VFC Bible Study Worksheet 08-Feb-2015


Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – February 8, 2015
Theme: Christian Maturity

Topic: Admitting our feelings

Main Text: Psalm 74:1-23

Key Verse: Psalm 74:1 – “Why have you rejected us for ever, O God?”

Introduction

The mark of maturity we will be discussing in this study is the willingness to face and feel everything that goes on inside us. Many Christians think that admitting to negative feelings is unspiritual, so whenever they feel anything that does not come into the category of “abundant living” they pretend they are not feeling it. Denial is a refusal to face honestly what is in any given situation or experience. Such pretence implies that God is not big enough to deal with such issues, and the best way to handle them is deny them. We must admit to our unpleasant realities, but not make them a central focus.

There are many reasons we deny our unpleasant realities. One is pride – we want to maintain a whitewashed image which in turn protects our “spiritual” reputation. Then there is fear – because we are not convinced that God is all-powerful and can handle whatever we face. Then there is exposure to the damaging teaching in some churches that Christians are not supposed to have problems. Rather than admit to the realities, such Christians would couch their response in very religious pious language like “I don’t have any problems because I am looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of my faith”.

We, Christians included, naturally do our utmost best to avoid pain. But it is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. The things that hurt also instruct. This is why mature people learn not to dread problems but see them as learning opportunities. A psychologist said, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. But the neurosis itself becomes a bigger problem than the legitimate suffering.”

King David was a man after God’s own heart, but his living in denial proved disastrous for Israel. (See 2 Samel 13 to 19.) When Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, David appears not to have rebuked Amnon. Then when Absalom executed Amnon, David once again chose denial and did nothing. It has been suggested that this inaction led to the tragedy that befell the entire nation of Israel after Solomon’s death, when the kingdom was divided.

Those who cope with life through denial instead of acknowledging what is going on inside them and leaning on God as they work through their pain, experience not spiritual joy but spiritual impoverishment.


Discussion Questions:

1. Read Matthew 16:22. Do you see a parallel between Peter’s reaction to Christ’s impending death and some modern-day Christian attitudes to adverse situations? Discuss the potential effect of such attitude on the Christian’s maturity.

2. Read Psalm 66:1-10 and Isaiah 48:10-11. How do the Psalmist and Isaiah describe the
refining process? Discuss how denial could frustrate this process.


Prayer:

Father, Teach me to always acknowledge realities – even when they are unpleasant – but keep my eyes fixed on You, knowing that there is no adverse situation You cannot handle. In Jesus’ name I ask it, Amen.

{Partly culled from January/February 1993 edition of Every Day With Jesus by Selwyn Hughes, used by permission of CWR}