1985 Sunbow Productions,(now Rhino Home Video publishes)
We must persevere in our faith, even when our feelings don’t seem to be there.
Video clip – G.I.Joe
How many times has your group seen a G.I. Joe clip. Well . . . nothing like changing things up just a little bit. This is an episode about a G.I. Joe named Steeler who, after a close-call with death, now believes that neither side will ever win the fight between Joe and Cobra. He considers resigning from the team. To him, it might not matter who wins in the end, since the world will still go on. However, like in all spectacular G.I. Joe
episodes, Steeler realizes how important his job is, when the Joes are sucked into another dimension, where G.I. Joe has actually been defeated by Cobra. And the best part of this episode is that it’s so dramatic, it’s a two-parter. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Clip: What’s the point of fighting?
This clip is in the middle of a chapter. It’s on Disc 2 of the Season 1, Part 2 G.I. Joe
DVD set. CLICK HERE FOR THE NETFLIX LINK
The episode itself is called “Worlds Without End, Part 1.”
The clip itself is from 4:37 to 6:17, when the conversation is interrupted by the G.I. Joe in the cockpit. In this clip, Steeler is in the middle of a battle against Zartan and the other Cobras. Zartan shoots a few missiles at Steeler and Steeler barely escapes. Whew!
But in the dialogue that follows, we see that it’s really shaken Steeler up, and now his feelings are telling him that there isn’t any point to fighting anymore.
G.I.JOE 1: I don’t get it, Airtight, how come headquarters thinks Cobra will try to get these transmuter blueprints again?
STEELER: Who cares?
G.I.JOE 2: What’s eatin’ you?
STEELER: Aaah, I’m quitting G.I.Joe.
G.I.JOE 2: Hey, look, you had a close shave. You’re spooked is all. You’ll get over it.
STEELER: Aaah, I’ve had it. Nothing ever changes. Cobra hits us, we hit them, over and over.
G.I.JOE 3: Sometimes it does seem like there’s nary an end in sight.
STEELER: So what’s the point? The battle’s never gonna be won by either side. Why bother fightin’ it?
G.I.JOE 3: Whoa, fella now, I never said—
G.I.JOE 4 (interrupting the conversation): Ready you guys? We’re nearing the rendezvous point with Flint and Lady Jay.
(scene ends unconcluded)
It’s funny what our feelings can do to us at certain points in our lives. Our feelings come and go, and it’s sometimes amazing how they can really affect our actions and even our beliefs. In fact, the impact that feelings can have on people’s beliefs has been a discussion for generations. Let’s talk about just this. Let’s see if God’s Word can actually help us when our walk just doesn’t seem like it’s all that it’s cut out to be.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever been in Steeler’s position, where it just feels like there’s no point? Would anyone like to share a time when it just didn’t feel like there was any point?
- ASK A FEW: When you’re in these situations, how do you react?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever experienced this in your relationship with God?
- ASK A FEW: Describe what it’s like when you have a dark spot in your walk.
Have you ever wondered what exactly is happening spiritually when you are caught in this kind of “funk”? Perhaps there is more to it than we know. Perhaps it is a place for the Lord to work in our lives, and a place for Satan to attack us. Let’s see what might be happening behind the scenes…
Feel free to change this up and make it your own. The idea was pulled from C.S.Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, chapter 8.
(Screwtape is on the phone with his nephew Wormwood. Although they are both demons, Screwtape is not dressed up as a demon might be in fantasy; he should be dressed nicely, so that the only way you could tell he is a demon is by his words. His manners should be very smooth, and he must be very confident and almost cocky about what he says. Presently he talks on the phone with another demon. This scene only features Screwtape's end of the conversation.)
Transition back to the Word and more small group questions:
SCREWTAPE: ...Right. ...Yes... Okay, I understand what you are saying, but I must tell you, I wouldn't be as excited about your little Christian buddy if I were you. I know that you think you've done a great job distracting him from his Christian walk, and I know that you think that you are the one to blame for him feeling so far away from God at the moment. But I have to tell you, from one demon to another, this is the time we have to be careful.
You tell me that this little Christian teenager has accepted Christ. He's even gotten involved at church and he has been known lately by all the demons as a teenager who prays daily. And now you're saying that he doesn't quite feel as excited about Christ, that he doesn't really feel God's presence like he did before. This is not a time for celebration. Be on guard.
