Saturday, January 25, 2014

P2-SFS8 - God's Answer to the Blame Game: Propitiation

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 8 – God's Answer to the Blame Game - Propitiation

  • How does God determine truth?
  • Does your opinion affect the truth?
  • Does truth matter any more?
  • Does God ever change truth?
  • Does God accommodate man, or is man meant to accommodate God?
  • Some would argue that information about God and what he tells us, while it is true, is still only relative
  • This is man trying to make God subservient to him, because man does not want to be subject to God
  • There is also a “hard” side to God
  • This is also the reason we can depend on God and his Word
  • God is holy
  • To be consistent to his holiness, sin needs to be punished
  • We covered that in chapter 4 about Justification
  • This may not seem fair, many things God says about sin may not seem fair
  • We may think, God why cant you overlook some things?
  • It is only when we understand the horror of coming under the wrath of a holy God, that we will appreciate what Jesus did for us on the cross
  • He was our substitute. He took on himself the righteous wrath of God that we deserved
  • The depth of God's love for us is revealed by the extreme actions he took for us: Jesus becoming a man and dying a horrible death in our place
  • Isa 53:4-6
  • 1 John 4:9-11
  • Propitiation means that the wrath of someone who has been unjustly nwronged, has been satisfied
  • It is an act that soothes hostility and satisfies the need for vengeance
  • Providing his own sonas the propitiation for our sins was the greatest possible demonstration of God's love for man
  • To understand the need for ptropitiation, we need to think about what God has endured from man
  • From the Garden of Eden, man's story is of greed, hate, lust, pride, rebellion against the God of love and peace
  • Compared to God's holiness even our good deeds are like filthy garments to God
  • Isa 64:6
  • So our sin deserves the righteous wrath of God
  • God is absolutely holy and perfect – 1 Jn 1:5
  • God cannot overlook sin, or compromise by accepting sinful behavior
  • For God to allow even one sin would defile his holiness, lik smearing him with black tar
  • Because God is holy, his aversion to sin is manifested in righteous anger
  • But he is also infinitely loving, hence Jesus' extreme sacrifice in our place, to propitiate his great wrath
  • Rom 5:7-11
  • God saw what happened to Jesus
  • He could have stopped it and delivered Jesus from the whole ordeal
  • God looked down through time and saw you and me
  • Yet though we were his enemies, he loved us and longed to rescue us from our sins, so he designated Jesus to becopme our substitute
  • Jesus became sin for us - 2 Cor 5:21
  • Nothing can separate us from God's love - Rom 8:38-39
  • We now have a tender, intimate, powerful relationship with him – Rom 8:15
  • Therefore, performance opn our part is no longer the basis of our worth
  • We are deeply and unconditionally loved by God
  • We were spiritually dead, but we are now alive, and have been made his children
  • Eph 2:4-9
  • Propitiation thus means that Christ has satisfied the holy wrath of God through his payment for our sin
  • The only reason he would do this, is that he loves us
  • Infinitely, eternally, unconditionally, irrevocably, he loves us
  • There is nothing we can do that can pay fopr our sins
  • Christ paid for them conclusively, so we can escape eternal condemnation and experience his love now and forever
  • Poor patterns of motivation
    • All our lives people have made us feel bad about ourselves in order to motivate us
    • we us e this on others as well
  • Holding on to unforgiveness
    • Here are some reasons why we don't forgive:
      • the offense was too great
      • they won't accept responsibility
      • they are not truly sorry
      • they didn't ask to be forgiven
      • they did it deliberately
      • I'll forgive but won't forget
      • I'll forgive because I found an excuse for the offense
    • Satan's lie is “Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished
    • So he brings accusation to God
    • Rev 12:10-11
  • How do we overcome the accuser?
  • There is only one way , by accepting Jesus' sacrifice in our place
  • This requires that we stop trying to punish ourselves by doing penance in some form
  • Sometimes we feel we can't experience forgiveness until we have experienced remorese for an extended time
  • But this will ultimately make us more and more depressed
  • No matter how much we do to make up for our sin, we will continue to feel guilty and believe we need to do more, unlress we resist Satan's accusations
  • This is only possible only through Jesus
  • Our own minds are not the source of truth
  • Truth comes from the Bible
  • On a card or piece of paper, write the following: “Because of Christ and His redemption, I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted by God.”
  • On the other side of the card or paper, write out the words of Romans 5:1 and Colossians 1:21-22
  • Carry this card with you the next month
  • Look at it frequently to remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you
  • This will slowly transform your thinking and bring it in line with God's word

Discussion Questions

  • Are there any sins God can overlook?
  • Read Ezek 7:8-9, Rom 2:4-5, Eph 2:1-3 – what is the object of God's wrath?
  • Read 1 John 4:9-10
    • Are you loved by the Father?
    • How do you know you are loved?
    • Do you feel loved?
  • Are there sins you have difficulty forgiving? List them and confess them to God

