Discipleship for Teachers

Text: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; James 1:2-4


  • What are possible reactions to a period of suffering? How can we gain from affliction?
  • What attitude toward suffering is displayed in Romans 8:18? How will having this attitude help us endure?
  • What are some of the thoughts that Satan will bring in the midst of affliction? How can we withstand those thoughts?
  • Name some of the types of affliction we may face.
  • Why does God allow us to go through affliction?

                To prove God’s power to deliver (Psalm 34:19)

               To bring us back from wandering (Psalm 119:67)

                To teach us God’s Word (Psalm 119:71

                To allow us to experience God’s comfort (Psalm 119:75,76

                To prove our position as sons of God (Proverbs 3:11,12)

                To help us become more aware of His presence (Isaiah 43:2)

                For our refinement (Isaiah 48:10)

                To help us bear more fruit in our Christian lives (John 15:2)

                To give us the opportunity to be glorified with Christ (Romans 8:17)

                To help us learn how to comfort others who suffer (2 Corinthians 1:4)

                For our eternal gain (2 Corinthians 4:17)

                To allow us to experience Christ’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:10)

                To make us an example for others (James 5:10)

  • C. H. Spurgeon said, “The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” How does affliction equip us to be better soldiers for God? (Note: the military puts their troops through some “suffering” to prepare them for battle with the enemy.)
  • In James 5:10, James instructs us to take “the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience” and comments that “we count them happy which endure.”Name some Bible characters who endured great suffering. What lessons can we learn from them?
  • What can we do, when in the midst of affliction, to keep ourselves “steady” in the Lord? (Be honest withGod about your feelings. Immerse yourself in Scripture. Make prayer a priority. Be thankful for God’s blessings. Trust God’s timing. Focus your attention outward rather than inward.)
  • When is affliction helpful? When is it harmful? What makes the difference?
  • Does God always have a reason for the things we go through? Explain your answer.
  • Name some Scriptures that were written as a result of suffering. (Job, Psalms, parts of Epistles). What would our Bible be like without them?

Quotes worth noting:

Sometimes God has to put us fl at on our back before we are looking up to Him. – Jack Graham

Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller

The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. – J. I. Packer

No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in a wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. . . Take comfort, afflicted Christian! When God is about to make preeminent use of a person, He puts them in the fi re. – George MacDonald

Possible Opener:

Display some type of exercise equipment. Ask your class: Does this cause suffering? Probably, if you use it correctly and frequently! If it hurts, what is the purpose? It makes you more fi t, gives endurance, builds muscle, etc. What might suffering do for us spiritually? Make us more spiritually fit, give us spiritual endurance, etc.



Am I being punished by God for sin?

Is God chastening or disciplining me for something?

Is Satan attacking me as I try to survive as a Christian?

Am I being prepared to a be compassionate to those who suffer?

Am I specifically selected for testing, like Job?

Is my suffering a result of natural events for which I am not directly responsible?

Is my suffering due to some unknown reason?

Your responses

Confess known sin and repent.

Ask God to search your heart and reveal what is needed. Tell Him you are sorry and that with His help you will do better when you face a similar situation.

Call on God for strength.

Resist self-pity. Ask God to open up doors of opportunity and help you discover others who suffer as you do.

Accept help from the body of believers. Trust God to work his purpose through you.

Recognize that in a sinful world, both good and evil people will suffer. But as a believer, you have a promise from God that your suffering will one day come to an end, and will bring glory to God if your attitude is correct.

Don’t draw inward from the pain. Proclaim your faith in God, know that He cares, and wait patiently for his aid.

Suffering is helpful when:

We are prepared by it to identify with and comfort others who suffer

We are open to being helped by others who are obeying God

We are ready to learn from a trustworthy God

We realize we can identify with what Christ suffered on the cross for us

We are sensitized to the amount of suffering in the world

Suffering is harmful when:

We allow it to make us self- centered and selfish

We withdraw from the help others can give

We reject the fact that God can bring good out of calamity

We accuse God of being unjust and perhaps lead others to reject him

We refuse to be open to any changes in our lives


Satan’s view - People believe in God only when they are prospering and not suffering. This is wrong.

Job’s three friends’ view - Suffering is God’s judgment for sin. This is not always true.

Elihu’s view - Suffering is God’s way to teach, discipline, and refine. This is true, but an incomplete explanation.

God’s view - Suffering causes us to trust God for who he is, not what he does.

Supplemental Scriptures:

Psalm 119:71

Isaiah 45:3

Isaiah 48:10

Romans 8:18

2 Corinthians 4:17

Philippians 1:29

2 Timothy 2:12

1 Peter 4:1

1 Peter 4:19

1 Peter 5:10