The difference between us demons and this little human Christian you've got there on earth is this: we know the truth. We know about this Christ character (and we hate Him) and we know what He's trying to do with these Christians. But the Christians don't always understand. This is our advantage.
What Christ wants is for this teenager to be able to stand on his own. When a child is learning to walk, there must be a time when the father lets go and allows the baby to walk on its own. The baby will never truly be able to walk as long as it is being led by its father's hand. So in order for a baby to walk, daddy must let go of the baby's hand.
And truly this is what Christ does with Christians. Early in their walk, He has to lead them along and constantly guide each step. He has to show Himself and let them feel the joy that comes with knowing Him. But there must be a time where the Christians are allowed to--oh, I do not want to use this word--love Him on their own. He must take His hand away just enough to allow them to choose to follow Him on their own. And this is when we must be most careful!
Your job is to keep this Christian away from anything that can help him walk on his own. Make him think that Christ has not only withdrawn His hand, but has abandoned him completely. Do not allow this teenager to go to church and to meet up with his Christian friends. Do not allow this teenager to sit through a conversation about how wonderful and loving and faithful Christ is.
Your job as a demon is to make sure that this child never has the opportunity to truly stand up on his own. Make him think that standing is too difficult. Tell him that praying is useless, because Christ is not actually there. He may actually believe you, and even if he doesn't, that's okay, because perhaps he will even find praying to be too difficult a task. Just remember that if this Christian is able to follow Christ and to obey Him and to pray faithfully even when he does not really feel like it's paying off, we have a huge problem. This Christian will walk strongly, Christ will bless him with even more faithfulness, and we will be in serious trouble. Keep this Christian out of church. Make him avoid his friends and not want to talk about it. And then we will have our victory. We may not be able to keep him out of Heaven, but we can surely make him too weak to please God.
Do you understand what I am saying? ... Excellent. Keep working hard. We must not allow this teenager to follow Christ on his own. Make him depend on his feelings and nothing else. ... Okay, same to you. ... Goodbye. (hangs up phone and exits.)
In Hebrews chapter 10, the author calls us to follow Christ no matter what. The whole passage is about persevering . . . and this verse clinches the meaning of the passage, a very direct instruction from the author of Hebrews to the followers of Christ…
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
- ASK A FEW: What is the “hope” that this passage says we profess? Do you profess it?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think that this hope is based on fact? (ans: YES.)
- ASK A FEW: If our feelings are low or high, can they cause this fact to be more true or less true?
- ASK SOMEONE: What does the author of Hebrews urge us to do when our feelings don’t seem to align with our faith?
- ASK SOMEONE: Who is it that we are supposed to be having our faith in?
- EVERYONE: Repeat this line aloud: “He who promised is faithful.” Repeat it again. Again.
ASK A FEW: If we hold this to be true, how can it help us when we don’t feel like our walk with God is going all that great?
- ASK SOMEONE: What does the author of Hebrews urge us to do in times like this?
- ASK A FEW: What are some ways we can actually do this? (Read two verses further to vs. 25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another...”
We all have times when our feelings tell us everything is great and okay, and we also go through those times when they just aren’t there to validate our faith. Our feelings will come and go. In fact, perhaps we could say that our feelings change, when God, the One whom we trust, never changes. When our feelings aren’t telling us that our faith is correct, when it feels as if our walk just isn’t working out like we thought it would, we must not
allow this to distract us. We must persevere in our faith, we must realize that we hold God to His promises, and that God will be faithful to complete them. Even when we don’t feel like it, we must persevere in our faith. We must allow the facts to dictate our feelings, not the other way around.
Sometimes this is much easier when we surround ourselves with others who are persevering toward the same goal. That’s why the Author of Hebrews told us to not give up meeting together and encouraging each other toward our goal.
Although we only looked at one or two verses today, you may want to go back and read verses 19-39. The entire section our verse came from is about persevering, even when our feelings don’t seem to agree. But whether our feelings are high and we’re feeling great, or our feelings are low and we have a hard time experiencing the promises God has for us, we must remember and hold unswervingly to the fact that “He who promised is faithful.”
Written by Matt Furby