P2-SFS7 - The Blame Game

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 7 – The Blame Game

  • Have you ever wondered how a critical, judgmental petrson lives with him or herself?
  • The answer is: not very well
  • Our perception of success and failure is often our primary basis for evaluating ourselves and others
  • If we believe that performance reflects ones value, and
  • if we believe that failure makes one unacceptable and unworthy of love, then
  • we will usually feel justified in condemning those who fail, including ourselves
  • Self condemnation may include name-calling (I'm so stupid – I can't do anything right), making jokes in which we put ourselves down (self-deprecating), or we allow no room for error in our performance
  • With others we may be harsh (physically or verbally abusive), or more subtle (sarcastic or silent)
  • Any form of condemnation is destructive and communicates I'll make you sorry for what you did!
  • For example, being told you are a failure, a liar, a thief, you will never amount to anything
  • Makes you depressed when feeling good, because you feel you have no right to feel good
  • False belief = Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished
  • We all tend to point an accusing finger assigning blame for virtually every failure
  • When we fail to receive approval we are likely to search for a reason, a culprit, or a scapegoat
  • If we find no one else to blame, we blame ourselves
  • When we find someone to blame we figure they deserve to be punished, and we let others know it is not our fault
  • Another reason we blame others is that their failure is a threat to our success
  • When another's failure blocks our success we usually defend ourselves and blame them – this puts a safe distance between their failure and our fragile self-worth
  • We often use condemnation to manipulate them to do better
  • We tend to always be looking for someone to take the blame
  • Blaming others makes us feel better and superior
  • Alternatively, we may readily take blame on ourselves
  • When a parent fails, a child often accepts the blame
  • As adults we may do the same with our superiors
  • We have a big investment in supporting those we depend on, even at the cost of denial
  • If the one who fails is a Christian, affirm God's truth: they are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted by God and complete in Christ
  • This changes our condemnation to love and a desire to help
  • We will love them as God loves us – 1 Jn 4:11
  • We forgive them as God forgave us - Eph 4:32
  • We accept them as God accepted us – Rom 15:7
  • Our reaction to their faults will change from condemnation to compassion
  • If they are not a Christian yet, we love our neighbor – Matt 22:37-39 – we pray for and love our enemies – Lk 6:27-28
  • There is nothing anyone can do to me that compares to my sin of rebellion against God, which is now completely forgiven
  • 1. We condemn them not only for sin but also for genuine mistakes
  • When people try their best and fail, they don't need biting blame, bur love and encouragement
  • We blame because their actions make us look bad, and our own failure is unacceptable to us
  • Husband/wife, parent /child, employer/employee are especially vulnerable to feeling thrreatened by another's failure
  • 2. A second error is that we are God's agent of condemnation
  • While we recognize sin deserves condemnation, judgment is God's responsibility, not ours
  • It takes wisdom to deal with others offenses
  • Need to express our emotions in a safe environment
  • Need a good friend or counselor, who helps us get in touch with our true feelings which may have been suppressed for years
  • Express self fully to God – read Psalms! - in this environment we can slowly learn how to communicate appropriately with those who hurt us
  • Our feelings do need to be expressed, but is a learning process
  • We can condemn, or we can learn
  • Failing is not being a failure, but on a road to maturity
  • Sometimes we see God as a harsh disciplinarian, and Jesus as our friend – yet they are the same – Heb 1:3
FEAR OF PUNISHMENT/PUNISHING OTHERS TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. I fear what God might do to me
  • 2. After I fail, I worry about Gopd's response
  • 3. When I see someone in a difficult situation, I wondet what they did to deserve it
  • 4. When something goes wrong, I have a tendency to think that God must be punishing me
  • 5. I am very hard on myself when I fail
  • 6. I find myself wanting to blame people when they fail
  • 7. I get angry with God when someone who is immoral or dishonest, prospers
  • 8. I am compelled to tell others when I see them doing wrong
  • 9. I tend to focusd on the faults and failures of others
  • 10. God seems harsh to me
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of punishment that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of punishment controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a fear of punishment. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of punishment forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of punishment dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Self-induced punishment
  • Bitterness
  • Passivity
  • Punishment of others
  • Fears of all sorts

Discussion Questions

  • Do you really deserve to feel good about yourself? Why?
  • Zwhat are the three most negative terms you use to describe self?
  • Does God punish his children?

P2-SFS6 - God's Answer for the Approval Addict: Reconciliation

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 6 – God's Answer for the Approval Addict: Reconciliation

