O-The Virtue of Self-Control

///O-The Virtue of Self-Control
O-The Virtue of Self-Control2017-03-30T17:07:02+00:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

This is your approach to personal wants and desires.  Do you want what you want when you want it, or are you willing to temper your desires?  Is life all about you and your wants and needs or is it about God and others?  Do you find that you lack self-control and easily give in to temptation?  Do you find that you have a particular weakness towards alcohol, money, sex or food?  Do you view others as a means to an end?  Do you find yourself wanting what others possess?  On the other hand, are you content with your life and possessions?  Do you have a giving and generous nature?  You are not tempted or threatened by the success or possessions of others?  Do you generally serve others?  Are you willing to use your position and possessions to help others?  Do you practice control over alcohol, money, sex and food?   In summary, do you control your needs and desires or do they control you?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

Self-Control

Proverbs 25:28 – Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. NIV

Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV

Generosity

Proverbs 11:25 – A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. NIV

Proverbs 22:9 – A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. NIV

Isaiah 58:10 – if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. NIV

See also 1 Corinthians 16:2 & Hebrews 13:16

Giving

Acts 20:35 – In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” NIV

Luke 12:33-34 – Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NIV

Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” NIV

See also Deuteronomy 16:7

Contentment

Philippians 4:12-13 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength. NIV

Proverbs 23:4 – Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. NIV

Lack of restraint

Philippians 3:19 – Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. NIV

1 Peter 4:3- For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. NIV

Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. NIV

See also Proverbs 23:21 & Ecclesiastes 10:17

Greed and covetousness

Exodus 20:17 – “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” NIV

Luke 12:15 – “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  NIV

1 Peter 2:1 – Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. NIV

See also Hebrews 13:5, Proverbs 18:1, & Ecclesiastes 5:10

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Self-Control (spiritual victory)

O1 – Being an Effective Christian – 2 Peter: 1: 3-9

Key Words: Self-Control, Success, Spiritual Life, Goodness, Forgiveness

  1. How does the participating in the divine nature mentioned in verses 3 and 4 relate to the spiritual goal of Christlikeness?
  2. According to this text, which qualities lead to an effective Christian life?
  3. What can we infer about the nature of spiritual effectiveness and productivity from the nature of the qualities that lead to it?
  4. How would you define spiritual effectiveness and productivity?
  5. How does the text say we become ineffective?
  6. What do all of these qualities have in common?
  7. How does self-control, godliness and goodness enable us to be effective and productive in the Christian life?
  8. What happens when we do not possess these qualities?
  9. How is a Christian who does not possess these positive qualities near-sighted and blind?
  10. Does verse 9 imply that forgiveness of sins should naturally result in the qualities outlined in this text… explain?
  11. Have you found these principles to be true in your own life: does your life and fruitfulness suffer when your spirituality wanes?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O2 – Victory over the World – 1 John 2: 15-17

Key Words: Self-Control, Victory, World, Kingdom of God, Eternal Treasure

  1. What does John mean when he refers to the world?
  2. What are the primary differences between the ways of the world and the ways of God?
  3. How well does verse 16 describe the spirit of the world we live in?
  4. What does the text mean when it says the world and its ways are passing away?
  5. Do you genuinely believe and behave as if the things of the world are ethereal and passing?
  6. Are you investing more in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the world?
  7. Which kingdom provides the highest return on investment?
  8. Why then do so many Christians invest in the world?
  9. What is the secret to victory over the world?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O3 – The Life of Wisdom – James 3: 13-18

Key Words: Self-Control, Wisdom, Self, World

  1. Define the term ‘wisdom’ as it is used in this passage?
  2. Describe the ethic of wisdom outlined in these verses.
  3. What is the source of this wisdom?
  4. Contrast the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world.
  5. How do you account for such divergent views?
  6. Do you genuinely believe seeking the qualities outlined in the text is wise, or is such a life overblown?
  7. According to the text, what is the source of the world’s wisdom?
  8. How do you see “bitter envy” and “selfish ambition” manifest in our families, communities, and world?
  9. Do you see these qualities manifest in your life… explain?
  10. What is God’s counsel for those who struggle with these issues?
  11. What is the result or fruit of the wisdom that comes from heaven?
  12. What steps might someone take to seek God’s wisdom when there is an inclination to seek the world?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O4 – Victory Over Temptation – 1 Peter 4: 1-6

