Illusions – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Every human being is a part of a spiritual war, in which they are both the battleground and the prize. When someone trusts Christ, they have the power to flee temptations and see through Satan’s illusions.

Discussion Starter:
Do you remember the 2015 viral photo of the dress? Is it blue and black, or white and gold? Spoiler alert: the correct answer is blue and black. If you saw the dress as white and gold, how does it make you feel to realize that what you perceived was an incorrect illusion?

This week, Pastor Zac mentioned some of the tricks Satan uses, like distracting us from God with either pleasure or busyness. New believers who have just switched sides of the spiritual war need to understand that there are two distinct ways that we resist Satan, according to the Bible, which will be uncovered in this discussion. Can you think of a way that you’ve tried to resist sin and Satan in your own life? Don’t focus on what you were trying to resist, but how you were trying to resist it. If you can, write down your way of resisting on a small piece of paper for later.

Encounter God

A note to leaders: Please review the wealth of information in the Leader’s Notes at the bottom of the discussion guide.

Primary Scriptures:  1 Peter 1:8, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, 1 Timothy 6:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22

Discussion Questions:

  1. The Bible says that Satan goes about “as a roaring lion.” Compare 1 Peter 5:8 to Revelation 5:5. Can you see how Satan’s actions show his lies and illusions at work?
  2. If someone were to come to you and say, “I don’t think God loves me or anyone,” how would you respond?
  3. If someone were to come to you with their lust and say, “I really want to commit adultery,” how would you respond?
  4. When you look at the scriptures above, do you see two basic ways to respond to the temptations and lies of Satan?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read James 5:13-20 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.

Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.

Getting to know you: Facts and reasoning destroy Satan’s lies, because they cannot withstand much examination. Satan never has an argument—just fancy presentation. Lusts, however, cannot be reasoned with. You simply have to decide that you want something else more (for instance, God). In the Introduction, what were you resisting? A lust, or an ‘evil imagination’? And, importantly…how did you handle it? Did you give a counter-argument, or flee? Or did you try to do something else?

Getting to know them: In the interest of being ‘raw and real,’ share how you resisted with your group. And (buckle up!) share how that approach has worked out since then. Did that method of handling the problem lead to sliding back into that same spiritual problem, or did you experience victory?

Getting to know Him: God controls everything, including the temptations He allows us to face. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we see that God also creates “a way to escape” with every temptation. Why would God would allow us to face temptation at all? Does it have something to say about how God intends to change us?

Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Be eager to greet people who just last week began to trust Christ and be transformed by Him. They need to know we’re thrilled to have them, and that they are in good company: we all struggle with the same things, and we’re all a mess. But most importantly, we all have the same Savior, and we want to help each other.

Engaging in Community: Find ways to talk about issues that are important to your neighbors and co-workers. They are all interested in, and even passionate about, all sorts of different things. Maybe social media has created an ‘illusion’ of enmity because you disagree about politics. Tear down the illusions, and sow God’s truth in your conversations.

Engaging the World: In some countries, people (wrongly) imagine that they do good when they murder Christian missionaries. So, pray for Christ’s missionaries to be safe and not to be discouraged. Scripture is clear that our prayers matter (James 5:16).

Expand God’s Kingdom

What is the best realization you’ve had about God lately? It can be anything at all — just something that makes you say “Wow, He really is amazing.” Can you think of how to share that one thought with someone, whether a fellow believer or not? Maybe a believer could use your realization as an encouragement, or maybe God can use that thought to nudge an unbeliever who is far away from Him just a little bit closer.

Leader’s Notes

  1. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, according to Revelation. 1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan walks around “AS” a lion.  He’s no lion.  He really wants to be like God, even though he’s definitely not.  (See Isaiah 14:14 for a glimpse at Satan’s ambition in this way.)Satan will try to convince people that he is God, when he is not. And Satan will try to convince them that he is to be feared, when only God should be feared.  And as a reminder, the lion that roars is not the lion that hunts.  Roaring lions scare the prey so that they run toward the hunters.
  2. The point of this question is to show how we, as Christians, are supposed to engage with evil reasoning.  No matter what kind of evil thoughts they are, if they are making false truth claims about reality that are opposed to God’s love, then we as believers are supposed to engage those ideas with truth.  The light of truth destroys terrible reasoning.The point of this particular question is to show how all of us, as believers, can instantly see how to try to make a cogent argument for God’s love of all mankind (even if we don’t give the best explanation ever, it still makes sense coming out of our mouths).All of this is in stark contrast to Question #3.
  3. The point of this question is to show that no matter what kind of argument you present, “But I want the object of my desire” never ever goes away.  If someone likes the taste of chocolate, you cannot convince them that they shouldn’t like the taste of chocolate.  That pleasure always exists, and you cannot reason with it.The only way to ‘escape’ a lust is to flee it (like Joseph did in Genesis 39), and instead run toward something else (like 2nd Timothy says).
  4. The point of questions 2, 3, and 4 is to show how there are two kinds of spiritual problems: Evil ideas, and animal lusts.  You have to fight evil ideas with the truth of scripture.  If you leave them alone, they fester and become a real problem for everyone.And you have to just run away from the lusts. If you engage them, it causes a huge problem for everyone.When you look at your own life, you can often see what happens when you try to fight lusts, or flee from evil thoughts (rather than confront them).  These questions are supposed to help bring out the two main kinds of problems, and the two main approaches to them. And hopefully, as a group leader, you can make it clear what happens when you try a solution that doesn’t match up with its problem.

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.