Grab a snack, find a seat... you're At the Movies! Each week we'll see how God uses characters and situations in our lives to move us along on our journey, so we can discover what He has for us.
What sacrifices do you make for others in your life?
Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss and his part in a World War 2 Battle in Okinawa. While the movie is graphic, it contains a tremendous life lesson. Desmond and his brother Hal weren’t always on the same page. But just like conflict in our own lives, those moments helped develop their deepest convictions.
We can allow our darkest, most challenging moments in life to haunt us forever, or we can use them as a pivot point. Some people are forever stuck, discouraged and beaten up by a tragic moment in their lives. Others take the detours of life and use them as an opportunity to discover something new about themselves. That’s what Desmond Doss did. He discovered a new God opportunity that came out of his darkest hour.
Do challenges cause you to get stuck and discouraged, or do you see them as an opportunity to grow and move forward?
How do you form your own convictions? Is your process informed by your understanding of the Bible? If so, how do you resolve the tensions of professional responsibilities and your beliefs?
Queen Esther was faced with her pivotal moment when she found out her people, the Jews, were to be killed under the King’s orders. Challenged by her uncle Mordecai that she might have been made queen for a time like this when her people were in peril, she is faced with a decision. Esther must decide if she will intervene for her people. She could have stayed in the palace, led her privileged life and let them be killed, but she didn’t. She chose to have courage and says ultimately, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
If we’re going to accomplish great things in our life and to live the life God has called us to, there are undoubtedly going to be moments when everyone else says do the easy thing and take the easy route, moments when we are forced to decide whether we will do what God would have us do.
Share a moment in your life where everyone told you take the easy route, but you felt God was calling you to make a different choice.
Pressures from others always test our convictions at work, in school, and even in a family, but following God’s call on your life sometimes means holding on to a conviction regardless of what others are saying.
Have someone read Proverbs 29:35.
Some of us struggle more with standing firm than other people. If we have people pleasing tendencies or hate to rock the boat if can be easy to let what others think of us matter more than God. We might not even realize that is what we are doing.
To what degree do you struggle with allowing the opinions of others to have more influence on your decisions than what you know to be right? What are some ways we can combat this tendency towards people-pleasing?
God’s ways are not the world’s ways. Just because they may not make sense in the moment or aren’t always easy doesn’t mean they’re not worth doing. Convictions are things we live by regardless of the situation. A conviction is something you just hold onto even when the world is saying, “Hey, just let it go.” Desmond’s decision to join the military was going to test his convictions. Desmond faced intense ridicule, abuse, and was even being threatened with prison for his convictions. But it was time to see what he really stood for.
Like Desmond our convictions will be tested. Often, we think because God led us to do something, everything is going to go easy and smooth and all the difficulties will be removed. Rarely is that the case.
Have someone read Ephesians 6:13-14.
Maybe you’re on the verge of giving up on a dream, or maybe a conviction that you’ve been holding onto has come at a higher cost than you ever dreamed. Don’t give up! Keep standing. There are practical ways we can prepare for the battles we have or are to come. We can pray and seek God daily in prayer and through the Bible. Desmond’s faith and convictions weren’t formed in the war; those were built in his times alone with God.
For some of you, that might be a word from God for you today. Maybe you’re facing a pivotal moment, thinking of to giving up and everything is pressing against you. Let this be an encouragement to you to keep standing. Desmond decided to keep trusting God and standing firm. His road to get there was not easy. And once he arrived it was not going to be any easier, but he decided to live with conviction, to live for a greater purpose.
Don’t we all want to be unstoppable, for God to use us to make a difference? It was Desmond’s conviction that fueled him to accomplish his purpose. All of the difficulties, the problems that lead him to this moment, none of those challenges in his life were pleasant at the time. Without those life shaping challenges, he would never have reached this moment.
You don’t truly know the depth of your convictions until they’re tested. In those moments of testing you will have a choice to run or to stand firm. Life is filled with curveballs that will humble you and break you down. The reason most people never achieve their dreams is because they simply just give up. Remember, the times when it’s most difficult to persevere are the times that will ultimately lead us to fulfill God’s purpose.
When is a time recently when your convictions were tested? What happened, and what did you do?
Have someone read 1 Samuel 17:48.
Perhaps Desmond was inspired by David in the Bible? When everyone else was heading for safe ground to get away from Goliath, David ran toward the danger. Desmond, like David ran toward the battle. There are moments when we must run towards the battle. You’re never going to accomplish your purpose if you choose to run away. Fight for your marriage. Fight for your kids. Fight for your health. Stand for your purpose, and don’t ever give up. You’re not alone. God will provide strength when we need it the most.
Have someone read Galatians 5:22-24.
Desmond was ridiculed, attacked and laughed at, yet he held firm to his beliefs and didn’t attack back. That is so hard, especially in a social media world where there are no holds barred. In Galatians Paul talks about living out the fruit of the spirit. It stands in opposition to what the world tells us. There is that tension we wrestle with between knowing what to fight for and what to let go of, trusting God is in control. As we mature, grow in our faith, and seek God’s word the Spirit of God will guide us.
What battles are you facing currently? Which ones do you need to fight, and which ones can you let go of?
Desmond Doss arguably had the greatest impact on the Battle of Okinawa and he never carried a rifle or fired a single shot. He was able to accomplish that not by asking, “Lord, why me?” but instead to say, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Instead of making it about him, he chose to focus on serving God and helping others.
When we live our lives fueled by purpose and committed to our convictions, not only will it benefit us, but those around us will be impacted as well.
Have someone read 2 Corinthians 4:16-17.
What would happen to your life if instead of running from your problems, you chose to stand with faith and committed to trusting God to handle the results and the outcome? Perhaps God would take your present difficulties and the troubles that are around you right now and he would produce something. Perhaps He would produce in you a glory that would outweigh them all.
Break into small groups and spend time in prayer asking God to meet you in areas where your convictions need to be strengthened. Ask Him to help you stand firm and fight in areas you are battling.