Key Words: Self-Control, Temptation, Victory, Attitudes, Self, Sin, Idols, Perspective

  1. How does Peter make a connection between Christ’s crucifixion and our ability to overcome sin?
  2. How does Peter tell us to arm ourselves against sin?
  3. Why does the battle for sin often involve our attitudes?
  4. What does it mean to live for God rather than evil human desires?
  5. Does the text imply that all human desires are evil… explain?
  6. What specific temptations and sins are mentioned in this passage?
  7. Do you agree with those who define idolatry as placing anything in our lives before God?
  8. How do we place other things before God in our lives?
  9. What attitude and perspective did Christ have to endure such a brutal physical sacrifice?
  10. How can we utilize those same attitudes and perspectives to enable us to have victory over physical temptations?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
Rating: 4.5. From 2 votes.
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O5 – Overcoming our Sin Nature – Romans 1: 16-32

Key Words: Self-Control, Victory, Sin, Gospel, Attitude

  1. How is the rest of the chapter essentially a commentary on verses 16-17?
  2. How does verse 17 define the gospel?
  3. How do verses 18-20 describe why the gospel is important to all people?
  4. Why case does the text make about why every person is accountable and responsible for their sin before God?
  5. How universal are the attitudes and behaviors described in this passage?
  6. Which of these sins does our culture seem to particularly struggle with?
  7. What seems to be the primary source of the sins described in this passage?
  8. How does God feel about and respond to these sins?
  9. How does a disregard for God lead to other sins?
  10. Which sins in this passage to you particularly identify with?
  11. What does it mean to be born with a sin nature?
  12. How does the text teach we defeat and overcome that nature?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O6 – Power over Sin – Titus 3: 3-8

Key Words: Self-Control, Victory, Sin, Power, Salvation, Good Deeds, Renewal

  1. How does the text collectively describe people prior to coming to Christ?
  2. How descriptive is this text of our society today?
  3. What does verse 3 imply about the value of living this way?
  4. Is the problem the guilt, power or presence of sin… explain?
  5. On two occasions the text says he saved us: saved us from what?
  6. According to verse 5, why does God save us?
  7. How does the text say God saves us?
  8. What does the text say are the results, fruits or benefits of our salvation?
  9. Does rebirth and renewal imply a power or ability to live a new life… explain?
  10. What is the rationale for doing what is good?
  11. What spiritual resources mentioned in this text assist and empower us to overcome sin: past present and future?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O7 – Taming the Heart – Mark 7: 14-23

Key Words: Self-Control, Righteousness, Sanctification, World, Transformation

  1. What did Jesus think about the value of food laws in bringing about righteousness?
  2. What did he mean when he indicated that nothing outside a person can make them unclean, but what comes out of a person makes them unclean?
  3. Why are our actions only a reflection of the condition of our heart?
  4. What do your actions say about your heart?
  5. Why is it imperative to drill down into our thoughts and attitudes when attempting to please God and live well?
  6. Respond to the following statement: true spiritual victory is not achieved until the desire for sin is replace by a desire for righteousness.
  7. In what ways is that statement correct?
  8. It what ways is that statement wrong?
  9. How does authentic heart transformation occur?
  10. How can we train our hearts to desire God and the things of God rather than the world and the things of the world?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O8 – Power over Discontentment – 1 Timothy 6: 3-11

Key Words: Self-Control, Contentment, Sin, Pride, Divisions, False Spirituality, Spiritual Life

  1. Explain why verse 6 is the key verse in this passage.
  2. List the various vices and sins mentioned in verses 3-10.
  3. What theme do all of these vices have in common?
  4. What is the fundamental motivation behind all these vices?
  5. What various consequences does the text list for those who indulge these vices?
  6. How do such consequences exacerbate problems for the discontent?
  7. How is conceit common to both those who reject sound teaching and those who cause division?
  8. What impact do disrespectful and unteachable people have on the people and cultures around them?
  9. Why does strife seem to follow the proud?
  10. Why does contentment seem to follow humility?
  11. Do you agree that ungodly desires plunge people into ruin and destruction…explain?
  12. What is the connection between verses 6 and 11? How does verse 7 give perspective on verse 6 along with all the vices mentioned in the passage?
  13. What does this passage teach as the secret to health and life?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Giving