  • Have you given up on experiencing God's complete acceptance?
  • Can God accept a person who is unacceptable because of sin, or does He have to make that person completely acceptable (through salvation) first?
  • Is Christ's payment sufficient to keep you acceptable to God for the rest of your life and beyond?
  • The approval addict fears rejection
  • God's solution to the fear of rejection is based on Christ's payment for our sins
  • Through this payment we receive forgiveness, reconciliation and total acceptance
  • Reconciliation means that enemies have now become friends
  • Col 1:21-22
  • Pam – committed adultery – confessed her sin to God and to her husband and had been forgiven
  • Yet she still could not forgive herself
  • This is because she was looking at her performance
  • But God doesn't base his love and acceptance on our performance
  • God forgives all our sin
  • Col 2:13-15 – our sins are nailed to Jesus' cross
  • Satan's power to condemn us for sin has been taken away
  • Our acceptance in Christ is life-changing
  • It is not only a ticket to heaven, but the start of a new relationship with God
  • Justification is the teaching that explains the judicial facts of our forgiveness and righteousness in Christ
  • Reconciliation explains the relational aspect of our salvation
  • Romans 8:38-39
  • We are sealed in that relationship
  • Eph 1:13-14
  • What happens to our transgressions? - Ps 103:12
  • Why was Christ's blood shed? - Matt 26:28
  • What is God's promise? - John 3:16
  • What is the promise to one who knows and believes? - John 5:24
  • What do His sheep have? Will they perish? - John 10:27-28
  • Of what did the prophets bear witness? - Acts 10:43
  • What does belief do? - Acts 13:39
  • By what are we justified? - Rom 3:23-24
  • Who is blessed? - Romans 4:7
  • Through what are we reconciled? - Rom 5:10
  • Describe our relationship with God – Rom 8:15
  • Who can accuse us? - Rom 8:33
  • Of what is Paul convinced – Rom 8:38-39
  • Describe who we are in Christ – 2 Cor 5:17, 19, 21
  • How are we justified? What part do works play in justification? - Gal 2:16
  • On what basis did Abraham receive righteousness? - Gal 3:6
  • According to what do we receive forgiveness? - Eph 1:7
  • What would you have to do to receive forgiveness? - Heb 9:22
  • After forgiveness, what is to be our sacrifice for sin? - Heb 10:18
  • Who is the perfector of our faith? - Heb 12:2
  • Of what is Peter convinced? - 1 Pet 1:3-4
  • These verses show that we completely acceptable, and thjis is not based on our performance
  • When born again, our fleshly thought life still needs to be brought into alignment with our new reality
  • It may be painful to change the basis of our self-worth, but it will lead to true freedom and maturity in Christ
  • Our lives mean much more than what success or approval or our performance can bring
  • We can do nothing to add to Jesus' free gift of salvation
  • If we base our self-worth on others' approval, we are really saying our abuility to please others is of greater value than Christ's sacrifice
  • God intended for parents to model His character to our children
  • We grew up in family situations where this was expressed to varying extents
  • Some may have grown up in relatively healthy homes, while others may have experienced neglect, condemnation, or the deeper wounds of sexual abuse, physical abuse or abandonment
  • The greater the degree of dysfunction (poor modeling), the greater the potential for emotional, spiritual and relational wounds, and the harder it is to accept God's characteristics in our lives
  • We need new models – loving Christian friends who model God's love and grace
  • This may be through a small group or Bible study
  • God often shows us his love and affirmation through our relationships with others.
  • This helps us to get to know Him better
  • Healthy relationships are turned oputward rather than inward, encourage individuality rather than conformity, independence rather than emotional dependence
  • They point towards the Lord and pleasing him rather than toward pleasing one another
  • Emotionally dependent relationsips:
  • - frequent jealousy, possessiveness, exclusivity, others are a threatr
  • - prefers to spend time alone with this friend, and becomes frustrated when this doesn't happen
  • - becomes irrationally angry or depressed when the other withdraws slightly
  • - loses interestr in other friendships
  • - fantasizing about this person
  • - preoccupied by their appearance, personality, problems, interests
  • - unwilling to make plans that do not include this person
  • - unwilling to see the other's faults realistically
  • - becomes defensive about the relationship
  • - displays physical affection beyond what is appropriate for a friendship
  • - feels free to “speak for” the other
  • exhibits intimacy that makes others uncomfortable
  • My Father is very patient and kind
  • My Father is not envious, never boastful
  • My Father is not arrogant
  • My Father is never rude, nor is he self-seeking
  • My Father is not quick to take offense
  • My Father keeps no score of wrongs
  • My Father does not gloat over my sins
  • My Father knows no end to his trust
  • My Father is always hopeful and patient

Discussion Questions

  • Define reconciliation
  • What is wrong with saying, Thak you Lord, for accepting me when I am so unacceptable?
  • Whom does the Father love more, Jesus Christ, or you? - John 17:19-26, 20:17
  • Think about an instance of rejection. How would believing the truth have changed your response?

