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Smarter, Faster, Stronger…Wiser? :: Stronger

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JANUARY 21

STRONGER

A tiny seed, receiving consistent watering over time, can emerge into a massive sequoia tree. The choice to humble ourselves, when watered with the active, steady practice of listening, can grow into something strong and enduring – wisdom. Where do you find yourself in the process of cultivating wisdom that comes from humility?

Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Think of the humblest person you know. Do you tend to view humility as a strength or weakness?

2. Describe a time when you observed pride “catch up” with a proud person. How did it make you feel?

3. Read Proverbs 15:22. Give an example of a situation when listening to others resulted in a stronger idea than you had on your own.

4. Read Proverbs 10:17. What mistakes have you avoided by simply listening to what others say?

5. Read Proverbs 19:10. How hard is it for you to “hold your tongue?” What advice would you offer those trying to discern the balance between speaking up and listening?

6. Read John 12:24. In what way have you chosen to die to yourself in order to cultivate humility?

7. What is something good, strong, and enduring you sense God is wanting to grow in you? What step will you take to ensure you don’t grow weary in the process and miss out on what He is planting in you today?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Proverbs 15:22 – Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 10:17 – Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Proverbs 19:10 – It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!

 John 12:24 – Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

DIGGING DEEPER

To dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, check out the the article “How We Listen to God” by Donna Lindquist. Here’s an excerpt:

In our world today and the busyness of life, it is difficult to find the time to go to a quiet place and focus on God. Let’s face it; we live in a world filled with noise. Almost everywhere we go, and with everything we do, our minds are overwhelmed with images and sounds.…The Scriptures are filled with prayers, songs, stories, and miracles that demonstrate God power and show His desire to communicate with His people…but, in order to hear what God is saying to us, we have to learn to listen. So, check this out: if you take all the letters in the word “LISTEN” you also have all the letters for the word “SILENT.”

In 1 Kings 19, God communicated with Elijah: first came the strong violent wind, then an earthquake and then a fire … but, Scripture says, God was not in any of these. God chose to speak with a still small voice, or gentle whisper…So, in order to hear God’s voice, we must quiet our hearts to listen. What does this mean? How do you practically apply it?

First, we must be intentional in our focus which means that our time, and calendar, must reflect our heart’s desire. This means setting a regular time each day to get alone with God. This can be at home, on a walk, in your car, in the morning or evening, or whatever works best for you….ELIMINATE THE DISTRACTIONS…

Second, we must listen with an open heart and attitude. This means being open and receptive to God’s guidance and instruction, and being willing to obey…God is looking for ways to talk to you — and you will be encouraged to see how He brings favor when you bring an attitude of surrender rather than selfishness.

Third, we must trust that God has a message that is personal — for our provision, protection and purpose. This means leaning into God during difficult financial or emotional days, as well as joyous or rewarding days. We must realize that God loves us and is the only one that can sustain us, and will provide for our every need….When we listen and obey we discover that life is full of promise and purpose and we become more confident in God’s plan for our lives.

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.…” Jeremiah 29:12-13

To read the article in its entirety, go to josh.org/how-do-we-listen-to-god/

SPIRITUAL OUTCOME — gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/wisdom