The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend. We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.
SPOTTER, LESSON 3: God is Faithful to Forgive
“Be imitators of GOD, therefore, as dearly loved children” Ephesians 5:1 (emphasis added) The Bible makes plain that, when we are reborn in Christ, we are called to be “imitators of GOD,” that is, imitators of his communicable character attributes, those attributes GOD “shares” with his adopted children. We can know the character of our GOD because it is clearly revealed in scripture. Among his many qualities we find that God is loving, patient, kind, good, joyful, faithful, righteous, generous, courageous, creative, and, not least of all, forgiving. These are traits we should strive to imitate.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Forgiveness is sweet and grace is a great virtue when we are on the receiving end. It is something to rejoice over. But how things change when we are the “offended” party. Suddenly justice takes center stage and we begin to entertain thoughts about whether the offender “deserves” our forgiveness. We focus on our wounds and wallow in our injuries. We think that the kind of forgiveness Jesus offered his enemies on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” is impossible for us to imitate. After all He is God. But this excuse falls apart when we look a few pages further on into the book of Acts and we see Stephen imitating his Lord in the face of a brutal death by stoning. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Can we hope to attain to this level of forgiveness? I’ll let Jesus answer that one. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” With God’s indwelling Holy Spirit all things are possible.
As we close out this section on forgiveness, we should seek to help the children understand that on this side of heaven, we are striving to imitate Christ, knowing we will stumble and fall, trusting in his forgiveness when we do, and letting Him pick us up and urge us on to continue the climb He has called us to.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil.3-12-14
“Help me now to do the impossible:
Forgiveness.” -Matthew West
MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Ephesians 4:32, 5:1
Matthew 18: 21-35