Over time, I have had many people comment on this 4 part series I wrote. I had many women tell me they printed them out and did Bible studies over them. So in repsonse to that, I created discussion questions to help people respond to what they were reading. The following are the questions for each section under their previous titles. For this blog, I tried to keep it simple and easy to find by titling them all “My First Love.” Enjoy!
My Predicament – Part 1
1. Have you ever longed for the companionship of another person more than a deeper relationship with God? Be honest, and share that with another Jesus-follower you trust.
2. As we have seen from the above analogy, emotional infidelity is a very dangerous thing. In what ways can our straying affections be hazardous in our relationship with God? How do you think it makes God feel to know our hearts are far from him? Confess any emotional infidelity you’ve had toward the Lord and ask Him to change your heart and to stir up love for Him in you.
3. What reasons do you have for believing that an earthly relationship is more satisfying and passionate than a relationship with God through Jesus? Make a list of the lies that you’ve believed concerning this. (Ex: I can’t feel God’s arms around me physically, so my relationship with Him isn’t as real as my relationship with a guy.) Often times we don’t realize the lies we’ve believed and acted on until we articulate them out loud or write them down. It’s important to take every thought we have captive and make it obedient to the Word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). For every lie that you wrote down, spend some time researching the Bible and find a verse or two that are completely contrary to the lie that you are believing. For the example I gave above a good verse would be: “though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist.” Acts 17:27-28. Write out this next to the lie and label it “Truth”. This always helps me to align my thought processes with Scripture.
The Need to Surrender – Part 2
1. Do you understand the process of repentance: turning from sin and running to Christ? Can you remember another time in your life when you have repented from sin? Remember, repentance requires action (running toward Christ), not just a heart change. Check out these passages for examples of how those in the Bible repented of sin: Saul (Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-28, 26:9-20), King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3 &4), Job (Job 27-31, 38-42).
2. Giving up control is never an easy thing. What fears might a person have about giving their love life over to God’s control? What’s the biggest thing keeping you personally from completely trusting God? Most likely these fears are based on lies that you might believe about life or God. Again, this is a great opportunity to write out these lies and match them with the truths of the Bible. (Ex: LIE: I know what I need better than God does. TRUTH: “your Father knows what you need before you ask him“ Matthew 6:8. “You have searched me and known me. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:1,4,13).
3. Lets be honest now. Most girls have their own list of requirements their future husband must have in order to be a “worthy candidate”. What is your “requirement check-list”? Consider writing that out and praying through each thing and surrendering it. Once you have done that, find an appropriate time to burn this list. This might sound extreme, but it is a powerful thing to see something you’ve held so tightly to go up in flames and is a perfect picture of destroying our own understanding to trust God.
4. Can you imagine being single the rest of your life? What emotions do you experience as you think about that? It shouldn’t be that scary to imagine this, as Christ is all that we need and more. Ask God to overwhelm you with His character, beauty, and love till you completely forget that anyone else exists but Him! The reality is we are already married to Him and should have a heart that isn’t searching for love, but rather already rejoicing in it.
Fall in Love with God – Part 3
1. Why it is important to not just give up the practice of waiting for a husband? We must quit waiting for a husband AND begin to fall in love with God. What are some other examples you have seen that exemplify this idea of replacement? Read Matthew 12:43-45. In this passage Jesus explains this idea in relation to evil spirits. You cannot just “clean house” and leave it empty, or you will be worse than before.
2. Do you feel like you’ve been taught “backwards”; learning first how to please God and then afterwards expected to fall more in love with Him? Take an inventory of your heart and check your motives. What motivates you to act “godly” and do certain “church activities”? Is it a passionate, consuming, and overflowing love for God that pushes you to do those things? If not, maybe take some “time off” from the church activities that you can and spend that time praying for God to reveal the reasons you’ve had trouble connecting with Him. Ask Him to cause you to have genuine love for Him.
3. Which of these practical things stand out to you as something you’d like to implement in your life to help your love for God grow? Pick one or two things that you can start implementing in your life now and journal about how this affects your relationship with God. If those don’t work for you, try a few different ones until you find something that helps you connect better with God. What other ideas do you have that can help your love for the Lord grow deeper?
The Result – Part 4
1. As you read this section, what excites you more: learning to love Jesus more than you ever thought possible or one day having a great marriage? Be honest. Remember that our goal is to learn to love Jesus so much that everything else “is a loss compared to the surpassing of greatness of knowing Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
2. Have you ever thought about how God is jealous for your love? Because you are part of His bride, when you turn to other things for love instead of Him, He becomes jealous for you. Does it excite you to think that you are already a bride? Will you take up the challenge to prepare for your wedding feast by continually growing in your relationship with Jesus?
3. Read Exodus 20:4-6, 34:13-16, Deuteronomy 4:23-24, 5:8-9, 6:13-15, 32:16-17. In all these passages, God’s jealousy for His people is always tied to a command not to serve any other God but Him. Specifically, the passages in Exodus 34 and Deuteronomy 6 warn us not to accept the gods of the cultures and peoples around us. In Deuteronomy 32 He even mentions that we shouldn’t serve “gods that recently appeared”. Have you been corrupted by this culture which says that the romantic love of another person is better than a passionate relationship with God? Have you made the “god” of this culture your god? We need to be very careful not to allow the “gods” of this culture become our gods, because our LORD is a jealous God, and He won’t share our hearts with anything else.