ENEMIES OF THE HEART
Proverbs 4:23 tells us that we are to guard our hearts because EVERYTHING we do comes from them. In other words, if our hearts aren't healthy we can't expect to live healthy lives either. This series examines some of the major enemies to a healthy heart and introduces some "heart-habits" that we can adopt to stay healthy. To dive deeper into these issues, we strongly suggest your pick up the book this series is based on, "Enemies of the Heart" by Andy Stanley.
JUNE 16--If you are breathing, you know the feeling. That strong emotion that comes up when you are confronted with someone who has gotten what you want. . . Maybe it is the hair you longed for, the trim build you wish was yours, the SAT score you worked for, the promotion that should have been given to you. Whatever it was, the jealousy that rises in you can destroy your peace of mind and your relationships. How do we overcome the battle of Jealousy?
- Who are the people you are jealous of?
- How has jealousy impacted your relationship with them?
- How do you see God “on the hook” for what you want?
- What would it look like to celebrate what God has done in your life? What God has done for those you are jealous of?
JUNE 9--Many of us have probably been able to look at someone else and notice that they struggle with greed. But then, rarely will anyone look at themselves and say, "I am greedy." We might admit to being cautious, or frugal, or financially conservative...but not greedy! The challenge is pushing past the camouflage of our hearts and revealing what we really believe about the surplus in our life.
- What are some areas in life that you struggle with greed?
- What keeps you from being able to trust God with your future? Your hopes and dreams?
- How have you trained yourself to be generous toward God?
MAY 26--We've all been angry before. Anger comes as the result of not getting what we want or feel we deserve. It creates a debt in our relationships with other people, leaving us feeling like they owe us something. But beyond a reaction or feeling, anger has the potential to become a poison to our hearts if we allow it to remain there. It can cause our stories to get focused on what another person did to us rather than what has been done for us. The only way to free ourselves from anger is to make the choice to forgive. This isn't an easy decision, but when we consider it in light of how we've been forgiven, it's the best decision we can make, not just for the other person, but for ourselves.
- What would those who know you best say about your anger?
- Think of the last time you were angry... What was "taken" from you in that situation?
- What is the most difficult part for you in making the choice to forgive?
- What kind of story do you have to tell relating to anger?
MAY 19--Guilt is a natural response of the heart when we do something that brings loss or pain to someone else. But it becomes an enemy to our hearts when it takes root there rather than moving us to repentance. When we practice the habit of confession, not just with God but with those whom we've wronged, we keep guilt from taking root in our hearts and causing damage and pain to ourselves and to others.
- Think of a time when you've been surprised by something that worked it's way out of your heart. How did you feel?
- What is one way that you've seen guilt work in a positive way in your life?
- Can you think of a time where you've let guilt remain in your heart? Can you see any ways that this impacted you negatively?
- Can you think of anyone you need to practice confession with this week?