September 24, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

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Spirit-Filled Heart
Ezekiel 36:22-32

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“On Reputation and Responsibility”

Recently, my friends on Twitter and Facebook have shared a viral meme, a picture of an unfaithful man walking with his significant other. He’s wearing a blue plaid shirt, and his significant other is wearing a sleeveless sky blue blouse. As a young lady wearing red walks past the man, he gazes at her while his partner looks at him in disgust for cheating with his eyes. One popular take on this meme is the image of the man with the caption, “me”; his significant other has the caption, “the unread, untouched books that I have sitting at home”; and the young woman in the red dress has the caption, “new books at the bookstore.”

This meme tells some truth. We sometimes want what we don’t have because it’s new and everyone else seems to want that new thing too. Trends come and go. Popularity is the name of the game. Even Christian authors work their hardest to gain publicity by sharing their opinion pieces as they pray that their books strike a chord with both Christian and general audiences. Whether it is a new book published by an up-and-coming author or the newly introduced iPhone X, our gratitude and faithfulness are tested daily.

The struggle for contentment is a spiritual battle that starts in our minds and hearts. The prophets understood the centrality of the human heart and the importance of dedicating it to Yahweh. Ezekiel knew that if the Israelites were to once again live in a right relationship with the LORD, they would have to receive new hearts. In Hebrew, the word leb can mean mind, inner person, heart, and/or will.

Our emotions are not arbitrarily separated from our rational faculties or our freedom to obey God. As believers, faithfulness is not something we can accomplish as either rugged individuals or noble communities; rather, a sanctified life is a free gift shared and given to us by the breath of God (Ezekiel 37:14). We can hope that God will gift the church with holiness and love so the meme shows the cheating guy gawking at our Christian witness rather than the turmoil of the world.

—Rod Thomas,

© 2017

Rod Thomas is a child-centered, fair-minded academic; a Christian who sometimes writes; and an aspiring preacher and layperson at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is actively involved in his congregation’s homeless and children’s ministries and is a syndicated blogger for MennoNerds.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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