Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

October 2001: The "Hero" Test for Youth

  • CYM Crossroads Youth Ministries
  • Updated Oct 29, 2001
October 2001: The "Hero" Test for Youth

Crossroads: Evangelistic Bible Study

Topic: Our Motivations for the Things We Do

Monthly Theme: It's Time to Give It Away

Run Time: 1 Hour

Points to Ponder for Crossroads events:

  • Keep in mind that some of your pre-Christian students may be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading after being with your group over the past few weeks. You may see things like more rebelliousness or lack of attention by some students who are trying to avoid God and His convicting Spirit.
  • Allow the time to be fun. Don’t lose the joy of salvation in the pursuit of trying to lead students to accept Christ.
  • Try to lead students to seek out their questions outside the meeting time. Although their questions may be beneficial for others to hear, it could distract from the lesson plan.
  • Make the gospel presentation as simple as possible.

Weekly Activity View

Challenge: Challenge students to examine their motivation for saying, feeling, and doing the things they do.


I remember when I was six years old and there was absolutely nothing in the world that I wanted more than a bike. I would sit in my front yard and watch the other kids on my street sail by on their bikes with the wind blowing through their hair. My next door neighbor was the envy of the neighborhood, not so much for the bike he had, but because he was a daredevil. He would use scraps of wood from his dad’s garage and make ramps, which he would set up on the sidewalk and jump while all of us other kids watched. It seemed like he always had something smart-aleck to say to me when he finished, usually about being too little, or wondering if I could do that on my Big Wheel. He was the hero, but he was also my nemesis, and I dreamed of the day I would take his place as the envy of the neighborhood. If I closed my eyes I could see it all in slow motion -- I sit on my bike, a hundred feet or so from the ramp, which is higher than my head and decorated with flashing lights. Kids from all over line the streets, calling my name. Some are even waving flags and signs with my picture on them. I wave to them, and they scream louder. I begin to pedal down the sidewalk toward the ramp. No big deal. To me this is just business as usual; another day at the office. I sail up the ramp and fly through the air, looking down at my screaming fans, tears of joy on their faces. I actually break my own record by jumping over not two, but three driveways before landing easily and spinning to a stop. I wave again to more cheers. Life is good.

And then, on my sixth birthday, it happened. A new bike! Well, it was used, and slightly beat up, but it was new to me. I told my dad I didn’t want training wheels, I just wanted to go out and learn. And so we went. The first few times I did great, with my dad holding the back of the bike the whole time. Then I was ready. I told him that this time he should let go. As I began to pedal, I could hear the cheering crowds from my daydream. The bike wobbled a bit when my dad let go, but I was doing it; I was riding on my own! Watch out world there is a new hero in town. This must have lasted for all of seven seconds before I lost control, ran full-force into the Burke’s mailbox, and blacked out.

Needless to say, the next time I rode, I had training wheels, but I learned an important lesson. Wanting to ride a bike wasn’t a bad thing, but my reason for wanting to ride a bike wasn’t exactly pure. When we do good things for the wrong reason, the consequences aren’t always we hope for.

Lesson Outline

When our actions, and our motivation for our actions are in line with God’s will, we will receive great blessings. How can you tell if your motivation for your actions fits God’s standards for your life? One way is to check it against what the Bible says about how and why we act. Let’s call it the “hero” test.

1. Humble

Read Philippians 2:3-5.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

There is nothing wrong with doing something nice for yourself now and then, but it is never okay to do something for yourself at the expense of others. As Christians, we have a responsibility to look out for those around us. Ask the students to give examples of people they know who consistently pass this test.

2. Encouraging

Read Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

When we are living our lives the way we ought to, people will look at us and know that there is something different. Some people call this ‘preaching without preaching.’ Our actions should be an encouragement to those around us.

Ask the students to give examples of people they know who consistently pass this test.

3. Righteous

Read Acts 5:1-10

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that is the price.’ Peter said to her, ‘How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Wait a minute! Didn’t Ananias and Sapphira do a great thing? I mean, they didn’t have to sell their land and give the money to the church, did they? Yes, they did do a great thing. The problem was that they lied about how good they had been. They told the apostles that they had made a certain amount, when in reality they had made more and kept some for themselves. God will not honor dishonesty.

Galatians 6:7 says, ‘Don’t be deceived. God will not be mocked. A man will reap whatever he sows.’

Ask the students if they can think of examples of this test, but ask them not to name any names.

4. Obedient

Read Proverbs 21:3

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

Toward the end of his career as Israel’s first king, Saul was leading the Israelites into battle. He was told that after he had won the battle, he was to destroy every living thing, including all of the people and all of the livestock. Instead, he spared some of the people and all of the best livestock. He took the best of the best and offered a sacrifice to God, and gave the rest to his men. When Samuel saw what he had done, he flipped out! He told Saul:

‘To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’ —1 Samuel 15:22

God does not need anything we have. The earth and everything in it are already His. What God desires is for us to be obedient to Him and His will for our lives. We may not always understand why God wants us to do something, or why He allows something to happen to us, but I can tell you from my own experience, as can countless others, that when we obey God everything works out. When we don’t, all bets are off. After Saul disobeyed God, he was told that he would soon be replaced as king, and soon after David was anointed by Samuel. For most of his life, David was very obedient to God, and as a result he and his family were promised blessings for generations to come. In fact, because of his obedience, Jesus became part of his family tree.

Ask the students to identify some areas where we tend to have trouble obeying God in our lives.

Closing Challenge

1. Take time to share the gospel with the group.
2. Challenge Christian students to focus on what they do, and why they do it in the upcoming weeks, and see if they pass the “hero” test.


Use this time to make any announcements about upcoming events and ministry projects in your church this month. Encourage your students to show love toward their families and with other groups in the church.

Copyright © 2001 CYM Road Tips. All rights reserved.

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