P2-SFS5 - The Approval Addict

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 5 – The Approval Addict

  • When we base our self-worth on what we believe others think about us, we become addicted to their approval
  • It may appear as though we are self-sacrificing, always available, and selfless
  • In reality, we may resent people demanding so much from us, it leaves us so little time to spend on ourselves
  • We may find it difficult or impossible to say no, because we feel that if we say yes to all that people ask of us, we will receive their approval
  • We may spend years trying to build relationships, trying to please people and win their respect
  • And yet, if we hear one unappreciative word from somebody, it can totally ruin our sense of self-worth
  • The world is full of people who demand that we please them in exchange for their approval and acceptance
  • This can lead to a secon d false belief – I must be approved by certain othetrs to feel good about myself
  • 1. Believing this lie cause us to bow to peer pressure in an effort to gain approval
  • We may join clubs and organizations hoping to find a place of acceptance
  • We often identify ourselves with social groups, thinking that being with opthers like ourselves will assure acceptance and approval
  • Often people's experimentation with drugs and sex, is a reaction to their need to belong
  • But the drugs and promiscuity promise something they can't fulfil, and the experimentation only results in hurt and an even stonger need for acceptance
  • 2. Another symptom of our fear of rejection is our inability to receive and give love
  • We find it hard to open up our deepest thoughts, because we are afraid others will reject us if they know what we really are like
  • This leads to superficial relationships or isolation
  • Then, the more we isolatge, the more we seek acceptance
  • Loneliness is one of the most dangerous and widespread problems in the country
  • This relates to Christians as well
  • 92% of attenders at a Bible conference said loneliness was a major issue in ytheir lives. There was one basic symptom – all felt despair at feeling unloved and a fear of being unwanted or unaccepted
  • Yet Jesus says – John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
  • The common solution offered to the problem of loneliness is to go and join a group
  • But this is not the answer. Only God can provide that security
  • Turning to others for our acceptance is another way of buying into Satan's lie: Self-worth = Performance + Others' Opinions
FEAR OF REJECTION TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. I avoid certain people
  • 2. When I sense someone may reject me, I become nervous or anxious
  • 3. I am uncomfortable around those who are different than me
  • 4. It bothers me when someone is unfriendly to me
  • 5. I am basically shy and unsocial
  • 6. I am critical of others
  • 7. I find myself trying to impress others
  • 8. I become depressed when someone criticises me
  • 9. I always try to determine what people think of me
  • 10. I don't understand people and what motivates them
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of rejection that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of rejection controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a sense of rejection. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of rejection forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of rejection dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Virtually all of us fear rejection, even if we hardened ourselves when we expect it to happen
  • Being defensive or trying to please people, is the answer
  • they are only coping mechanisms
  • Rejecting others communicates that they are unacceptable to us, or don't measure up to our standard
  • It can be used to manipulate people
  • Usually it is apparent by an outburst of anger, a disgusted look, an impatient answer, or a social snub
  • It communicates disrespect, low value and lack of appreciation. It hurts
  • So why do we so often reject people?
  • Rejection is a powerful motivator
  • We can use rejection to send the messgae that the other person does not meet our targets. We use that person's desire to be accepted , to bend their behaviour to suit our purposes
  • Rejection and guilt are only effective when the person is around, though. For example, a child brought up this way may rebel against this when it achieves freedom
  • A damaging result of the fear of rejection is isolation
  • This can present itself in not opening up to our spouse, not developing deep relationships
  • Sometimes we withdraw and decline almost everything, sometimes we say yes yto almost everything, hoping to gain approval
  • We may be shy and easily manipulated, or we may become defensive when criticized. We may even become hostile
  • Anger, resentment, hostility
  • Being easily manipulated
  • Codependency – being a compulsive rescuer
  • Avoidance of people
  • Control
  • Depression
  • Repeating of negative messages
  • Hypersensitivity to the opinions of others
  • God has a solution – we will see that next session
Discussion Questions

  • Are you hurt by anyone's disrespect or disapproval? Who?
  • How does the fear of rejection or disapproval by these people affect your life?
  • Have people used rejection to manipulate you into doing things their way? Give examples
  • What emotion accompanied these situations?
  • If you run from rejection, are you really in control of your life?

P2-SFS4 - God's Answer to the Performance Trap: Justification

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 4 – God's Answer to the Performance Trap: Justification

  • When God thinks about you, does he deceive himself in some way, or does he know who you truly are?
  • If he knows who we truly are, then why do we say, “In God's eyes I am truly righteous”, “forgiven”, “loved”, “pleasing” and so on? Are we trying to say that God is not living in reality? Or that he overlooks our faults?
  • Eiother he knows who you are, or he doesn't. Playing with words like this dishonors God, and it stops us from experiencing the reality of who we are
  • Now, here is another question. If you see yourself differently than God, who is mistaken, you or God?
  • Yet often we allow our minds to overrule what God says is true
  • We were made by God for God
  • He created needs in us that only he can fill
  • One of these is the need for self-worth
  • When we try to meet that need by other people, we will end up frustrated
  • In our minds, we are constantly talking to ourselves
  • What are we talking about? Often it is about how well we are doing, based on our performance, and others' opinions about us
  • We so often fall into the trap of using the formula:
    • Self-worth = Performance + Others' Opinions
  • This is a lie from Satan, designed to lock us into the performance trap
  • God cancelled this equation totally
  • He has given us a secure self-worth totally apart from our ability to performance
  • When Christ died on the cross more happened than just our forgiveness
  • 2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”
  • So God placed our sin upon Jesus, and gave us his righteousness. What an exchange!
  • We have been justified – made just
  • Justification carries no guilt with it and has no memory of past transgressions
  • Christ paid for all our sins at the cross, past, present and future
  • Hebrews 10:17 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” - quote from Jer 31:34
  • We are completely forgiven by God
  • In the same act of love through which God forgave our sins, he also provided for our righteousness, the worthiness to stand in God's presence
  • By imputing righteousness to us, God attributes Christ's worth to us
  • We are no longer condemned sinners
  • Instead, we are fully forgiven, righteous and are now fully pleasing to God
  • God wants his redeemed to experience the reality of that redemption
  • We are forgiven and righteous by Christ's sacrifice, not by our performance
  • So we are pleasing to God in spite of our failures
  • This reality can replace our fear of failure with peace, hope and joy
  • Failure need not be a millstone around our neck
  • Neither success nor failure is the proper pasis for our self-worth
  • Christ alone is the source of our forgiveness, freedom, joy and purpose
  • This does not mean that our actions are irrelevant
  • Our sinful actions, words and attitudes griev e the Lord, but our staus as holy beloved children remsains intact
  • Addiction to the approval of others
    • We look for other people's approval whren we succeed
    • We love it. This can become an addiction
    • Sometimes we enjoy success so much we leave God to one side
    • We may judge those who fail, and consider ourselves better than them
    • Then when we fail we judge ourselves mercilessly
  • Sense of hopelessness
    • This can either drive us toward depending on God, or into passivity
    • Psassoivity will never achieve victory
    • God wants our active cooperation
  • Desire to live life by some formula
    • In order to receive justification and its results, we must receive it through our relationship with Jesus, not by performing some ritual
  • Need to control
    • If we base our worth on what Christ did for us, we will feel a loss of control
  • Christ's love motivates us to live for him
  • Sin is destructive and should be avoided
  • The Father lovingly disciplines us for wrongdoing
    • Not the same as punishment

