Ths is the 2nd small group study from the "Tattooed" series.
All of us have something imprinted deep upon our hearts and minds; something that forms our perspective on life, shapes our attitudes, and drives our behavior. What image is imprinted on your heart?
The great and wise King Solomon tells us that, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” In other words, whatever you have imprinted upon your heart will eventually reveal itself in your character and how you live life. Your “heart” is the place of your deep-seated beliefs. It is the core of your identity and the hidden vault of your values. Your heart is where you develop an image of worth and value or of hopelessness and despair. Ultimately, your inner world always determines the success of your outer world. In order to live a life that glorifies God, benefits the world, and brings fulfillment to your soul, you will have to invest more time and effort into building your inner world than you do in building your outer world. So, what image is imprinted on your heart? Do you walk around with an inner image of despair that says, “Yesterday was bad, today is worse, and tomorrow will take me to new lows?” Or do you embrace the image that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?”
There are three things that can greatly affect our inner image. (1) Our beliefs form our inner image. If you want to change anything about your life, you have to change what you believe deep within your heart. You can change your inner image by choosing what you believe. (2) Our expectations form our inner image. What do you expect out of life? What do you expect God to do in you, and through you? If you expect to live a defeated life, then, regardless of the potential that lies within you, your expectations will produce defeat in your life. You can change your inner image by changing what you expect. (3) Our experiences form our inner image; and our attitudes become hardened when we fail to properly process the pain of past experiences. Past experiences often form present attitudes and present perceptions. You can change your inner image by releasing the past; however, changing your inner-image is only useful if you choose to exchange the old image with the image of Christ Jesus. This is accomplished by walking in submission to God, living secure in His love, acting selflessly toward others, and focusing on your God-given purpose in life.
Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)
How does the condition of your heart affect how you live life and treat others? What faulty things have you programmed into your inner image? How has this affected your relationships, your character, and your overall success in life?
Discuss different ways we can be conformed to this world. How have worldly influences affected your life? What are some ways that we can renew our minds? How does God’s Word renew our minds? Give examples.
Discuss how we can have the same attitude of Christ and (1) be submissive, (2) be secure in our identity, (3) be selfless, and (4) be single-minded.
Taking Action: Purposefully write down what is really forming your inner image. Is it external forces and other people, or is it God? Purpose to spend significant time in God’s Word each day this week and allow God to transform your thinking into His reality. Take notice of the change in you.