We cannot exaggerate how great is our God. Do you remember the last time you experienced his love? A living and loving God is looking for you today. The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (II Chronicles 16:9). God is love and the foundation of emotional maturity is to discover that the true God, the God of the Bible, is a personal God who loves us for who we are and not what we do. An important step toward spiritual and emotional maturity is to believe God wants to bless you and desires to use you. It all begins by recognizing how
great is our God.
photo courtesy of kaet44
In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero makes the observation that people are like icebergs. Just as 90% of the iceberg is beneath the surface of the water, and only 10% is visible to the eye, we tend to clean up what's visible and ignore what people can't see. However, beneath the surface are the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Your heart reflects what you intend to do and want to do - even if you never carry it out. Because we struggle with cleaning up certain thoughts and desires, we naturally cover up whatever would hurt our public image. Very few people will dare to be just what they are without doctoring up the impression.
photo courtesy of J.Elliott
God sent Jesus to forgive sins and heal hearts. Affirmation is a love word that imparts grace to hurting hearts. More Bible study, fellowship, service, and witnessing will not necessarily touch our deeply held feelings. The solution is to recognize how great is our God and ask him to "father you" - to ask him to tell you who you are and what he thinks of you. His voice is affirming not condemning. He sees you as valuable and capable. Will you let him love you?
Spirit of God is able to invade, reverse, and renew human nature. A. W. Tozer writes, "The way this works out in personal experience is something like this: The believing man is overwhelmed suddenly by a powerful feeling that only God matters. Soon this works itself out into his mental life and conditions all his judgments and all his values. Now he finds himself free from slavery to man's opinions. Soon he learns to love above all else the assurance that he is well-pleasing to the Father in heaven. It is this complete switch in their pleasure-source that makes believing men invincible."
|Read another Tozer quote at the end of this Sunday School lesson.|
Healthy heart habits are developed and maintained through setting aside
time alone with God and experiencing how great is our God. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him (Luke 2:40).
We monitor our heart by building into our calendar regular times to be alone with God. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16). When alone with God, listen for an affirming voice that will transform your understanding of how great is our God. Hearing his voice will also transform your view of yourself.
1. Strengthen your grip on the love of Jesus
Jeremiah 31:3 - I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Luke 3:22 - You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. (God's affirmation of Jesus at his baptism)
John 14:21 - He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
Romans 5:5 - God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 3:17-19 - I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.
2. Recognize that Jesus wants to be your friend
James 2:23 - Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God's friend.
Job 29:4 - Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God's intimate friendship blessed my house...
Exodus 33:11 - The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
John 11:11 - Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.
John 15:13-17 - Greater love has no one than this - that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead I have called you friends for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
photo courtesy of Thomas R. Stegelmann
We must experience how great is our God to explain it to others. We cannot pass on something we don't possess. As you personally experience the love of Jesus, you can guide others to this same love. Your character and example is the basis for your leadership.
|If you enjoyed How Great is Our God read more about becoming emotionally mature.|
|To learn more about disciple-making in the 21st century, check out Kingdom Driven Discipleship|
Author: Paul Schlieker
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Discussion questions for your small group or Sunday School class:
1. How does the love of God help us to transform into his likeness?
2. How would time alone with God help you monitor your heart?
3. Which of the "strengthening your grip on the love of Jesus" verses was most meaningful to you? Why?
4. Which of the "recognize that Jesus is your friend" verses was most meaningful to you? Why?
5. What will you do to realize more fully how great is our God?
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