NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Exodus 20:1-5, James 4:1-4
Discussion Questions: What does our culture tell us must be present in our lives for us to be happy? What is an idol? What are the indications that something good has been turned into an idol?
Food for Thought:
What do you really feel has to be present in your life for you to be happy, for life to be worth living? Maybe, if you were really honest, you'd have to admit it's money, the acclaim of others, power or perhaps family.
Is it God? Is He what you most desire and want? Is His presence the one indispensable thing you could not live without?
An idol is whatever takes the place of God in our lives. An idol is whatever we think we could not live without. It is what we think is an absolute necessity for life and happiness.
In Exodus 20:5, God says that an idol is something we "bow down to," which means it commands our obedience. It is something we "serve," which means we pursue it because we feel like we couldn't live without it. As such, it controls our emotions. We are terrified at the prospect of not obtaining it. Finally, it is something we love more than we love God.
Astoundingly, we often try to make God an accomplice in the pursuit of our idols. James said that sometimes when we pray, we don't get what we ask because "you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:3-4)?
We can "pray like adulterers." That's a pretty disturbing analogy, but what does it mean? We are adulterers to God when we demand that He give us certain things so we can find a happiness, contentment and security in these things that we should instead find in Him.
Jesus is the one essential we must have. He is life itself. Jesus is better than money. Jesus is better than human love. Jesus is better than any earthly pleasure. Jesus is better than earthly power. Jesus is better than popularity.
It is a revolutionary, liberating truth that in Christ you have all you need for everlasting joy. His approval and presence are all you need for life and happiness.MasterWork
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool