Words To Live By: Week 1

Words To Live By: Part 1
Week of October 2


Welcome!

Inevitably, there is a moment in one's life when all of sudden you become hyper aware that there is a grown up decision that needs to be made and you are the grown up. You may look around the room just to be sure you are reading the situation correctly and then it hits you. The decision is important and it's up to you. The flow chart of the experience may start with feelings that begin with excitement, maybe leading towards empowerment, but then it finishes soon after and the reward is short-lived. For one realizes that this is just the start of the era known as "adulting."    

The Oxford Dictionary defines "adulting" as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.  

Great, so being an adult means to embrace the mundane. Honestly, what do we do with that?  

Ice Breaker: Remember your first responsible "adulting" experience to share; that may be something like paying a first bill or signing a lease. How did that go?

Another source of inspiration could come from the Bible. The book of Proverbs is a wise chapter in the Old Testament filled with helpful guidance that has the potential of helping to make adulting not so mundane.  

The Head
Proverbs 1:7
"Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Proverbs 3:1-12
"My son, my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then your body will be healthy and your bones strengthened. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first of all your crops. Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will burst with wine. Don’t reject the instruction of the Lord, my son; don’t despise his correction. The Lord loves those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor."

Proverbs 12:15
"Fools see their own way as right, but the wise listen to advice."

Proverbs 13:8
"Wealth can ransom a person’s life, but the poor don’t even receive threats."

1. These verses together form quite the "how to" when it comes to growing into adulthood and beyond. Is there a specific phrase contained above that speaks to you directly? If so, what is it about that phrase that resonates?

2. There seems to be great value placed on listening. Even more, maybe listening in a deeper way that includes feeling, empathizing, and understanding. How does this type of listening help with wisdom?  

3. A couple areas in this verse selection say that we should "fear the Lord." In this context, fearing the Lord means that we should show reverence or be in awe of the Lord. How does fearing the Lord help with guiding our ways? What do you think it looks like to fear the Lord in daily life?
 
The Heart
Another section of the bible contains an interesting story on adulting from a different perspective. In 1 Kings Chapter 3, the story begins with a young King Solomon. Solomon's reign brought great wealth and prosperity to Israel. But at the beginning of this chapter, he is relatively new to the throne and he is only about 20 years old. Now, in a rare opportunity, Solomon speaks with God and it is clear that God is pleased with Solomon so much so, that God said "ask whatever you wish, and I will give it to you."

Now, as a 20 year old, what would you ask for if God gave you that opportunity?
 
Solomon took a surprising approach. He first praised God for many blessings and for being chosen as King to lead the Israelites. He then recognizes his inexperience and youth and asks God to be blessed with a discerning heart to know good from evil. He is given a blank check from God and Solomon chose wisdom. This pleased God even more.
 
Why do you think God was happy with Solomon's decision?

We typically don't receive blank check offers like this. But beyond that possibility, we know that God meets us where we are, even when adulting is mundane, and blesses us in ways that surpass our expectations.  

Can you think of a pivotal time in your life when it became evident that God blessed a decision you made or maybe a specific path you chose? Can you share what aspects of that event led you to recognize it was blessed?

Closing Prayer
First, maybe ask around the group for special prayer requests for the week ahead.

Hey God, thank you for all the helpful guidance in Proverbs. You know life in this world can be difficult, so we are thankful for Your words and Your presence in our lives. Your love, grace, and faithfulness fills us with awe and adoration. We ask for your forgiveness. (Placeholder for prayer requests). Lord, please guide us through this week and help us to be good listeners at the right times. We ask for this in your Holy Name, Lord. Amen.    
   
The Hands
This week, a good way to connect to the bible readings would be to put into practice what the Proverbs say. What would that look like to you? There are many to consider…maybe:

Listen to advice;
Choose wisdom and instruction;
Seek loyalty and faithfulness;
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Keep God in mind along all your paths;
Maybe honor the Lord with offerings!

Also, try reading 1 Kings Chapter 3 starting with verse 1 sometime this week. You can learn more about Solomon's interaction with God. Even more, starting at verse 16, Solomon's wisdom is put to use in an interesting way.

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