Punishment : Discipline
Source -  God's wrath :  God's love
Purpose -  To avenge a wrong : To correct a wrong
Results in - Alienation : Reconciliation
Personal result -  Guilt : A righteous lifestyle
Directed toward - Non-believers :  His children

  • His commands for us are good
  • We will receive eternal rewards for obedience
  • Christ is worthy of our obedience
Discussion Questions

  • What does it mean to be justified? Rom 3:19-28, 4:4-5, 5:1-11

  • Are we as righteous as Christ? 2 Cor 5:21, Col 1:22, 3:12, Heb 10:14

  • Are you remembering sins God has forgotten? Rom 4:6-8, Heb 10:17

  • If your good works don't make you more pleasing to God, why should you be involved in good works?   

P2-SFS3 - The Performance Trap

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Introduction – Chapters 3-10
  • In the next chapters we will examine four false beliefs resulting from Satan's deceptions, their consequences, and God's solutions for our false belief system
  • These false beliefs have varying effects depending on the person, their background, personality traits and other factors
  • The application of biblical truth will vary by person as well.depending on perceptions, methods of learning, and their individual
  • Chapters 3-4
    • False belief – I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself
    • Consequences – fear of failure, perfectionism, drive to succeed, manipulation of others in order to succeed, withdrawal from healthy risks
    • God's answer – Justification – God has not only forgiven me but also granted me the righteousness of Christ. Because of justification, I bear Christ's righteousness, and I am therefore fully pleasing to the Father (Rom 5:1)

Chapter 3 - The Performance Trap

  • Why do we sometimes tolerate failure in someone else, but we cannot tolerate it in ourselves?
  • If we can't tolerate failure, how many opportunities will pass us by without our taking the challenge?
  • How different would your life be without the fear of failure?
  • Most are unaware how thoroughly Satan has deceived us
  • We are captives of our inability to meet our standards consistently, and we are slaves of low self-esteem
  • This keeps us from experiencing the love, freedom and purposes of Christ.
  • We reach a true mark of maturity when we start to test our deceitful thoughts, by comparison with the Word of God (Col 2:8, 1 Cor 2:16)
  • We tend to believe that success will bring fulfillment and happiness, and we feel that if we meet certain standards we will feel good about ourselves
  • But we fail and this makes us feel bad. Even occassional failure may be so devastating that it dominates our perception of ourselves.
  • Failure to meet our standards threatens our security and significance
  • We become afraid to fail, and carry around a fear of failure
  • Some of us respond to the fear of failure by becoming perfectionists, continually driving ourselves towards attaining goals
  • Perfectionists can be quite vulnerable to mood disorders and often anticipate rejection when they believe they have not met the standards they are trying so hard to achieve
  • They tend to react defensively to criticism and have a need to be in control of every situation they meet
  • Because they are more competent than most, they see nothing wrong with their compulsions
  • The problem is not with wanting to do well, the problem is that they often base their self-worth on their ability to accomplish a goal
  • Failure is a threat and totally unacceptable for them
FEAR OF FAILURE TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. Because of fear I often avoid joining in certain activioties
  • 2. When I sense that I might experience failure in some important area, I become nervous and anxious
  • 3. I worry
  • 4. I have unexplained anxiety
  • 5. I am a perfectionist
  • 6. I am compelled to justify my mistakes
  • 7. There are certain areas in which I feel I must succeed
  • 8. I become depressed when I fail
  • 9. I become angry with people who interfere with my attempts to succeed and as a result make me appear incompetent
  • 10. I am self-critical
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of failure that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of failure controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a sense of failure or some form of criticism. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of failure forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of failure dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Perfectionism – an unwillingness to fail
    • this can be in work, punctuality, housecleaning, our appearance, hobbies, skills
    • our motivations usually come from a desperate attempt to avoid the low self-esteem they experience when they fail
    • perfectionists are often appreciated because they can be counted on to do a thorough job – they are often taken advantage of for this reason
  • Avoidance of risks
    • new, challenging activities are avoided because of the risk of failure
  • Anger and resentment
    • When we fail, or when others contribute to our failure, or when we are hurt in some way, anger is a normal response
    • we look for someone to blame
    • fear of failure is often the source of self-condemnation
    • if we fail greatly or often enough, we can start to expect failure in most things we do
  • Pride
    • when our self-worth is based on performance, we can develop an inflated view of ourselves
  • Depression
    • depression is generally a result of anger turned inward, or from a deep sense of loss
    • experiencing and fearing failure can lead to depression
    • we may become emotionally numb and passive (blocking pain), or we may have outbursts of anger resulting from failure
  • Low motivation
    • low motivation or laziness is often due to hopelessness
    • if we believe we will fail we stop trying
  • Chemical dependency
    • many people try to ease their pain and fear of failure by using drugs opr alcohol
  • Addiction to success
    • when you succeed, tomorrow you will have to do it all over again
  • Sense of hopelessness
    • when you determine not to make a mistake it will paralyze you
  • Anger at ourselves and God
    • our anger at God stops us from receiving the help he willingly offers us
  • We will all experience the fear of failure to some degree
  • But with the Holy Spirit, our thinking can change
  • Romans 12:2, Eph 4:22-24
  • Psalm 107:33-36
  • Has your fruitful land become a salt waste?
  • Perhaps God is wanting you to learn something – that success or failure is not the basis of your self-worth
  • Perhaps he allows us to experience the pain of failure, so we can recognize it and grow and develop, and understand our own behavior as well as that of others

