Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.28.12.
WEDNESDAY — Dream Killer: We are all Abnormal
Big Point: The minute you think you’ve got it all together, that you belong in the “in crowd,” and that you are much better than the average “Joe,” stop and check yourself: you are just as freaky and abnormal!
Ah yes, we all love to think we are much better than the next person. It’s just our human nature. In fact, as we grow in our Christian maturity, we have to work even harder to remember that we are all abnormal, as we mentioned in the introduction to this Bible study. Don’t believe it? Well, if you have been taking the time to read the Daily Bible Reading plan, you’ll notice we’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Old Testament. Did you get a chance to read about the messed-up families and freaky folks in Genesis? John Ortberg, in his book Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, provides a quick summary of those individuals in Genesis and their stories:
Cain is jealous of Abel and kills him. Lamech introduces polygamy to the world. Noah—the most righteous man of his generation—gets drunk and curses his own grandson. Lot, when his home is surrounded by residents of Sodom who want to violate his visitors, offers instead that they can have sex with his daughters (What?). Later on, his daughters get him drunk and get impregnated by him—and Lot is the most righteous in Sodom!
Abraham plays favorites between his sons Isaac and Ishmael; the sons are estranged. Issac plays favorites between his sons Jacob and Esau; they’re bitter enemies for twenty years. Jacob plays favorites between Joseph and his other eleven sons; the brothers want to kill Joseph and end up selling him into slavery. Their marriages are disasters: Abraham has sex with his wife’s servant, then sends her and their son off to the wilderness at his wife’s request … (and there’s more…)
Whew—completely whacked-out, jacked-up, crazy, freaky, abnormal, right? You get the picture. Our hearts are naturally messed up and immoral, we constantly battle our sinful nature and we ALL sin and fall short. Bottom line: We have to get off our “high-horse” and fall down at the foot of the cross, every single day—no matter your maturity level in Christ.
READ & THINK…Find the answers
Have you ever found yourself saying “he or she has a good heart?” Have you ever stopped to think about what is truly in a person’s heart? Read Mark 7:21-23 and write out what is typically found in a person’s heart and where it come from. Worse yet, what happens when it stays there?
Mark 7:21-23 (New Living Translation)
For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, and deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these vile things come from within, they are what defile you.
What does 1 John 1:8 say happens to us when we get full of ourselves and act like we do no wrong? What does verse 9 say we should do instead?
1 John 1:8-9 (New Living Translation)
If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.
It doesn’t matter how mature you are as a Christian or how new in Christ you are, we all need to be reminded of what Romans 3:23 tells us. Read it for yourself again (it just never gets old!).
Romans 3:23 (New Living Translation)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
LIVE…What will you do now?
Be honest with yourself, how often do you consider yourself better than others? Don’t immediately brush off this question with “oh, I don’t do that.” Perhaps incidents like these could jog your memory: When you are driving along and someone cuts you off, do you ever say “you idiot” or maybe just think it. What about when you hear someone make a mistake? Or say perhaps someone is drastically different from you—wears different clothing, speaks with an accent, is slow in any way, or just has an interesting way of approaching life? Any thoughts come up now? Go ahead and write them out (don’t worry, we can’t see your answer).
What steps can you take to make certain you don’t lull yourself into this false belief that you are better than others? What steps will you take this week?
How often do you check your heart? We are not talking about the cholesterol that builds up plaque that may be clogging your arteries. Rather, we are talking about the “plaque” that’s discussed in Mark 7:21-23. Do you believe it’s necessary to ask God to clean your heart on a regular basis? Why or why not?
Let’s say that you found yourself in a conversation today in which you were talking to a spiritually restless person—someone who is just fed-up with the church. How would you go about being transparent with them and describing your shortcomings to encourage them that you are simply a sinner saved by grace, write out how your conversation would go.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to keep you in check—always remembering that we are all sinners. Ask Him to help you use your special gifts and abnormal life in a way that glorifies Him and naturally leads others to Christ.