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When Your Comfort Zone Gets the Squeeze

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Text:  1 Thess. 3:1-8


        Are you content with your comfort zone?  How do you view affliction, pain, persecution and hardship?  Do you view it as an enemy to be avoided at all costs?  There are some who are even angered when they have to endure such difficulties.

        Throughout the Bible we are told there is no escape from life’s brutal blows.  We are told that sufferings are ahead for each of us.  On the road to glory there are some barriers to confront, and mountains to scale.  Whether we like it or not, the path to the crown is by the way of the cross.  Our study passage will help us to better understand our sufferings and teach us how God wants us to respond to them.  Read Text!

1.      Explain the tension between acceptance and resistance when we go through a time of struggle and pain.     Is there a good purpose in everything God allows in our life?  (If in doubt, see Rom. 8:28.)     Explain the role of hope in the midst of trials.

2.      Why is suffering inevitable?     Is all suffering a result of our own personal sin?     Are Christians exempt from suffering?  Phil. 1:29; 2 Cor. 4:8-10; 1 Pet 4:12-16

3.      Even though we want to be free from pain, will God invade our comfort zone for our good?  Explain.  Ps. 119:67,71,75; Eccl. 7:13-14     List some benefits of affliction.

4.      Let’s consider now the example of the Thessalonicans.  Paul experienced opposition when he ministered among them.  And when he was torn away from them, suffering came upon these new believers.  Knowing their trials, why did Paul send Timothy to them?     Define strengthen.     ___________________________
____________________________________    Define encouragement.  ____________________________
____________________________________    Specifically, what was Timothy to encourage and strengthen?  Why?

5.      Why was Paul so concerned that they not fall in their suffering?    
Comment:  Paul’s example is for all of us.  We need to be concerned when a brother or sister is suffering, come alongside and shore them up.  1 Pet. 5:8-10

6.      From verse 3, what is to be our stance in the midst of suffering?     Evidently Paul believed that affliction need not unsettle God’s people.  Why could he maintain this belief?  Ja. 1:2-4
Comment:  We don’t need to be surprised when they come; we have been forewarned, thus we can prepare to stand firm through them.

7.      List some responses to affliction that can be damaging to our Christian walk. 

8.      According to verse 6, did the Thessalonicans harbor resentment towards Paul and Timothy for their trials?  According to verse 7, how important is the example of other Christians going through a trial triumphantly?


        There are two valuable things to take home with us from this passage:

1.      Having our comfort zone invaded is essential...not unfair.

2.      Suffering hardship as soldiers in battle is expected...not unusual.  We need to continually keep before us the fact that there is a war going on, and we’re right in the middle of it.  Hold fast to the truth and consider our sufferings to be relatively unimportant in comparison to our promoting God’s character.

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