Discussion Questions

  • What are some situations where your performance did not measure up to the standard you had set yourself? (Think about the standards you set yourself, the thoughts you were having, your emotions, and your actions)

  • Why do people use performance as a measure of self-worth?

  • Do you have to be successful in order to feel good about yourself? What would you have to do to feel like a success?

  • In what areas would you never allow yourself to fail?

  • What Christian activities do you use to evaluate yourself spiritually? Do these make you more pleasing to God?

  • What things do you do in order to avoid failure?

  • What would your life be like without the fear of failure?

P2-SFS - The Origin of the Search

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 2- The Origin of the Search

  • Last week we looked at some of our emotional battles
  • These issues make us ask the question: has God always had solutions for our emotional struggles, or did he have to wait for psycholgists to come up with the answers?
  • The Old Testament tells us about the original incident of sin, and the “fall of man”
  • Gen 3:6-7
  • The first man lived in close relationship with God
  • He was made complete and perfect, in the image of God (Gen 1:26-28)
  • His purpose was to demonstrate God's holiness (Psa 99:3-5).
  • God's major attribute is love
  • So man's purpose included expressing love and patience (1 Cor 13:4), wisdom (James 3:13, 17), comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4), forgiveness (Heb 10:17), faithfulness (Ps 89:1-2, 5, 8) and grace (Ps 111:4)
  • Man was to be the showcase of God's glorious character. He was a very important creation, to God
  • God created a woman to fill man's need for companionship and understanding, and gave her to Adam as his wife
  • God placed them in the setting of a perfect environment, a beautiful garden where God supplied their physical needs
  • They had the responsibility of supervising this paradise
  • And God filled their spiritual needs by visiting them and talking with them personally
  • Adam and Eeve were perfect in body mind and spirit.
  • Isa 14:12-15
  • Like Adam and Eve, Satan was created in perfection
  • When created, his name was Lucifer, which means “morning star” or “light-bearer”
  • He was to be the highest rank of angel, created to glorify God
  • He was created as a beautiful and powwerful being, and served in God's presence
  • He allowed all this to go to his head and rebelled against God
  • He was thrown out of heaven, with the third of the angels who had followed him
  • He then appeared to Adam and Eve in the form of a snake, more crafty than any other beast of the field
  • Adam had been given authority over the earth, just as Lucifer had been given a position in heaven
  • But if, like Lucifer, man rebelled against God, he would lose his authority and perfection
  • Man would become a slave to Satan and to sin (Rom 6:17), and become subject to God's wrath or punishment (Eph 2:3)
  • Satan wanted to destroy man's destiny, so that Satan could reign on earth
  • His method was to deceive Eve, who fell to the temptation to disobey God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
  • Eve thought doing so would make her wise and like God
  • Adam was not deceived though, he deliberately chose to sin, and thus leave the love and security he had with God (1 Tim 2:14)
  • Man now lost his closeness with God, he abdicated his position of rulership over the earth and gave it to Satan
  • In other words, man lost his whole reason for being
  • God had a solution in mind to restore the original order of things
  • As the supreme evidence of God's love for us, he sent Jesus to die, so our sins could be forgiven
  • Jesus became our substitute and we are offered a complete pardon for our sins
  • If we accept this forgiveness, the penalty is paid, and our relationship with God is now restored.
  • Man is not lost forever!
  • We can be restored to the security and significance for which we were created
  • This forgiveness is a gift, undeserved.
  • Are you trusting in your own abilities to earn God's acceptance?
  • On a scale of 0 to 100, how sure are you that you would spend eternity with Jesus, if you died today?
  • If your answer is less than 100, you are trusting in part on yourself
  • The fact is, that Jesus did it all. He restored our relationship with God
  • Titus 3:4-5
  • We have probably heard about Jesus and the cross. This is of no value to us, unless we accept the gift God is offerning, for ourselves, and commit ourselves to walking with Him, living His way
  • All your sins are forgiven (Col 2:13-14)
  • You are now a child of God (John 1:12, Rom 8:15)
  • You receive eternal life (John 5:24)
  • You are rescued from Satan's domain, and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13)
  • Jesus comes to dwell within you (Col 1:27, Rev 3:20)
  • You are now a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
  • You have now been declared righteous by God (2 Cor 5:21)
  • You now have a loving relationship with God (1 John 4:9-11)
  • You are accepted by God (Col 1:19-22)
  • Satan would like you to believe that man is supreme, and the center of intelligence
  • He would like you to think you don't need God.
  • He would also like you to think that Jesus' sacrifice on your behalf is not sufficient, that you need to do all kinds of things to still earn God's acceptance.
  • He would like you to depend on your own efforts to earn your significance or self-worth
  • Becauser of his separation from God, mankind believes this
  • Satan's lie is this formula:
  • Self-worth = Performance + Others' Opinions
  • This means we become dependent on others' opinions before realizing our self-worth
  • We become dependent on having to do certain thing in order to feel good about ourselves
  • Our beliefs → thoughts → emotions → actions
  • But Jesus gave us our significance as an undeserved gift

