8. The Challenger

So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own…Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.”
2 SAMUEL 12:1-13 NLT

The Challenger reflects God’s power

When Healthy

Is strong and confident
Wants to see the world be more just
Communicates directly
Leads and influences others and gets things done
Protective of those they see as vulnerable
Is always in pursuit of tenderness and mercy

When Unhealthy

Uses power to dominate others to get things done their way
Avoids being vulnerable
Forceful, insensitive and/or combative
Relationally clueless
Doesn’t see the value, opinions and experiences of others

Core Sin: Lust

Core Need: To be in control

Core Fear: Being exposed

How the Eight Needs to be Real:

With Self

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. JAMES 2:13 NLT

With Others

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy… JAMES 3:17 NLT

With God

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 CORINTHIANS 12:10 NLT

How to Love an Eight

  1. Notice when I am tender, but don’t flatter me
  2. Speak directly
  3. Stand up for yourself and me
  4. Don’t assume I meant to be hurtful

Prayer for the Eight:

God help me to rely on you and not just my instincts. Help me to find strong people that will be direct with me, but also see my heart and intentions. God help me to show weakness and to experience the true strength that only comes from you!

Community Group Discussion Guide

  1. When was the last time you stood up for a cause or someone who couldn’t stand up for themselves? What was that like for you?
  2. What specific things do you do to avoid lusting after, or overdoing things in your own life?
  3. Read James 2:13. What does it look like to be strong and simultaneously merciful as a Christian?
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 12:10. Why do you think sharing our weakness is so important to our health?
  5. What personal weakness are you currently struggling with and how can your group be a help to you?
  6. In what ways can your group uniquely care for the powerful people in your group?

Personal Reflection Guide

Find a quiet place where you can be alone with God. Think back over your life to a time when you used your strength to protect or fight for someone. What was happening in your heart to bring you to that place of mercy and justice? Now think back to a time when you used your strength to bulldoze over someone, refusing to listen to their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Ask God to help you see what was happening in your heart at that time. What did you fear? As you move through your week and into experiences that bring you to places of fear and justice, ask God to be your strength and protection in the midst of your fears, and rejoice in the opportunities he gives you to reflect those qualities to others.

My Notes