Hi, this is Noel. Today Denise is going to suggest some verses that orient your Thinking and I will go over the 5th example of 4-Step Bible study.
You can either read the Lesson or watch the video. To take notes either print out the Lesson, follow along in the book, or use a separate piece of paper to write out the answers to the questions below.
How We Think Effects What We Want
The strategy we have found helpful for surfacing the Desire God gave us for Him has two parts.
First, it is helpful to answer the seven questions from WAVE101 Lesson 11 or in the textbook on page 41. This helps you make a realistic appraisal of the current strength of your desire.
Do I want to know God?
How do I want my life to be?
Do I want to do His will for my life?
Do I want to please God?
Do I want to know His heart and what He cares about?
Would I prefer my independence over His will and way?
It might change my priorities. What do I really want?
Then it helps to pray the following three passages back to God. These passages help you grasp the kindness God has shown to you and they help you respond back to God the same way. Together they help you gently nudge your desire forward.
In the first passage, Ephesians 3:16-19, Paul asks God to give the Christians in Ephesus power so they are able to grasp God's love for them.
Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV)
This is something we can also pray for. Here is the same verse arranged as our prayer to God.
"Father I pray that out of Your glorious riches You would strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that You would root and establish me in this love, so that I may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Your love for me, and to know Your love which surpasses knowledge--that I may be filled to the measure of all Your fullness."
Take your time. Ask God to help you. Come back to this verse over and over asking for help and watching for God to help you grasp His love.
The second passage, Mark 12:30-31, helps us respond to His love as we begin to understand it.
Mark 12:30-31 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (NIV)
First notice that it says you are to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Raise your hand if you love yourself perfectly. No one loves themselves perfectly. The idea is to do the best you can. Those who are aware how much God loves and forgives them, will be better at loving and forgiving their neighbor. The ultimate goal is to love and forgive the way God does.
Next, notice the dimensions of our response. We are to love God with our mind, strength, heart, and soul. What does that look like?
How do we love God with our mind? Loving God with our mind means that we think the way God wants us to think. How do we interpret what goes on in our life? Do we value the things God values? Do we think about things the way God thinks about them?
It also says to love God with our strength. What does strength imply? Our strength enables our actions and by them our behavior. We should love God by the way we behave.
How do we love God with our heart? The heart is the seat of our feelings. Are our emotions ruled by faith and trust, or by hatred and bitterness, for example.
How do we love God with our soul? The Bible uses heart and soul interchangeably at times. But, the soul is the part of a person that is a living being. "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7 KJV) The soul is what leaves the body at death and goes to be with God. It is who we are apart from our body.
It is helpful to pray this passage back to God and ask Him to help move us in this direction. Here is the passage arranged as a prayer to God.
"Father I pray that You will help me to love You with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength, and help me to love my neighbor as myself because this is what You want most for me."
The third passage, Luke 18:13b, helps to round out our perspective. It is already arranged as a prayer to God, so you can pray it directly to God.
Luke 18:13b 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' (NIV)
This is helpful in a couple of ways. First, it grounds you if you are proud because you may be thinking you love God more than you actually do. Then it also gives hope to the weary and unsure person because they focus too intently on how short their love falls from what it should be.
Praying these three passages back to God and pondering the seven questions will help you surface the Desire God has given you for Him. Don't rush it. Keep coming back to these questions and passages from time to time. The process of restoring your desire may take some time, but it gets the horse back in front of the cart and empowers all of your time with God.
Skill Time: 4-Step Bible Study (example 5)
This is the 5th Example of 4-Step Bible study. Many people worry that they aren't getting what we are coming up with in these videos. How can they know if they are on the right track?
If you deviate from the way you should be going in your study there is something that will always bring you back on track. When you study, keep listening for what God has for you. God will keep directing you and you will find that God's truth is self-correcting. When you study one passage, if you get off track, another passage you study will address that idea again and will get you back on track. The important thing is to keep trying and keep listening. God will keep guiding you.
Mark 10:13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mark 10:15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it [at] [all.]"
Mark 10:16 And He took them in His arms and [began] blessing them, laying His hands on them. (NASB)
Step 1: Facts ~ What do you see in the passage?
Step 2: Lessons ~ What can you learn from the passage?
Step 3: Challenges ~ Restate each Lesson as a question that challenges you
Step 4: Response ~ Write out how you respond to what God is saying to you
Watch the video or check the answers below to compare your answers with what we came up with.
Next time, Denise will summarize Transformation by Renewing Your Mind and I'll give the 6th example of 4-Step Bible study.
If you are stuck, reply to this email and ask a question.
Skill Time: Bible Passage (Your list can be different and shorter. More are presented here to help you get the idea.)
They are bringing children to Jesus
The disciples didn't like the idea
Jesus rebukes His disciples
Because the kingdom of God belongs to children
Everyone must be like a child to enter into the kingdom of God
Jesus brings the children close, blessing them and hugging them
Jesus loves children
God values simple child-like faith
Am I willing to unquestionably believe and follow God?
Thank you God that you made this so very simple. I pray that You would help me relate to You
with child-like simplicity.