In order to show us His Love, God often has to "wound" us, as Hosea 6:1 says. But through that wounding, Scripture promises us, we will be healed. God uses our trials and tribulations not only to get our attention, but to stop us from going our own way. He purposely corners us to show us "His more excellent way."
In the textbook, we don't learn techniques for appropriating God's Love. Only God is Love, and we can't learn to be what only God is. What we do learn, however, is how to totally give ourselves over to God, so that He, then, can love His Love through us. This is God's more excellent way.
The Way of Agape is: 1)learning what God's Love is and realizing that this is the same unconditional Love that He has for us; 2) learning how to lay our wills and our lives down to Him and love Him; and 3) learning that as we love Him, He will give us the Love and the ability to love others as ourselves.
God tells us that if we love in this way, we shall live and have that abundant life that He has promised. (Luke 10:28)
1. What is our purpose as Christians? (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 3:17-19; 1 Timothy 1:5; Ephesians 5:1-2; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:16-17) How are we to fulfill this purpose? (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 8:35; 1 John 3:16; 4:12)
2. Identify the specific actions and attitudes laid down by our Lord in Luke 14:25-35 for anyone who would be his disciple.
3. How would you describe "abundant Life?" (John 10:10)
4. Why do you think God allows trials in our lives? (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; 13:3-4; Psalm 119:67; John 15:2)
5. 2 Corinthians 4:10 talks about the "dying of Jesus." Share what this means to you. What is the "life of Jesus" spoken about here?
6. Review in detail the three steps of God's Way of Agape. (Matthew22:37-40; John 12:24-25; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12; Matthew 16:24)
7. 1 John 3:14 says that if we are not loving with God's Love, then we are dying. What does this mean to you?
1. Have you or are you experiencing any situations or struggles similar to those that were shared in this chapter? If so, what situations?
2. READ Mark 10:17-22. Why do you think the rich young ruler could not give up his possessions? Can you name anything that would be difficult for you to give up now?
3. Summarize why it is so important to spend time alone with the Lord every day in order to live the Way of Agape?
4. How would you describe your own quiet time this week? List the things that seem to interfere.
5. 1 John 4:17 says: "...as He is, so are we in this world." Share what this means to you.
Continue at Home
1. Write on a note care any Scriptures that particularly ministered to you in this chapter. Use them to help you apply these principles. Memorize them. Carry them with you or post them where you can see them as a reminder.
2. This week, talk to God about improving the quality of your daily quiet time. Schedule a specific time with Him. Listen to (and sing along with) taped worship songs for your praise time with God. Write out some of your prayers. Use a daily reading guide to help you be consistent with your Bible reading. Be accountable to someone for this time.
3. Ask God to show you the areas that you are still not willing to lay down to Him. (You might not even be aware of them.)
4. Begin a journal. Write down all the experiences God allows in your life this week that you need to "deal" with - situations you didn't handle properly or attitudes you developed that were not godly. Describe your own thoughts and emotions about the situation. Confess any of your thoughts or emotions that are not of faith and repent of them - choose to turn around from following them. Give those negative thoughts and emotions to God, and then read His Word. Ask Him to replace those negative things with His truth.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12