Discussion Questions

  • What do you think it means for man to be c reated in God's image?
  • What are two responsibilities God gave to Adam?
  • How do you think this made man feel about himself?
  • How did the Fall affect man's desire for significance?
  • If you died tonight, hopw sure are you that God would let you into heaven?
  • How do you feel about others' opinions about you? Do they shape how you see yourself?
  • How do your beliefs about yourself affect your actions?

P2-SFS1 - The Light Comes On

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 1 – The Light Comes On
  • We seem to have it together
  • Sometimes we fall into patterns of behavior that seem to be working
  • We are able to control the people around us through attitudes and intimidation, and we seem to be successful
  • Then one day it all falls apart
  • Our wife and children are gone and we are alone. Very alone
  • Reality is a moment when the light goes on and we would like to do it all over

We have been hurt
  • We don't realize how destructive our behaviors have been until the light comes on
  • Many of us have been hurt emotionally, relationally and spiritually but have not really known the extent of our wounds and how we can recover
  • We lack objectivity in looking at ourselves.
  • We may say the right things but not believe them for ourselves
  • We have questions like: Why don't I feel close to my spouse? We think success is what counts in life. We experience loneliness or resentment.

What stops us from looking at things the way they are?
  • Why do we lack objectivity?
  • When we were hurt in the past, we developed ways to cope with it.
  • We suppress emotions, we're compulsive perfectionists, we are driven to succeed, we withdraw and become passive, we attack people who hurt us, we punish ourselves when we fail, we say clever things to be accepted, we help others so we will be appreciated, etc.
  • Sometimes we are forced into a situation where we have to start dealing with it
  • Or maybe we want to change but don't know how
  • It is hard to be objective by ourselves.

We need guidance and encouragement
  • We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and usually we need the honesty and encouragement of at least one other person who wants to help us.
  • We may become depressed when we see the effects of our wounds
  • We may have scars from neglect, abuse, manipulation, that come from living in a dysfunctional family
  • These scars may be alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, absent father or mother, a hot temper, verbal abuse, physical abuse, etc.
  • Perhaps we don't feel as though we are like this – but all of us carry the effects of a fallen sinful nature, or the imperfections of others

We need God's support
  • Often we think that God doesn't really want to know
  • But God does want us to be honest with Him
  • “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost places” (Psa 51:6)
  • When we read through the Psalms we see that David was like us too, in that he experienced God's love and forgiveness
  • He also experienced different emotions and expressed them to God: Psa 42:9 (abandonment), Psa 58:6-9 (anger), Psa 55:4-5 (despair), Psa 44:24-25 (despair), Psa 13:1-2 (confusion)
  • He also expressed his love of God (Psa 42:1-2), his trust in the Lord (Psa 27:1-3), and he praised God (Psa 145:1-3).
  • So we see that David was honest with God about what he was feeling, good and bad

Why didn't it work before?
  • We may have done programs and seminars but they didn't work before
  • This may have been because of perceptions we have of ourselves
  • These may be:
    • God doesn't really care about me
    • I am an unlovable, worthless person
    • Nobody will ever love me
    • I'll never be able to change
    • I've been a failure all my life, I guess I'll always be a failure
    • If people really knew me, they wouldn't like me
  • It can hurt to recognize these or other perceptions in ourselves

Healing is possible
  • But God's love and His word can, over time, bring healing to even our deepest wounds, and give us an appropriate sense of self-worth
  • The purpose of the book is to:
    • Understand the nature of man's search for significance, or self-worth
    • Recognize and challenge inadequate answers
    • Apply God's solutions to your search for significance
  • There are two options we can use to determine our self-worth:
    • The world's way: Self-worth = Performance (what you do) + Others' opinions (what others say or think about you)
    • God's way: Self-worth = God's Truth about You

Discussion Questions
  • How would you define self-worth?
  • Are you glad you are you? Do you have a healthy sense of self-worth?
  • List some activities, relationships or achievements that make you feel better about yourself
  • List some activities, relationships or achievements that make you feel worse about yourself
  • What difference would it make if you realized that your self-worth is not conditional, based on performance, but is based on the Truth that your self-worth is based on God's unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance
  • Whose opinion do you value most? What would be your usual answer to this question?

