Series Introduction

The Bible teaches us that the things that come out of our mouth are a reflection of what is happening inside of us.  We might think the things that we say don’t really matter, but if we’re honest, they point to what is going on inside.

So we thought it might be a good idea to focus on a few positive four letter words, words that—if they get inside of us—could change the way we react and relate to each other, even the way we see our lives.

  • What is one change in perspective that has made a big difference in your life?


Introduction

Grit is something we often associate with tough guys: Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, UFC fighters, biker gangs, and coal miners.  But grit isn’t about external appearance or a gruff personality.

Grit is internal toughness.  It’s the thing that keeps you going that pushes through no matter the odds or the obstacles.  It’s that characteristic that drives you to break through rather than break down.

You might find grit in a tough guy, but you’ll also find it in the single mom who doesn’t give up on her kids; the son who works two jobs to support his ailing parents; the girl from the inner city who just won’t give up on her dream; the family who cares for a child with special needs; the teacher who invests blood, sweat, and tears into his most challenging students; the cancer patient who just won’t quit; and the businesswoman who sacrifices her own finances to avoid laying off her employees.

  • Who is the grittiest person you know?


Understanding

Have a volunteer read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.

Grit requires grace.

Paul, who wrote 2 Corinthians, was one of the grittiest people to have ever lived.  He was a religious leader who persecuted Christians before having a radical encounter with Jesus that caused him to spend the rest of his life travelling around setting up churches and teaching people about Jesus.

Without Paul it is unlikely that Eastside—or most churches for that matter—would exist. But travelling around planting churches and talking about Jesus wasn’t easy.  Paul was at various points during his journeys shipwrecked, imprisoned, hungry, cold, beaten, and the victim of attempted murder.  He eventually died during one of his prison stays.

All of those experiences could have been avoided with the simple decision to stop travelling, to go back home and stop telling people about Jesus, but he didn’t give up.  He wouldn’t give up.

  • If you were Paul, do you think you would have kept going or gone home?  Why?

In the midst of all of this, there was something that seemed to be a perpetual thorn in Paul’s side.  We don’t know exactly what it was.  Some people have guessed that it was an illness of some sort, possibly exceptionally poor vision.  Others have suggested that perhaps it was a person who was continually harassing Paul.  Still others have wondered if maybe it was a sin that Paul just couldn’t seem to get past.

But whatever it was, God’s message to Paul was that His grace might not deliver you from difficulty but it will get you through difficulty.  No matter what you’re going through, God’s grace is sufficient.

When you know that you are deeply loved and treasured your Creator, when you know that you have been chosen, set apart, given enormous potential, it changes everything. You may feel inadequate.  You may be suffering or be going through hell, but the fact that you are much loved, a treasured child of the Most High God, will get you through.  If God’s grace was sufficient for Paul, it’s most certainly sufficient for us.

  • Have you ever had a problem or a situation that you felt like you just couldn’t beat?  What happened? How did you get through it?

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 1:18-21.

Grit requires reliance.

Most of us rely on our own power.  We want to be self-sufficient.  It’s the American way.  We think, “I can make it.  I don’t need anyone or anything.”  We hate to ask for help. We put people into two categories: those who need help and those who offer help.  Those who need help are the takers.  Those who offer help are the givers.

And if we’re honest, we often secretly (or not so secretly) judge the takers—most certainly other people, not ourselves—and glorify the givers.

But the truth is, as much as we might like to think we’re self-sufficient, we’re not.  We’re all takers on some level.  We all need help.

And if we’ll rely on God’s power—that power that opened a tomb covered by a boulder and guarded by soldiers, that power that raised the resident of that tomb back to life—then we will be able to do great things.

Of course, God doesn’t give us his power so that we can do great things for ourselves, so that we can become rich and famous, but rather so that we can love and serve others.

  • Why do you think it’s so difficult to ask for help and rely on anyone but yourself?

  • What is something you would like to accomplish that would serve others?

Have a volunteer read Philippians 4:10-13.

You’ve probably heard at lest part of this passage before, perhaps in the context of being able to hit a home run or close a business deal, but that’s not what it means.  Because let’s be honest, no matter how much we pray, most of us will never play in the NBA.

Paul wrote that verse while he was being held against his will.  Paul didn’t mean that he could win a gold medal in the ancient Olympics.  He meant that he could handle the shipwrecks and the hunger and the prison stays because he relied on God’s strength.

  • Where do you need to rely on God’s strength in your life currently? How can this group help you do that?