Spiritual Growth Agendas
Godliness in the Middle of Change
Change happens all the time, but when it does, we must react in a godly way.
Rank the Change
You’ll need to print off copies of this worksheet for each student you have in your group. In addition to the papers, you’ll need pens or pencils for them to write with, as well. When everyone has a sheet and writing device, say:
Take a look at your sheet of paper. It’s entitled Rank the Change, and it lists various changes that most of us will go through in life. Some are big changes and some are quite insignificant. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to actually rank these changes from easiest to hardest. As you look over the sheet of paper, I want you to write ONE next to the change that you think is the smallest, and TEN beside the change you think is the most significant. Then fill in the other changes with numbers TWO through NINE. That way, the smallest change will be ONE and the greatest change will be TEN. Some of them you might not even have faced at this point in your life. You’ll see that some of these changes are mostly good, and some of these changes are bad. But your task is to rank how IMPACTING they are on us, not whether they are good or bad. Got it? You’ve got 3 minutes to complete this sheet. Go.
Rank the Change
___breaking up with girlfriend/boyfriend
___growth of body
___becoming a parent
___going through a divorce
___death of a family member
___entering middle school
___moving to another town
___losing a job
You’ve probably guessed that we’re gonna talk about change. We all face various changes in life, some good and some bad. Some are easy to handle and some are difficult to embrace. Some of the changes are brought on by ourselves, some by others, and some by life in general. Though every change demands a different reaction, the one thing we must do in the midst of every change is respond in a godly manner. Let’s spend some time talking about that in our small groups, and then we’ll reconvene for a final word.
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.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and how many of the changes from the sheet (Rank the Change) we’ve already experienced.
- ASK A FEW: Was it easy or hard for you to rank the life changes on the sheet of paper? Why?
- ASK A FEW: What are some other major changes in life that weren’t on the sheet of paper?
- ASK A FEW: What changes have occurred in your life lately?
- ASK A FEW: How have you handled those changes?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think God has been pleased with the way you’ve handled the changes? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
ASK SOMEONE: What were some of the changes that Daniel and his friends underwent, according to this passage? (Leaders – Daniel changed geographical settings, language, and laws. He even had his named changed. He was in a different religious climate, and was encouraged to change the food he ate.)
ASK SOMEONE: Would you say these were good changes or bad? Why?
ASK A FEW: What remained consistent in Daniel’s life even though all these changes were happening around him? (Leaders – God’s law and love for Daniel remained consistent. So did Daniel’s faithfulness to God as we’ll see in the next question. If need be, you can remind them of the truth that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Hebrews 13:8.)
ASK A FEW: How did Daniel handle the changes? (Leaders – It will probably not be immediately obvious to your students, but the food that the boys were made to eat was not lawful for them. It had been sacrificed to idols, or was unclean to begin with, or both. Thus, Daniel and the others refused to eat it. They refused to disobey God’s law for them.)
ASK SOMEONE: How did God reward Daniel’s faithfulness?
ASK A FEW: Do you think God ever gives us permission to handle change poorly or sinfully? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: What evidence do you have in your life that God has remained consistent for you, even though you face change?
ASK A FEW: What change is God expecting you to embrace in a godly manner?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: How will you handle the changes you’ll face this week?
Daniel 1 (NIV)
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia[a] and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
During our time together, we talked about the huge impact that change can have on us. Some of those changes are good and lead to our goodness, while some of the changes are bad and challenge our commitment to God.
We also saw from the Bible that we are not alone in facing change. Daniel was a young person just like you who faced incredible changes! Almost everything about his life changed including his name! But he handled it all with a godliness that challenges us even to this day.
Daniel didn’t try to fight back, he just tried to honor God. That’s what he thought was most important in his life. He recognized that God nor His law had changed, and he was still obligated to be obedient to God. So he was.
The same is true in our lives. God is the same today as He was in Daniel’s life. He loves us and has commands for us to obey. We never get God’s permission to break any of his laws for our lives. So, we should remember that each and every time we are faced with a change, especially a change that threatens our commitment to God.
As we wrap up, let’s spend some time praying for each other. You know what’s going on in each others’ lives, so I’m gonna ask you to pray for one another. If you could, get into groups of 3 of 4 right now, and let’s pray for the person on our right. That way, everyone gets a chance to pray, and everyone gets prayed for.
After we’re done, if you want to talk to an adult leader, please hang around and grab one of us. We’d love to help you face the changes in your life.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
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