Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
This study looks at the importance of devotion to God in devotions.
[These notes are from a Bible study taught more than 40 years ago. The notes are in outline form.]
I. Youth Survey
II. Understanding devotions
a. surface problem — devotions
b. root cause — devotion
III. What is devotion?
Phil. 3:10, Paul said that his supreme desire in life was to “know Him.”
a. “O blessed Jesus, Thy love is wonderful. The experiential sense of it here on earth sweetens its terrors. Thou art the full ocean of never-failing delight and satisfaction. When I am favored with the sense of Thy love, my soul is filled and satisfied.”
Charles Wesley wrote, “Oh, love divine, how sweet Thou art! When shall I find my willing heart all taken up by Thee? I thirst, I faint, I die to prove the fulness of redeeming love, thy love, O Christ, to me.”
b. To know Jesus is to love Him
If we love a person, we like to think about him or her. We do not need to be reminded about them. We do not forget their name, or their appearance, their character, their opinions, or tastes, or position, or occupation. They come up before our minds eye many times in a day. Though perhaps far away, they are often present in our thoughts.
If we love a person, we like to hear about them. We find pleasure in listening to people who talk about them. We feel an interest in any report that others make about them. We are all attention when others talk about them and describe their ways, their sayings, their doings, and their plans. Some may hear them mentioned with utter indifference, but our own hearts bound within us at the very sound of their name.
If we love a person, we like their friends. We are favorably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to the one and the same person. When we meet them we do not feel that we are strangers. There is a bond of union between us. They love the person we love, and that alone is an introduction.
If we love a person, we are jealous about their name and honor. We do not like to hear them spoken against without speaking up for them and defending them. We feel bound to maintain their interests and reputation.
If we love a person, we like to talk to them. We tell them all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to them. We find on difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation. However silent and reserved we may be to others, we find it easy to talk to a much-loved friend. However often we may meet, we are never at a loss for matters to discuss. We have always much to say, much to ask, much to describe, much to share.
If we love a person, we like to be always with them. We long to be always in their company. We wish to hold communion with them without interruption or farewell.
If we love a person, we will tell them often that we love them – through words and actions.
IV. How to say “I love you” to Jesus
a. Say “no” to the flesh
Get a small pocket-sized notebook and on each page write down an area of sin in your life (e.g. pride, selfishness, hatred, gossip, gluttony, immoral thoughts and actions, bitterness, stealing, disobedience).
Under each sin, put two columns – one headed “Yes” and the other headed “No.” When you get the desire to sin, bring out your notebook, turn to the particular sin that you want to commit and either check “Yes” or “No.”
b. Conquer our prayerlessness
Get another notebook and call it your “Life Notebook.”
In the first section, title it “The War — Conquering My Prayerlessness.” On the first page, write down your personal prayer goals. On the following pages, title them with “The Battle.” Then on each page make three columns:
Date Won Lost
On each line, put the date from the day you begin. At the end of each day or each prayer period, evaluate your prayer life for that day with your personal prayer goals on page 1. If you reached your goal, check the Won column. If you didn’t reach your goal, either spend the time with God in prayer or check the Lost column.
c. Put right the wrong things in our lives
Take the Life Notebook and make another section called “Righting the Wrong.” Make four columns:
Date Wrongs Committed Date Wrongs Righted
When you wrong someone or God, put down the date and the wrong that was committed. When you right that wrong against God or someone, put down the date and what you did to right the wrong.
d. Live to the honor of Christ
Take two sheets of paper and head one “Honoring Christ” and the other “Dishonoring Christ.” On the first sheet list all of the things that you are doing and all of the things that you could do to bring honor to Jesus. On the second sheet, list all of the things that you are doing or could be doing to bring dishonor to Jesus. Post both sheets side by side somewhere in your bedroom, on a mirror, closet door, etc. Every day, take a few minutes to go over the lists and see if your life is honoring or dishonoring to Jesus.
e. Give priority to your daily seasons of secret tarrying with Christ. Take another sheet of paper and list your priorities in life. What’s first, second, third, fourth, etc. After you’ve done that, evaluate your priorities to see if Jesus has first place in your life. If He doesn’t, then pray about it and ask God to show you the area of sin in your life that is hindering this most wonderful of relationships. If God is not first place in your life, it may be because of one of these basic reasons:
- You have a temporal value system
- You have a floating root of bitterness
- You are morally impure
It’s important to be absolutely honest with yourself.
F. Contemplate on the love, purity, grace, goodness and kindness of Jesus.
In your Life Notebook, make another section and title it “My Search For Christ.” Take five sheets of paper and on each one list one of the five attributes of Jesus listed above (love, purity, grace, goodness, kindness). On one paper put Love. On another put Purity. On another Grace. On another Goodness. On another Kindness. Then under each heading search throughout the New Testament and write out the verses you find that deal with the subject listed.
G. Share every secret with Jesus.
Places to share secrets:
- in prayer time
- in the car
- at school
- at church
- on the play field
- in the doctor’s office
- while you’re waiting for a friend
- other ideas …….
Let’s go over those seven things again:
- Say “No” to the flesh
- Conquer our prayerlessness
- Put right the wrong things in our lives
- Live to the honor of Christ
- Give priority to our daily seasons of secret tarrying with the Lord
- Contemplate on His love, His purity, His grace, His goodness, His kindness
- Share every secret with Him
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you, your family and your ministry.]