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We Are Purposeful But Not Programmed

“We are purposeful in our choices; we are not programmed by past or present influences in any manner that relieves us of responsibility for the directions we choose. We move through life toward chosen goals that we think are reasonable and justified. Therefore, behavior can better be understood by looking at what it achieves than by studying its background.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 10

Questions for Reflection:
• In what areas of your life does bondage to sin feel programmed by your past or present circumstances?
• What self-centered goals might be fueling patterns of sin in your life?
• Share with God any area of repentance and of holy desire that rises in your heart as you ponder the goals you have been pursuing.

In His Mercy, We Find Confidence

“To the degree that pain teaches us that our deepest desire is for God, we will abandon ourselves to Him.  We’ll do whatever it takes to create an awareness of space in our souls that only He can fill.  And in His mercy, we’ll find a confidence developing that He is there, that He has indeed entered our space. “

Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, Page 105

Questions for Reflection:

• In what life circumstances has pain made you aware that your deepest desire is for God?
• How were you impacted by that fresh awareness?

We Hurt In Ways That Cannot Be Fixed

“We are relational, not mechanical.  That means we hurt in ways that cannot be fixed.  It also means that our only hope is to develop a relationship with someone who can support us in our pain, someone who will lift us to a sphere of living where something matters more than pain, until a day when we will hurt no more.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 18

Questions for Reflection:

• Do you feel relief or distress at the realization that we are inescapably relational, not broken things needing to be fixed?
• If you come to God relationally today, instead of asking Him to fix what is wrong in your life or your heart, what do you most want to say to Him?
• As you quiet your heart before Him, is there anything that matters more to you than the pain of what cannot be fixed?

When Problems Arise

“As we live our lives, we will either put ourselves first or we will live for God. And when problems arise, the difference between those two approaches will become especially visible. Either we will devote all our energies to overcoming our difficulties so that we can enjoy life again, or we will be more concerned to trust God in the midst of our problems so that we can better reflect His glory and serve His purposes.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 8

Questions for Reflection:
• Are you currently focused more on securing the life you desire or on revealing God’s glory amid whatever is happening in your circumstances?
• In today’s challenges, what opportunities to worship God and reveal Him to others might be available?
• Share with God (and perhaps with a friend), what you long to see Him do in your heart in the midst of your present situation.

Self-centeredness a Worse Enemy Than Self-Hatred

“It is ‘another gospel’ that invites us to change life around so that we relate to ourselves with an absorbing concern to enjoy our value, to others with a self-protective caution, and to God with warm appreciation for extending Himself so that we can love ourselves.

What I understand to be the biblical approach encourages us to view self-centeredness as a worse enemy than self-hatred.  It invites us to explore the riches of Christ’s value (rather than our own) by repenting of our failure to trust Him and learning to worship and serve Him because of His worth, not ours.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 8

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways do you rationalize your self-centeredness?
• As you ponder the nature of Christ, where do you feel stirred to repent?
• What draws you to worship?

God Created Us to Reflect His Character

“Life in Christ is all about relationships, with God, others, and ourselves.  When we reduce Christianity to a series of steps for handling life better or a set of truths to believe or a list of things to do, we miss the whole point of the gospel.

“God created us (and then re-created us) to enjoy His kindness and loving generosity and, in the strength of that enjoyment, to reflect His character by giving ourselves unselfishly to each other.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 5

Questions for Reflection:

• Do you think of Christianity as being primarily relational?
• Why or why not?
• In what ways has receiving God’s kindness given you the strength to offer yourself unselfishly to others?

Meet Me Where I Am; Give Me Hope

“…I long to be part of a church that somehow connects what we do when we meet together to who I am when I’m alone. And I want that connection to release power that can transform me into a lover of God and a lover of others.

I think that is God’s plan – to meet me where I am, in all my ugliness, not where I pretend to be or wish I were; to meet me in my weakness and shame and fear and to give me hope that God loves me, that He can change me, and that He can use me.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 61

Questions for Reflection:
• Where is there disconnection between your private life and your communal worship?
• What stirs in you at the thought of inviting God into where you truly are right now?
• Is there someone with whom God is leading you to share your heart more honestly?

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