Bible Study: Dec. 18, 2016
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: Psalm 37:1-7, 18, 23-24
Discussion Questions: Is it really possible to keep up with the Joneses? What is necessary for anyone -- rich, poor, or middle-class -- to walk through the "eye of the needle" (Matthew 19:24)? What will be the sincere desire of your heart when you commit your way to the Lord?
Food for Thought:
In C. S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce," a new ghost arrives at paradise with a lizard on his lapel. The gatekeeper informs him that lizards are not welcome in the New Eden. He must throw the lizard to the ground and stomp it to death. This will demonstrate that his heart is worthy of the new world. The ghost agonizes over his dilemma. He dearly wants entrance into paradise, but the little lizard has long been his intimate friend. How could he give up his fondest preoccupation? Could he bear the separation? Could heaven be heaven without his dear companion?
What fascinates me most is what Lewis does not say about the lizard, this unrelenting addiction. The beast had no doubt sprung from the ghost's petty indulgences and was so tolerated it at last became his master. This demonic abuser has stayed front and center all through the ghost's lifetime, spoiling the ghost's appearance, making its demands, soiling his tunic, burdening him with its fatigue, beguiling him with its scaly ugliness. Still, the lizard has lived there with the ghost's permission, lending him security. How, indeed, can he give it up without being alone? The lizard has become the focal point for this poor spiritual neurotic. He has cherished his addiction, which all his life has kept him from great abundance.
The questions are for us as well. If we abandon our natural dependency, will we find another companion? The man in the story at last tears the lizard from his clothes and throws it to the ground. Despite its piteous cries for mercy, he crushes it. The corpse of the little beast is then transformed before his eyes. It rises in splendor as a proud steed on which the one-time victim rides through the gates of heaven in triumph. Out of his poverty and renunciation he rides into a new fellowship with the all-powerful Christ.
How frequently are we beguiled into giving up the abundances God has designed for us by the slithering deceptions around us?
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.