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Bible Study: Joy through obedience

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: Exodus 20:15-17; Psalm 37:1-6

Discussion Question: Who has been an example of personal integrity in your life?

Food for Thought by Tony Evans:*

The implosion of a structure can be an amazing thing to watch. One minute you are looking at a fully standing building, bridge or tunnel, and then within seconds the entire structure collapses into a pile of ashes and debris. In the controlled demolition industry, experts place a number of small explosives strategically throughout the structure. Strategic placement is pivotal to destroy the structural integrity of the building without destroying what’s around it.

The structural integrity of our lives and relationships matters just as much as it does for a building. It takes only a second for a relationship to implode. One lie can collapse a friendship. One slanderous accusation can destroy people’s perception of us. One wrong choice carried out to its fullest can cause a decade of growth to crumble. The Ten Commandments provide a solid foundation, built on honor and contentment, to ensure the structural integrity of our relationships.

A preacher got on a bus one day, gave the bus driver money for the fare, and the driver gave him the change. As the preacher sat down, he counted the change and discovered the bus driver gave him too much. Returning to the front of the bus, he handed the driver two quarters and remarked, “You gave me too much change.”

The bus driver smiled and said, “Pastor, I really appreciate this because I was in your church service yesterday and I heard your sermon on honesty. I intentionally gave you too much change to see whether you live by what you preach.”

Integrity ought to be automatic for us. We never know who is watching our actions or listening to our words. Conducting ourselves honorably and with integrity is at the heart of two of the Ten Commandments: “Do not steal” and “Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.” We are to treat others with respect, and that includes respect for their possessions. Our words should also show respect for the other person. These virtues are manifested in love and define a kingdom disciple. Jesus summed it up when He said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

A final command is “Do not covet.” The antidote for such envy and dissatisfaction comes from looking to God instead of gawking at the wicked. We are to “trust” and “take delight” in Him and Him alone. All we could ever desire rests in God. None of us needs to worry or fret about what other people are accomplishing or doing. It’s a normal inclination to make comparisons, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. We can let go of competition and embrace our completion in Christ. When you do, you will receive the desires of your heart. You will receive what God has for you, and He never runs out of His provisions! He always has enough. Give Christ your heart by giving Him your allegiance. Then watch Him bring you delight as He delights in you.

<b>Bible Studies for Life</b>

Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Resources.

*Tony Evans is pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, host of The Alternative with Tony Evans radio broadcast and the author of more than 100 books and Bible studies.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources