Mark 8:34-38; Matthew 7:13-14; Proverbs 14:12, 16:25
The old saying goes like this: “First you make your way and then your way makes you.” Another person says it like this: “You become what you love.” Jesus is crystal clear. Your choices and commitments ultimately define who you are, what you do, how you experience life, what you become, what you stand for, and the imprint you leave on the earth. If all that is true, then you should pay extremely close attention to your choices and commitments.
Each of the passages for today describe this reality. First, do some Bible study and make a list of what you learn about choices and commitments. Then, reflect on the most important choices and commitments you have made through life. How have those choices and commitments shaped you? Are you facing any new choices? How do you make good choices?
How are you at following through on your choices? We now live in a culture where we no longer want to remain committed to the choices we have made. We see commitments as flexible, short-term, mainly for self-fulfillment, and therefore, immediately breakable if something better comes along!
What commitments have you broken? And who has broken commitments made to you?
Jesus makes an unbreakable commitment to you. Jesus asks for your steadfast commitment back to him. How are you doing with your steadfast commitment to Jesus?
As you read each chapter this week, keep these reflection questions in mind:
• What does this chapter teach me about Jesus’ character?
• What does this chapter teach me about what Jesus is doing?
• What difference will reading this chapter make in my life?
• What does this chapter tell me about what Jesus wants from me?
Then pray and look to “practice the presence and pursue the purposes of Jesus” according to what you have read.
The parable of the Good Samaritan would have been scandalous for those listening to Jesus speak! Samaritans could never be good in the eyes of Jesus’ Jewish followers. Jesus is often surprising in his love and mercy. Jesus shows grace and dignity to the unlikely. Jesus’ love is never contained by boundaries of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, or position. Who are the Samaritans in our day? How can we reach out to them?
Often, when his followers asked a question, Jesus would respond in a parable. How does he respond in verse 2? Why do you think he responded that way? Rather than a parable, he gives them a simple model of prayer that we still follow today. What does verse 9 teach you about prayer?
This chapter contains quite a bit of teaching. How does verse 14 make you feel? Do you think this type of thinking is popular in our culture today? What other teachings from this chapter are very different from our culture today?
Jesus is the Son of God. He is doing the work that the Father sent him to do. This is fundamental to our understanding of Jesus during his time on earth. He is a picture of what God the Father is like. When we see him, we are seeing a picture of the Father. Also, what does this chapter teach you about the tension between the “already” and the “not yet?”
- Songs We Sing
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