O9 – The Beauty of Giving – Matthew 6: 1-4

Key Words: Self-Control, Giving, Generosity, Beauty, Spirituality, Money

  1. When giving, is the heart or the action more important… explain?
  2. Why is generosity with the right spirit a beautiful thing?
  3. What are some of the ways people give for the wrong reasons?
  4. What is the proper motivation in giving tithes and offerings to God?
  5. What kind of giving pleases God?
  6. Why do you suppose Jesus said “when’ you give and not “if” you give?
  7. What does giving for the wrong reasons reveal about our spirituality?
  8. What does not giving anything reveal about a person’s spirituality?
  9. How can focusing on the amount of our gifts compromise the integrity of the act: when we give little… when we give much?
  10. Is the standard of Christian giving generosity…explain?
  11. How does God reward those who give with integrity, compassion and generosity?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O10 – The Blessing of Giving – 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

Key Words: Self-Control, Giving, Generosity, Blessing, Prosperity, Money

  1. What it mean to reap what we sow in the context of giving?
  2. What types of blessings do we experience when we give?
  3. Some Bible teachers use this passage to teach giving as a way to material prosperity… how do you respond to that idea?
  4. What light does verse 8 shed on the nature and purpose of the blessings we receive from giving?
  5. Is generosity limited to money… what other things beyond money can we give to God?
  6. Do you genuinely believe that giving and sacrifice are worth the effort?
  7. What kind of giving does God get excited about?
  8. What kind of giving do you get excited about?
  9. How do you respond to the idea that it is impossible to out give God?
  10. Is it important to you to adjust your life in order to give more of yourself to God and his kingdom?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Virtue

O11 – Fruits of Living in the Spirit – Galatians 5: 16 -25

Key Words: Self-Control, Fruits of the Spirit, Sinful Nature, Holy Spirit, Walking in the Spirit

  1. With what does the text contrast the Spirit?
  2. What is the difference between living according to the sinful nature and living according to the Spirit?
  3. What initial thoughts come to mind when you examine fruits of each life?
  4. How attractive are the fruits of each life?
  5. Most people recoil from the fruits of the sinful nature, why then do many seem more inclined to seek that life?
  6. Which vices do you personally struggle with?
  7. Which virtues do you genuinely struggle with?
  8. What is the goal of the Holy Spirit in our lives (See John 14:26, Romans 15:13, 1 Thessalonians 1: 4-5)?
  9. What might it then mean to live by the Spirit or keep in step with the Spirit?
  10. What practical steps can we take to pursue God and his fruit in our lives?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O12 – Living in the Light – Romans 13: 11-14

Key Words: Self-Control, Living in Light, Kingdom of Darkness, Sinful Nature, World

  1. What activities does Paul relate to spiritual slumber in this passage?
  2. Why does he relate these activities to things that happen in the darkness or night?
  3. Why do people do things in the dark: literally and figuratively?
  4. How does the light of truth expose these various deeds of darkness?
  5. What does it mean to live in the daytime or light?
  6. Do the values of our culture primarily express the daytime or the darkness…explain?
  7. What are the reasons it might be wrong for a Christian to “gratify the desires of the sinful nature?”
  8. What do you say to the Christian who justifies sinful behavior because he or she is under grace?
  9. How do we ensure our standards and values are not corrupted by the culture around us?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O13 – Living Holy Lives – 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8

Key Words: Self-Control, Holiness, Sex, Sin, Sanctification

  1. How serious does God take sexual immorality?
  2. How is Paul using the word ‘sanctified’ in this passage?
  3. According to this text, what is the standard for Christians when it comes to sexuality?
  4. Why are so many believers often casual about sexual things?
  5. What are some of the ways we rationalize sexual sin?
  6. How might a Christian wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister in a sexual way?
  7. How do you respond to Christians openly practicing sexual sin?
  8. What are the consequences of sexual sin in the life of a believer?
  9. What is the connection between self-control and the Holy Spirit?
  10. Does God leave any room for interpretation on this subject?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O14 – Thriving Amidst Godlessness – 2 Timothy 3: 1-17

Key Words: Self-Control, Faithfulness, Last Days, World, Righteousness, Spirituality

