Many students in your youth ministry look at God’s commands as just following a list of rules. Things to do and not to do.
But God’s way of doing life is much bigger and broader than that.
I’m not sure about you, but I have some serious issues when it comes to following “the rules”. I know, I am a work in progress.
For example, a year or so ago I took my 2 boys and some of their friends to a water park.
I’m not like a lot of parents when it comes to water parks, who mostly sit and lay down on the lawn chairs near the wave pool while their kids go on all the waterslides. I love waterslides, except for the really tall one that drops you straight down while you’re standing up. Oh my, pretty scary!
So, all day I was hanging with the boys, going on one waterslide after another. We even went in the wave pool and swam around trying to tag each other. It was fun.. it was also exhausting. Especially for an old bald guy like me. Ok I’m only 42, but to my 16 & 14 year old… I’m an old man.
After 4 or 5 hours I was getting tired, and they were ready to move on to the amusement park next door. Because when you purchase your ticket to the water park, you also get a ticket to the amusement park.
Well, I don’t like amusement parks, mostly because I’m a sissy when it comes to roller coasters or anything that spins continuously. Afterwards, I feel like I’m going to puke.
So, while they went on all the rides I found a nice patch of grass and laid down on it. There were signs all around that said “keep off grass”. That made no sense to me. Why would they make that stupid rule? Ridiculous!
After a few minutes a staff member came up to me and said I had to get off the grass. Grrrrr. Man, that’s a stupid rule. Grrrrr! I was hot and tired. The grass was soft, comfortable, and had a lot of shade.
Yeah, there were benches throughout the park, but they had no shade and weren’t comfortable at all.
Soooo… I just threw my snow cone at the guy and told him to get a life!
Ha ha… no, I didn’t do that. I wanted to, but he was just doing his job. I got off the grass.
I followed the rule from that point on, but I wasn’t happy about it.
A lot of students might look at God’s way of doing life this way. But it’s so not the same!
God gives us his rules because they’re actually the best way for us to live. Why? Because he loves us. We follow his ways out of love for him.
We obey God because we love him. He gives us the right way to live because he loves us. Obedience is all about love.
Use this lesson to drive home that point to your youth group.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON OBEDIENCE
Written by: Tiffany Hollums
Bible: 2 John 1:6
Bottom line: Obedience is all about walking in love.
- White board or large paper to write on for group discussion
- Red marker
- Canned dog food
- Paper plates
- Paper towels
OPENING GAME: PUPPY COMMANDS
Divide your youth group into as many teams of four as you can create.
Give each team a few cans of dog food and paper plates.
Have lots of napkins ready to clean their hands and maybe some bags for those with weak stomachs.
Explain: Today, we are going to play a game that will give each of you the AMAZING opportunity to sculpt something made from dog food.
Choose one person from your team to come and get a clue from me.
Then, that person will run back to the team and sculpt the clue using the dog food on the paper plate.
They can’t use any words or actions – only sculpt the clue.
Each word will have to do with something that is important for dogs to learn: obedience.
CLUES: Heel, Stop, Sit, Stay, Food
Share a story about trying to train a pet to be obedient – the funnier the better!
You can also go to http://www.dogshaming.com/ to find all kinds of hilarious pictures of dogs who really need more training.
Say: Have you ever tried to train a puppy?
Obedience is sometimes a process.
A very long, hard, and frustrating process depending on the dog, right?
You can tell a dog not to chew up your shoes, but if you’ve had a new puppy, you know that if you leave those new Jordans out where they can get them… you’re going to be buying new shoes!
Or think about a toddler.
What word do parents have to constantly say to a toddler?
No, you cannot eat crayons.
No, please don’t write on the walls with crayons.
No, do not run in the street.
And even though it is pretty cool to watch toddlers learn, it can also be a very slow process of helping them know what is right and wrong; safe and unsafe.
Okay, I have a tough question: What does obedience look like as a Christian?
Write down their answers on the board.
So, let’s hear the answer to that question in the Bible.
Ask a student to read 2 John 1:6
Grab a red marker and draw a huge heart over all the answers and say:
We are called to obey God’s commands and the command is to LOVE.
On a scale of 1-10 how surprised are you by this answer?
See, God knows a secret here: When you love God, you follow His commands.
Just think about it by looking at the 10 Commandments that God gave to Moses and the Israelites.
Let’s list the 10 Commandments.
Write down the commands on another board, or piece of paper, as the youth name them.
Here’s the quick list:
Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments
- Do not have any other god before God.
- Do not make yourself an idol.
- Do not take the Lord’s name in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
- Honor your mother and father.
- Do not murder.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not testify or fear false witness against your neighbor.
- Do not covet.
Now, look at the first 5 commandments.
The theme of these commandments is: Love God.
Right? If you love God, then you won’t take God’s name in vain or make idols to worship instead of God.
You would keep the Sabbath holy…why? Because of your love for God.
Now, look at the last five: How could you sum those up by thinking of ‘love’?
Love others, or as Jesus put it: Love your neighbor.
If you truly love others, you won’t lie to them, steal from them, want what they have whether it’s their stuff or their spouse!
It sounds simple, yet, it’s easy to miss that all God really wants from us is to love God and love others.
THAT is obedience!
When love decides what you do or don’t do, doesn’t it make sense that you would naturally do things that please God?
The verse says to ‘walk in love’, which makes you think about learning to walk.
Do any of you remember when you were learning how to walk?
Probably not, but have you ever watched a baby trying to learn to crawl, then stand up, and then walk?
It’s a slow process, but once they figure it out, that baby is running!
And it is almost impossible to remember what it was like when you couldn’t walk or run, right?
It seems natural once you learn how.
That’s how it is with obedience.
It’s step by step.
Decision by decision.
You first have to crawl and then take steps before you can really learn to walk in love.
Maybe it begins with understanding how to love God.
Or maybe it means that you leave today really committing to honor your parents.
Maybe it means that you decide to try to take those first baby steps towards always telling the truth.
You quit wondering about the ‘white lies’ and commit to saying the truth, even if it is hard.
See, God doesn’t give us commands to be just like a list of do’s and don’ts.
These guidelines will help us live and walk in love.
They will help you to be content and not always look to others to see what they have.
And when you walk in love, you take each step knowing that you love because you are deeply loved.
And that when you make mistakes, which we all will make, even in learning to be obedient, Jesus is patient with us.
He loves us.
The more that you walk with God and love God and love others, the more natural that obedience becomes until one day you realize that you are walking and it seems natural.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- How are you doing on loving God?
- How are you doing on loving others?
- Which command do you struggle with the most in your every day life?
- How are you challenged to ‘walk in love’ this week?
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