Have you ever been faced with the decision to either go along with the crowd or make a choice? One where you knew what the right call would be, but it would set you apart as different from others? Doing the right thing may sometimes be difficult in a world full of temptation and distraction, but it is always best. It helps to remember that God is good, and He has a good plan. When we live righteously, the way that God says is best, it honors Him. When we look different than the world around us, it gives us the opportunity to reflect God’s character to others and introduce them to our Savior. And bonus, it strengthens our faith as we repeatedly find that life really is found in walking with Jesus!
RIGHTEOUSNESS: Being declared right in God's sight and living in a way that honors Him
MEMORY VERSE: “May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation - the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God." Philippians 1:11
This Week’s Finish Line: Living Righteously Honors God
The Israelites were God’s chosen people and He wanted them to live in a way that honored Him. However, because they continued to sin against Him, the country of Babylon conquered them, just like God said they would. The king, Nebuchadnezzar, took some of the best young men from the most important families and brought them into his palace, including Daniel and his 3 friends. The 4 men wanted to live in a way that honored God so asked if they could eat vegetables instead of the king’s rich food because they knew the king’s food would not honor God. God was with Daniel and his friends and after 10 days they were healthier than the others who had eaten the king’s food. God continued to help the 4 men live righteously even though they were in a country that worshipped fake gods and even showed the enemy king that He, God, is the one true God.
- Read Daniel 1. Who were Daniel and his friends? How are they described? (They were from royal or noble families, strong, healthy, good looking, smart.)
- How do you think you’d feel if you were taken from your homes and brought to a land very different from yours? How would you feel being taken to the palace of the enemy king?
- How did Daniel and his friends choose to honor God? (They asked to eat vegetables instead of the king’s fancy, rich food.)
- Look at verses 9 and 17. How did God help these 4 men? (He caused the chief of staff to be kind to Daniel and also gave them the ability to succeed in everything they were learning.)
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Teacher: Meal Time
As you share a meal together this week, refer back to what we learned last week about how we can be declared right in God’s sight. Then discuss the following: If you do lots of good things, does that make you special or earn you more righteousness? Will God love you even more? (No, we can’t earn anything from God. He loves us perfectly!) Even though good works won’t save us, why do believers still want to follow God’s commands and live righteously? (When we accept His free gift and understand how amazing salvation is, our hearts are so full of thankfulness we want to obey His commands out of love, not to earn anything but to live in a way that honors God.) Remember, we can trust God. So, we can live righteously, believing His way is best.
Friend: Drive Time
As you are in the car together, brainstorm some ways you can honor God through righteous living that day. Examples could include, looking for opportunities to specifically encourage others, refusing to gossip, being mindful of the words you choose to use, obeying the teacher when asked the first time, seeking forgiveness from someone you hurt, and more. Remind each other that living righteously is impossible apart from Christ, so ask for His help and strength the persevere!
Counselor: Bed Time
Read Ephesians 2:10 together as you are getting ready for bed. Discuss how God made us to do good works that honor Him. Thank Him for the opportunity to serve Him by how you live each day and ask Him to show you opportunities to live righteously this week.
Make flash cards together with this month’s memory verse. You can write the whole verse on one card, or each word on an individual card to make a fill in the blank game. Decorate the cards, come up with hand motions (an example is below) and quiz each other to help you learn it!
May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation (scoop arms up from floor to ceiling) – the righteous character (two thumbs up) produced in your life by Jesus Christ (cross with arms) – for this will bring much glory and praise (wave arms overhead) to God (point up). Philippians 1:11
Pray and ask God to help you live in a way that honors Him this week.
Next week we will learn why pursuing righteousness leads to God's best.
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