Peek Inside The Small-Group Guide

Is it biblical to "follow your heart"? Why or why not? Today I want to share with you an excerpt from The Answer Book: Small-Group Guide. This is actually two small-group guides in one. The first part is for groups of children or multi-generational groups. The excerpt below is from the second part, written for groups of adults and/or teenagers. (See this page for more about how this works.) I hope this devotional blesses you and spurs good discussion in your family.

Week 1: Digging Deeper

Study Focus: A common adage in America today is “Follow your heart” or some variation thereof. Some spinoffs include, “Do what feels good,” “Do what feels right to you,” or “Whatever works for you.” This idea is so pervasive that it can color our thinking in ways we don’t even realize. Today we will study the following question:
  • What does God’s Word say about the heart and its trustworthiness?
Verses:
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.(Proverbs 28:26, NASB). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7, NASB).
Discussion Question:
  • Describe a time when “following your heart” either got you or a friend into trouble or into a less than ideal situation.
Verses: Sin is the wrong stuff we do: any thought, word, deed, or thing left undone that does not meet God’s perfect standard (Leviticus 11:45).
Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9, NASB). “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony , slander “(Matthew 15:19, NIV). “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve’” (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NIV).
Discussion Questions:
  1. What comes naturally out of the heart?
  2. Why is that?
  3. Are children exempt from this?
Verses:
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17, NASB). “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6, NASB). “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NASB).
Discussion Question:
  • The consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin are still seen today. How have you seen sin naturally flow from the hearts of your child(ren) or others you know?
Verses:
Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path” (Proverbs 23:19, NIV). “Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jesus speaking, John 14:1, NASB). “See to it, brothers and sisters , that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” (Hebrews 3:12-14, NIV).
Discussion Questions:
  1. These are just a few of many verses where God tells us we can choose which way our hearts go. What are some ways we can choose set our hearts on a certain path?
  2. How can we keep our hearts on the path of righteousness, on God’s road of truth?
Verses:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24, NASB) “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, NASB).
Discussion Questions:
  1. How can we redirect our hearts to God’s path?
  2. What are some ways God may challenge what we always assumed to be true?
  3. Something to think about: Would you be willing to consider the possibility that God may continue to challenge what you always assumed to be true, whether it be little or big things?

Week 1: Prayer Focus

“Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track. You shut God out and work behind the scenes, Plotting the future as if you knew everything, acting mysterious, never showing your hand. You have everything backward! You treat the potter as a lump of clay. Does a book say to its author, ‘He didn’t write a word of me’? Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it, ‘She had nothing to do with this’?” (Isaiah 29:15-16, MSG).
God’s plan is not a secret. He wants us to seek and follow Him. He has promised to give us everything we need, for He knows those things better than we do. Are there any special prayer requests this week? End your prayer time asking God for hearts willing to seek and follow Him, no matter what.
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