January 11, 2020
Story One. Prior to his conversion, Joe had gained the reputation of being a dirty wino for whom there was no hope, only a miserable existence in the ghetto. But following his conversion to a new life with God, everything changed. Joe became the most caring person those at the mission had ever known. Joe spent his days and nights hanging out at the mission doing whatever needed to be done. There was never any task that was too lowly for Joe to take on. There was never anything that he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up the vomit left by some violently sick alcoholic or scrubbing the toilets after careless men left the bathroom filthy, Joe did what was asked with a smile on his face and with a seeming gratitude for the chance to help.
One evening when the director of the mission was delivering his evening evangelistic message to the usual crowd, there was one man who looked up, came down the aisle to the altar, and knelt to pray, crying out for God to help him to change. The repentant drunk kept shouting, “O God, make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe!”
The director of the mission leaned over and said to the man, “Son, I think it would be better if you prayed, ‘Make me like Jesus!’ ” The man looked up to the director with a quizzical expression on his face and asked, “Is He like Joe?”—Wayne Rice, More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), pp. 114, 115.
Story Two. At a national spelling contest in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., an incident occurred that made me wonder. In the fourth round of the contest Rosalie Elliot, then an 11-year-old from South Carolina, was asked to spell avowal. In her soft Southern accent she spelled it. But did the seventh grader use an a or an e as the next-to-the-last letter? The judges couldn’t decide. For several minutes they listened to tape recording playbacks, but the critical letter was accent-blurred.
Chief judge John Lloyd finally put the question to the only person who knew the answer, “Was the letter an a or was it an e?” he asked Rosalie. Surrounded by whispering young spellers, she knew by now the correct spelling of the word. Without hesitating, she replied that she had misspelled it. She walked from the stage.
The entire audience stood and applauded, including half a hundred newspaper reporters, one of whom was heard to remark that Judge Lloyd had put quite a burden on an 11-year-old.—James S. Hewitt, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988), pp. 62, 63.
Memory Text: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 22, Christian Behavior: “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 91-93
Read John 1:47.
While shopping in a store, you notice a young boy acting suspiciously. Standing in the toy section, he hides an item in his pocket, thinking no one has seen him. What would you do? You could do nothing and let the kid learn his lesson the hard way. You might say something to him. If so, what would you say?
Read Philippians 4:8; 1 John 2:6; Philippians 2:4
Our purpose in life isn’t to satisfy our own desires. We should find fulfillment in helping others learn of Jesus. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we become like Him. And the more we become like Him, the more others will see Him in us.In what ways do you reflect God and His love to those around you?
Use the word chart to write out the text that tells us how we should treat others. To find the first word, find the word in the chart that correlates to E7. The second word will correlate to A5. Each word will follow the same pattern. Not all words are used.
E7 A5 D2 F4, C2, B1 E3 C7 D4 B3, B6 D2 D6 A2 F3 A3 F7 A6, F5, C3 F1 B3, D8 E5 A2 C8 A1. E1 B4 D1 D3 E6 F1 F6 B7, E2 D3 C4 D7 E3 C6 D4 A2 B2, B6 D2 B5 F8 E4 E5 B6 D5 E1 C3 E1 A4 A8 D4 B3” (C5 C1 A7, F2).
Read Ephesians 5:1, NKJV.
Young people are clearly heard by the Savior when they ask, “What’s the point of all this?” The Savior smiles and says, “I knew you were going to ask that! I made you in such a way that you would ask that question!” (Read Deuteronomy 6:20.) God’s goal has never been for us to mindlessly obey a bunch of rules. God wants us to know Him, and to be changed into His image by getting a look at Him through His rules. God has given us some windows into His living room to see what He is like. So the question “What’s the point?” should be “Who’s the point?” There is a saying that has been turned into songs over the decades: “Who gets to make the rules?” In a way, this is a sassy confrontation of authority, demanding independence, and challenging the supposed leader to step out into the open. But if it becomes an honest question about knowing the “Who,” then there is a God who is eager to reveal the answer to us.
In every culture there are values—written or unstated rules that people live by. Also in every culture there are heroes, people who are the very picture of what that culture believes to be good, right, and true. Christ is our greatest hero, who banishes the ridiculous claim that Christianity is all about rules. Christians are all about a Person. The marks of that Person (love, kindness, goodness, honesty, peace, courage, etc.) make the world a better place.
Look up the following Bible texts and fill in the blanks.
1. “But the of the is,,,,,,, and. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23, NIV).
2. “When they saw the of Peter and John and that they were,, they were astonished and they took note that these men had” (Acts 4:13, NIV).
3. “And we have and the that God has for us. is, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is in love; but, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:16-18, NKJV).
4. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your to indulge the; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘ your neighbor as.’ If you bite and each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:13-15, NIV).
5. “Beloved, let us, for love is of God; and is born of God and God. He who does not love does not know God, for. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might” (1 John 4:7-9, NKJV).
Read Matthew 22:36-40.
Review the memory text.
Have you ever looked at a three-dimensional picture and tried to see the hidden picture? It can be difficult at times, but the more you do it, the better you get at seeing through the picture to the image behind. Sometimes we forget to see the person of God in the rules and the qualities of truth, purity, faithfulness, justice, and so on. But remember that God wants to reveal Himself to you through His Word. He isn’t interested in your seeing “just” the rules. Even knowing why it is good to be honest is not enough for God. He wants you to discover Him, not some mystical cloud or a ghostlike force, but a loving Father who knows you will be better off becoming more like Him than like those who are preoccupied with their own pursuits. What an honor to be a child of God. What a joy it is to follow in His footsteps. What a day it will be to see Him face to face and actually recognize Him, not because He is shiny, but because He is everything you have chosen to become.
Choose one character quality you really feel God is calling you to work on. Who do you know today that demonstrates that quality? How? Who in the Bible demonstrates that quality? How? How do you see that quality in the person of God? Reflect on other rules you live by and trace them back to the person of God, or, start with what you love about God and work your way toward what He says to do.
Choose a kingdom citizen/person you know that you really want to be like. In the first space, write their name and what you love most about them (person). In the second space, write a general principle of life they live by (principle). In the third space, write out a law that you think they would write about that principle if they were asked to write a law (precept).