics, by concentrating on main objectives, such as connecting with the audience in public speaking.  Our lesson pointed out that as we approach the challenges of everyday life, we can be helped by leaving our “cares and problems in Jesus’ hands” (Upper Room, 1/2/12).

The second lesson dealt with the importance of introducing children to the Christian faith.  As our teacher, Mitch, pointed out it is not unusual for young adults for a time to place some distance between themselves and the church, only to return later on.  In a way this is good, for then church attendance is clearly intentional and by active choice, not a mere matter of habit or inappropriate lack of independence.

The final lesson dealt with self-control—especially of anger.  The lesson’s scripture reading was in part Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)—But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  The essential difference between the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the automated reaction of the natural man is that the latter is tit for tat while the former is redemptive.

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