It's never too early to start making good decisions. This journal will teach you the how to know Jesus, how to love people well, and why God's design for family makes life better.
A few minutes a day will open up new opportunities to grow in faith and get you moving towards the future you want.
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Learn to Love People Well
Establish Your Connection: Loving people well requires a lot of healing of the heart. Take a few moments to invite Holy Spirit to fill you with his love and purity. Ask him to help you shift your mind beyond yourself to love others as Christ loved.
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Day 1: Journal Pg. 29
Commentary: Benson Commentary says a person of conflict and contradiction is not being like-minded as they are called to do. Wanting praise and people to look at you, is opposite of the love of God. It doesn't mean to think everyone is superior to you, rather honor leadership and recognize the gifting of others to work with them. (Biblehub.org)
Definition: Conceit: excessive appreciation for one's own worth. (Merriam Webster.com)
Thought: Selfish behavior or being conceited are opposed to how we are called to act as followers of Christ. Humility, like-mindedness, and kindness lead to healthy relationships. If you want to receive these from God, you must show them to others.
Question: Describe challenges or problems selfishness brings into a relationship.
Question: Society will encourage you to be selfish or promote yourself. How can this harm your relationships at school or in a work setting?
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)
Day 2: Journal Pg. 30
Commentary: Ellicott's Commentary explains that being like-minded means not merely looking towards your own interest, but also the ideas and feelings of others. This can be done by listen to the thoughts, hopes, aspirations of others. (Biblehub.org)
Thought: It is important to respect people's boundaries. If they say no or express what works for them in a relationship, you are called to listen to them. Allow people to share what they want to, then respect their privacy.
Question: Ask Holy Spirit to help think of an area where you can pay more attention to other people's interests? Did he bring to mind one person or a group of people?
Do you feel led to do something for the individual or group?
Reflection: In your opinion is it easy for you to put the interest of others first, or do you struggle in this area? Give examples.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 ESV)
Day 3: Journal Pg. 31
Commentary: Barnes' notes points out the importance of this verse because it begins with above all. True love makes us kind towards people's imperfections, leaving them between the person and God. We see the good in them over the error. It doesn't mean we deny or cover up sin, but instead forgive people. (Biblehub.org)
Thought: The covering referred to in this verse refers to preventing anger, fighting, or rivalry. Thoughts about a person focus on love, instead of criticism and negative thinking.
Question: In your close relationships, how is this verse relevant to you?
Give an example of how you able to overlook a friend's faults.
Question: When would it be unacceptable to look the other way?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
Day 4: Journal Pg. 32
Commentary: MacLaren's Expositions says, "Let love be honest." It warns against loving words that aren't matched by emotion. This kind of love comes out of deceptive selfishness. Real love in the kingdom comes through renewing the mind." ‘thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think,’ which impedes the flow of love to others, and it is in the measure in which we receive into our minds ‘the mind that was in Christ Jesus,’ and look at men as He did, that we shall come to love them all honestly and purely.'" (Biblehub.org)
Thought: Sometimes God needs to heal the selfishness that has grown inside a person before they can love sincerely. Focusing on good and pulling back from evil is part of healthy love. To pity a criminal or enable a wrong doer is unhealthy love.
Question: How can love become unhealthy, when people stop hating evil?
In families where drug abuse, stealing, or sexual sin is practiced, kids can have a difficult time recognizing that those things are evil. How could God to reveal good and expose evil? Hint: Sometimes God uses people.
Question: Why do you think God disciplines people, when the do bad things?
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NIV)
Day 5: Journal Pg. 33
Definition: Devoted- loyalty
Commentary: Matthew Poole's commentary says Christians ought to love each other like a parent loves their child. Human nature prefers to honor themselves over others, which is opposite of how it works in God's kingdom. Honoring others is opposed to selfishness. (Biblehub.org)
Question: When do you find it hard to honor people? Reflect on why that's difficult for you.
Reflection: When will you know if you succeeded in being loyal in love and honoring a person? How do you think it will affect the realtionship?
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10 NIV)
Day 6: Journal Pg. 34
Commentary: Gill's Exposition explains that Jesus is the king speaking. Those who want to be brothers and sisters in Christ must do the will of Christ. "...that every instance of kindness and respect shown to them, as done to himself in person; and will take notice of it, accept and reward it, as if it had been so done."
Thought: In the Gospel the law of grace is connected to faith in action motivated by love. People take priority over the rules. Even if they are deep in sin, we should show them the love of Christ.
Question: In your community, who would you identify as the "least of these"? Ask Holy Spirit to reveal how you could put love into action.
Reflection: Can you think of a person or group of people who make you uncomfortable? Or even annoyed?
Ask God what he has to say about them?
How is the way you feel about them harmful to them?
What could you do to make a positive change in the way you feel about the person or group?
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV)
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