Recap: Wise Choices, Session 3 - Past, Present, Future

Text: 2 Timothy 1:1-9

Principle: To walk wisely, we must learn from the past, embrace the present and lean into the future.

Introduction:

  1. Many teenagers struggle with making wise choices. We can help them by giving them some fundamental starting places to build their lives around.
  2. These fundamentals, which give us an internal compass of wisdom, are:
    • Learning from the past
    • Embracing the present
    • Leaning into the future

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-9

Background:

  • Paul first met Timothy in Acts 16:1-3.
  • We know from this passage that Timothy had a Godly heritage from his grandmother and mother.
  • Timothy joined Paul on his journeys and learned a great deal about faith.
  • Timothy was not a brave biblical hero. As a matter of fact, Paul had to encourage him to rise up and walk and not be afraid.
  • In this passage we see the importance of past, present and future in making wise choices.

Thought 1: Learn from the past (Read 1 Timothy 1:1-5)

  • Our past gives us direction for wise choices in the present and future.
  • Timothy had a Godly heritage from his grandmother and mother.
  • Paul says that Timothy’s faith reflected what he learned from his mother and grandmother. This tells us that Timothy listened to and put into practice the wisdom his mother and grandmother had gained on their journeys of faith.
  • We have to learn from the past experiences of other Christians when making wise choices. Going on the journey of faith does not mean we have to blaze a new trail; we can follow the paths set out by Godly people who came before us.
  • Learning from those who have walked before us (both what to do and what not to do) can make our path easier.
  • Obviously, not everyone has a Godly heritage from his/her family. But we all can learn from teachers, mentors and friends who can help us make the wisest possible choices.

Thought 2: Be strong in the present (Read 1 Timothy 1:6-7)

  • Paul had to encourage Timothy not to be afraid but to be strong.
    • It is not easy to make wise choices.
    • Sometimes it can be difficult and even scary to make the right decision.
    • Peer pressure is a reality that makes wise choices difficult. But we are told throughout the Bible not to be afraid.
    • The Bible says 366 times a variation of “Fear not.”
    • We all need to be reminded over and over not to be afraid but to make wise choices and stand firm in them.
    • Timothy struggled with fear like all of us do.
    • Timothy was not with his “father” in the faith – obviously, since Paul is writing him a letter. HE is having to stand on his own.
    • God never said making wise choices would be easy. But he commands us to make them and stand firm.

Discussion Questions:

Does it make you feel better to know that there are many people in the Bible who needed to be reminded there is nothing to be afraid of when making wise choices that may seem to be extremely difficult?

  • The present affects our future.
    • We need to see the big picture. When someone can see the repercussions of their decision-making, they are more inclined to choose wisely.
    • Share a story from your own life about how you saw something happen as a direct result of a choice you made. It can be a good or bad one. Talk about how that decision impacted the big picture of your life.
    • The choices make now affect their futures. The consequences of our choices can last a lifetime.
    • Keeping a long-term view can help us make wise choices now.

Application:

What does all that have to do with making wise choices? When we remember the outcome of our story, we are more inclined not to be afraid and to make wise choices no matter how difficult they may be. When Paul encouraged Timothy to join him in suffering for Jesus Christ, he had the end in mind. Paul knew that making this wise choice would be hard but well worth it in the end. Just like Timothy, we need to be reminded that making wise choices will be worth it in the end. When we remember the outcome, we will be able to move more swiftly while making wise decisions.


Thought 3: Lean into the future looking through the lens of wisdom (Read 1 Timothy 1:8-9)

  • We must embrace whatever God is calling us to do with open arms.
  • Paul was encouraging Timothy to embrace the future with open arms knowing that this wise choice would lead to reward.
  • Many times we have the misconception that making wise choices will lead to comfort and happiness in the here and now.
  • Making a wise choice does not necessarily mean we will not pay a painful price.
  • Jesus’ wise choices did not lead to a life of complete comfort and happiness. Neither did Peter’s, Ruth’s, Moses’ or Timothy’s. But like these Biblical characters, we are to pursue God’s wisdom, not earthly comfort.
  • It may be painful to make a wise choice, or it may not. But that’s not the point. The point is to be like Christ and leave everything else to Him.
  • We must become people who seek God and His wisdom over the pleasures of the world.

Discussion Questions:

If a wise choice is difficult to make, how can something positive come of it? Does God make things too hard for us? Is He out to rob us of joy? Why/why not?

What is our reward in the end? Do we know the end of this great story? What does God say about that? 


Conclusion:

Tell your students how proud you are that they are willing to talk about things that can be difficult to grasp. Share with them that God is not out to make them miserable.  As a matter of fact, He wants them to experience real life. But this process can be tough sometimes because this world operates far away from His Godly wisdom. So when we seek Him and ask Him to help us make wise choices, the world will fight against us. We must be strong and take courage, because the One we follow has overcome the world.

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