Read an Excerpt
Fruit of the Spirit
Fruit of the Spirit Bible Studies
By Phyllis J. Le Peau, Jack Kuhatschek, Jacalyn Eyre, Stephen Eyre, Peter Scazzero
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2001Phyllis J. LePeau
All rights reserved.
In the book Too Busy Not to Pray, Bill Hybels writes, "To people in the fast lane, determined to make it on their own, prayer is an embarrassing interruption.... Where does the still, small voice of God fit into our hectic lives? When do we allow him to lead and guide and correct and affirm? And if this seldom or never happens, how can we lead truly authentic Christian lives?"
God calls every believer first to himself and then to ministry. One of the greatest dangers facing us today is our tendency to be so involved in various activities that we lose that "sincere and pure devotion to Christ" spoken about by the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:3). God wants us to be filled with passion and love for his Son, Jesus Christ.
This story of Jesus and the sinful woman illustrates the kind of simple devotion that God desires.
1. Think of a person who has "fallen in love." How are his or her attitudes, priorities, and other relationships affected?
2. Read Luke 7:36–50. How would you describe the setting of this story (the place, the people present, the atmosphere, and so on)?
3. In what ways does the woman demonstrate lavish devotion to Jesus (vv. 36–38)?
4. Imagine yourself at Simon the Pharisee's dinner table. What might you feel during this woman's interruption?
Why do you think her actions offend Simon (v. 39)?
5. In what ways could we express extravagant devotion to Jesus today?
How might that upset some people around us?
6. What does it cost this woman to publicly show her love for Jesus?
What are the costs for you?
7. What point does Jesus make for Simon in the parable of the two debtors (vv. 40–43)?
8. Why does Jesus contrast Simon's hospitality with that of the woman (vv. 44–46)?
According to Jesus, what does it indicate when a person has little love for him (v. 47)?
9. What further blessings does the sinful woman receive from Jesus as a result of her faith (vv. 48–50)?
10. With whom do you relate more: Simon the Pharisee, who knows the Bible and is very active for God, or this woman, who loves God with reckless abandon? Explain.
11. Why is a passionate love for Jesus so vital if we are to have healthy, loving relationships with others?
12. What obstacles in your life are hindering you from a single-minded devotion to Jesus?
PRAY ABOUT IT
Take a few minutes now to focus your heart and mind on Jesus in prayer, expressing words of affection and adoration to him. Then ask God to help your love for him to be as lavish as his forgiveness.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Before people die, they often share the concerns greatest on their hearts. In John 17 we read Jesus' final words prior to his death. The end of this magnificent prayer climaxes in Jesus praying that the love the Father has for him might be in us. Meditate on and memorize John 17:26. Imagine the perfect, pure love of the Father toward his Son, Jesus, and then imagine yourself loving Jesus with that kind of love. In the coming days, pray for God to give you the love he has for Jesus. You can be sure God will answer that prayer! He is eager for us to integrate that kind of prayer into our devotional lives.CHAPTER 2
Loving God's Family
Richard Foster notes the difference between choosing to be a servant and choosing to serve. When we choose to serve, we are still very much in charge. We decide whom we will serve, when we'll do it, and to what extent. We exclaim, "I won't let him walk all over me!"
Servants, on the other hand, have surrendered their right to choose who and when they will serve. All of their life is seen from the perspective of a slave. They no longer possess the rights of free men and women. They are completely available and vulnerable!
In John 13 Jesus shows us what it means to be a loving servant.
1. Is it more difficult for you to serve some people than others? Why?
2. Read John 13:1–17. How do verses 1–3 set the stage for what is to follow?
3. What three things does Jesus know (vv. 1, 3)?
In light of this, why are Jesus' actions so extraordinary?
4. How does knowing who you are, where you've come from, and where you're going enable you to better serve others?
5. Imagine yourself as one of the Twelve, reclining at the table with Jesus. What might you have seen, heard, and felt as Jesus rose to wash your feet?
6. Foot washing in Jewish eyes was something even Jewish slaves were not required to do. This was a task reserved for Gentile slaves, wives, and children. (Prior to Jesus, women and children did not hold a very esteemed place in Jewish society.) What, then, did Jesus' action demonstrate?
7. Read the dialogue between Jesus and Peter in verses 6–10. Why does Peter reject Jesus' ministry to him?
8. Peter is thinking of literal washings. What do you think Jesus means by his statements in verses 8 and 10?
9. Most Bible scholars see the bath as the washing of forgiveness at conversion and the foot washing as the cleansing of daily dirt (sin) we pick up along the way. How do these acts beautifully illustrate our relationship with Jesus Christ?
10. What point does Jesus powerfully drive home in verses 12–17?
11. Jesus says, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (v. 15). How do you think Jesus expected the disciples to follow his example?
12. What does it mean today for you to "wash someone's feet"? (Give practical examples.)
13. Why do you think Jesus says that to do this will bring blessing (or happiness; v. 17)?
14. Jesus knew that Judas was a traitor and his enemy. Yet he washed his feet too. Think of one or two people who might be difficult to serve. In what practical ways might you "wash their feet" by serving them?
PRAY ABOUT IT
Pray that God would cause the servant heart of Christ to be formed in you, that you wouldn't simply do acts of a servant, but that you would be a servant.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Think through specific opportunities to serve another person, such as the common courtesy of a thank-you note, a letter or email of appreciation, a phone call of affirmation, an invitation to your home, a listening ear, or a helping hand. Begin each day by praying, "Lord Jesus, today bring into my path someone whom I can serve."
Excerpted from Fruit of the Spirit by Phyllis J. Le Peau. Copyright © 2001 by Phyllis J. LePeau. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.