  1. These verses describe the last days, do you believe these verses describe our day?
  2. Which of the qualities listed do you find to be particularly evident in our culture?
  3. How can people have a form of godliness while at the same time denying the power of God?
  4. Does the presence of these issues in our culture cause you to feel discouraged… overwhelmed… emboldened… frightened… angry… explain?
  5. How does this passage reinforce spirituality as righteousness or right relationships?
  6. How are we to respond to the culture described in this passage?
  7. Do you ever feel persecuted, slighted or misunderstood because of your faith… explain?
  8. How does Paul’s example encourage us to remain faithful?
  9. What resources listed in the text empower us in such times?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O15 – Little Sins – Joshua 7

Key Words: Self-Control, Sin, Greed, Pride, Fruits of Sin, Deceit, Faith

  1. What was Achan’s sin?
  2. Do you think God was more concerned with Achan’s greed, disobedience, deceit, lack of trust, or how casual he treated the revealed will of God?
  3. Would you have been tempted to disobey God in this area: incredible plunder was available for anyone to simply pick up… explain?
  4. How do you feel Achan may have rationalized his actions and made this a trivial matter in his mind?
  5. Do you ever try to rationalize or justify what you consider to be trivial sins: speeding, illegally downloading music, little white lies, etc..?
  6. Where do we draw the line on socially acceptable sins such as the ones just mentioned?
  7. What are some of the small ways you disobey God?
  8. Is there really any small ways to disobey God?
  9. What were the consequences of Achan’s sin? Why are the small things really big things?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Wealth, Greed, and Covetousness

O16 – Rich in Good Deeds – 1 Timothy 6: 17-19

Key Words: Self-Control, Money, Wealth, Generosity, Service, Perspective, Eternal Treasure

  1. Why do the wealthy face strong temptation to place their hope in wealth?
  2. Do you feel the writer of this passage would consider you wealthy?
  3. How do we place our hope in God rather in wealth?
  4. Why might the text state that putting our hope in wealth is arrogant?
  5. What are the benefits of putting aside wealth as a source of hope?
  6. How is verse 18 a good indicator of where we stand on this issue?
  7. What does it mean to be rich in good deeds: what kind of wealth is Paul referring to?
  8. What does it reveal about a person who uses earthly treasure to gain heavenly treasure?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O17 – The Responsibilities of Wealth – Amos 6: 4-8

Key Words: Self-Control, Money, Wealth, Apathy, Service, Poor

  1. What is the primary message of this passage?
  2. The ‘ruin of Joseph’ refers to the suffering of an oppressed populace; how does this knowledge enhance our understanding of the text?
  3. What is the greatest sin of these wealthy people: greed… pride… apathy… explain?
  4. Is it a sin to be rich… explain?
  5. How will God judge the wealthy in this passage?
  6. How is caring only about ourselves an indication of spiritual bankruptcy?
  7. Are you apathetic towards the needs of others or the needs of God’s kingdom?
  8. What responsibilities come with wealth?
  • Think before answering
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O18 – Honoring God with our First Fruits – Malachi 3: 8-12

Key Words: Self-Control, Gratitude, Giving, Faithfulness, Blessing, Money

  1. What is the primary spiritual issue involved in honoring God with our first fruits?
  2. What does a desire to honor God with our first fruits… or a tithe… indicate about our hearts towards God?
  3. The tithe during this time was often given in wheat and grains; how does this impact our understanding of this passage?
  4. What specific blessings does God promise if the people would honor God with their giving?
  5. Why is withholding our tithe robbing God?
  6. Do we rob God in other ways?
  7. Does God genuinely have a claim on all our resources: money, possessions, gifts and talents?
  8. What does it mean to live as stewards and why is that critical in our relationship with God?
  9. What is happening inside a heart that refuses to acknowledge God as the owner and giver of all things?
  10. What is happening inside a heart that covets blessings without any desire to acknowledge the giver of those blessings?
  11. Why is God eager to bless those who honor him?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O19 – Integrity in Giving – Acts 5

Key Words: Self-Control, Giving, Self, Deceit, Pride, Greed

  1. What exactly did Ananias and Sapphira do wrong; after all, they did give to the Lord?
  2. Is this text about money, pride, or deceit?
  3. Do you believe they knew what they were doing was clearly wrong, or do you believe they rationalized their behavior?
  4. Do Christians today rationalize greed, pride, selfishness, and deception… explain?
  5. In what ways do people compromise their giving? How do people give in a proud way… or in a manipulative way… or in a deceitful way… or in a selfish way?
  6. Why is such pride and selfishness so damaging in our relationship with God?
  7. Why is such pride and selfishness so dangerous in a congregation?
  8. What happens to an individual or church when everything becomes about them rather than God?
  9. What does giving with integrity look like?
  •  Seek Nuance
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Selfishness