P1-MPP11 - Coming to Terms With The Blessing

Making Peace With Your Past
Unit 11 – Coming to Terms with the Blessing

Memory verse: Proverbs 3: 27-28, NIV “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” — when you now have it with you.”
Affirmations to repeat: “I am blessed.”

Day 1: What is the Blessing?

Q1. Referring to pg 187, list verbal statements your parents made to you that communicated blessing.

Q2. List nonverbal messages your parents gave you that communicated a withheld blessing? Pg 188

Q3. List some of the other significant adults who positively or negatively affected your sense of being blessed and why?

Day 2: Ways Dysfunctional Families Distort the Blessing

Q4. Was the blessing kept slightly out of your reach? How was this communicated? How have you responded in your adult life? Pg 189

Q5. Briefly review and paraphrase the four confusing ways the dysfunctional family withholds the blessing. Pg 191

Day 3: Recovering from the Missing Blessing

Q6. What are you going to do about the absence of the blessing in your life? Describe how you will utilize the healthy ways of seeking the blessing outside your family of origin. Pg 195

Day 4:
Grieving for the Missing Blessing
Q7. What are your feelings about yourself at this moment? Have you allowed yourself to grieve for the absence of the blessing in your life? Pg 197

Q9. What is your fantasy about your family of origin? Pg 198

Day 5: Sharing the Blessing with Others

Q10. Referring to Pg 199- 200, list at least four of the things you can say to bless someone in your life.

Q11. Write a plan for how you can bless at least five people in your life.

Q15. What are the major lessons you have learned as you progressed through this unit? (half page)

P1-MPP10 - Forgiving the People Who Have Hurt You

Making Peace With Your Past
Unit 10 - Forgiving the People Who Have Hurt You

Memory verse:
Luke 23:34, NIV – “Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Affirmations to repeat: “Because God has forgiven me, I can forgive others.”

Day 1: Denying the Need to Forgive

Write out what each of the following roadblocks means to you personally.

Q1. Roadblock 1: chronic-shock syndrome. Pg 173

Q2. Roadblock 2: fear. Pg 174

Q3. Roadblock 3: The “I had good parents” syndrome. Pg 174

Q4. Roadblock 4: “Good Christians do not get angry.” Pg 175

Q5. Which are the main roadblocks in your life today?

Day 2: Understanding What Forgiveness Is Not

Q6. Describe a situation where you have been unwilling to forgive someone because you thought that forgiving would imply approval of his/her behavior?

Q7. Share an example of when you forgave someone but the pain of what they did, did not go away.

Q8. How have others in your life exercised dysfunctional forms of control over you?

Day 3: Understanding What Forgiveness Is

Q9. Describe the kind of forgiveness you need to express toward the people who hurt you as a child. Pg 180-181

Q10. Whom do you need to forgive and what did they do to you?

Q11. What do you need to do to be ready to forgive?

Day 4: Letting Go of the Past

Q12. List the ways that forgiveness can be blocked. Pg 182-183

Q13. Write out the verse Ephesians 4:32.

Q14. What does Jesus want us to do in that verse?

Day 5: Deciding to Forgive

Q15. Make a list of painful childhood events that stand out. Include the people who participated in the events. Page 184.

Q16. What still needs to be done to forgive the people who hurt you? Are you willing to do it?


Q18. What are the major lessons you have learned as you progressed through this unit? (half page)

P1-MPP9 - It's OK To Be Yourself

Making Peace With Your Past
Unit 9 – It’s OK to Be Yourself

Memory verse: Ps. 36:5, 7 NIV “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. How priceless is your unfailing love!”
Affirmations to repeat: “In Christ it is OK for me to be myself.”

Day 1: Why is Being Me So Hard?
Q1. Referring to pg 155, why would you want to act like someone else?

Q2. What are your responses to the questions at the bottom of pg 155?

Q3. Do you think God accepts you as you are?

Day 2: Why Don’t I Know Who I Am?

Q4. Do you have a “Whatever I do, I’m not going to …..” statement? What is it?

Q5. Using the statements on pgs 159 – 161, describe the reasons that apply to you.

Day 3: Claiming Jesus’ Power over My Painful Past

Q6. Write down some goals for your life that go beyond just surviving. Stop and talk to God about these goals.

Q7. Write out the affirmations on the bottom of pg 164. Read them aloud to yourself a few times.

Q8. What are your feelings about yourself at this moment?

Q9. Are you willing to believe that God has great possibilities in mind for you, that the coming years can be the greatest years of your life? Why?

Day 5: Finding My Identity

Q10. Who are the trustworthy people in your life?

Q11. If you could go anywhere in the world on a vacation and if money were not an issue, where would you go and what would you do?

Q12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Why?

Q13. Do the exercise at the bottom of page 170. Write your answers here:


Q15. What are the major lessons you have learned as you progressed through this unit?
(half page)