O20 – The Good Samaritan – Luke 10: 30-37

Key Words: Self-Control, Generosity, Poor/Needy, Good Deeds, False Spirituality, Apathy

  1. Samaritans were often despised by Jews, and Levites were among the most respected, why would Jesus juxtapose the actions of a priest and Levite with a Samaritan?
  2. This teaching is in response to a question asked in verse 29 in response the Great Commandment in verse 27… so who is our neighbor… explain?
  3. What did the priest and Levite do wrong? Priests and Levites were very religious people, what point was Jesus making about their spirituality?
  4. What did the Samaritan do right?
  5. What did the Samaritan’s actions reveal about his heart?
  6. Why do you suppose the priest and Levite ignored the needs of this man?
  7. How and why do we sometimes ignore the needs of others?
  8. Why is apathy so much easier and acceptable to us than other more notorious sins such as immorality or stealing?
  9. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the needs around you?
  10. How do you suppose God desires us to practice loving our neighbor in today’s world?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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O21 – Making God a Means to an End – 1 Samuel 2: 12-36

Key Words: Self-Control, Greed, Pride, Irreverence

  1. Who were the sons of Eli and what was their role in the temple?
  2. How did Hophni and Phinehas show contempt for the Lord?
  3. Do you think they believed in God?
  4. What attitude did they demonstrate towards God and the things of God?
  5. How do you think they rationalized such a casual attitude towards God?
  6. How did God respond to their disrespect and irreverence?
  7. How might someone today demonstrate this same attitude?
  8. Do people today use God… explain?
  9. What are the dangers of using God as a means to an end?
  10. Are you ever casual or irreverent towards God or the things of God?
  11. How do we demonstrate honor and reverence towards God’s house… God’s Word… God’s commands… or God’s person?
  • Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Make a list of the things you believe would bring contentment to your life. Are these things spiritual, relational, material or other?  What does this say about you?  What would Christ say about your list?  What changes do you need to make regarding your desires and expectations in life?
  1. Make an anonymous gift to a person in need.
  1. Perform a selfless and sacrificial task for a friend or neighbor in need. Mow someone’s yard without being asked, take someone to the doctor, watch someone’s children or some other good deed that focuses your attention off of yourself and on to another.
  1. Sit down with your spouse and make a family budget that not only curtails excess spending, but leaves room for God and giving to kingdom work.
  1. Cut out a small luxury over the next two weeks (Starbucks coffee, Wednesday lunch out, movies, etc…) and reflect on your discipline, self-control and quality of life.
  2. Make a sacrificial financial gift to your church or worthy mission endeavor.
  1. Attend a Christian based financial seminar.
  1. Confess your sexual struggles with your spiritual coach (only if coach is of the same sex) and enlist him or her as an accountability partner. Install accountability software on your computer.  Such software is common.  One source is XXXchurch.com.
  1. Commit to make extra effort serving your spouse. What are his or her needs?  How can you best meet those needs?  What sacrificial act on your part would genuinely brighten their life?
  1. Keep a food diary. What does the diary say about your self-control.  What steps do you need to take in your dietary life to reflect moderation and health?
  1. Commit to care for your body. Go on a truly healthy diet and begin exercising at least three days per week.
  1. Abstain from alcohol for one month and reflect on the experience with your spiritual coach. Is this something you may consider removing from your life?
  1. Fast at least one meal per week for the next 4 weeks. Spend that time praying, reading God’s word or performing a service project.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. The New Master Your Money by Ron Blue
  2. The SALT Plan by Chuck Bentley of Crown Financial Ministries
  3. The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
  4. Sex for Christians: The Limits and Liberties of Sexual Living by Lewis B. Smedes
  5. For Fidelity: How Intimacy and Commitment Enrich our Lives by Catherine M. Wallace
  6. Selfishness: From Loving Yourself to Loving Your Neighbor by Louie Priolo
  7. Selfishness: A Whale of a Story by Dr. Phillip D. Williams
  8. Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will and Lisa Samson
  9. The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
  10. Rare Jewell of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
  11. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges
  12. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
  13. The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
  14. The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
  15. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun – Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, (Readings on Fasting)