Take love for example. The average Joe and Joann have certain ideas, certain presumptions about love that fuel their opinions and beliefs, and which effect their actions. Most of the time, what we think about love is not fact, as we found out in the last two chapters. So, consider that your idea of love and that of most people, are, perhaps, rooted in ideas that are myth. That is, they are not based on fact, but on feelings and desires derived from songs and the media, or maybe from friends. So, are you ready to be challenged about what love is not? If so, you will be in a much better mindset to practice and develop real, loving relationships!
When the religious leaders challenged Jesus on what was the most important Law, Jesus quickly pointed to Deuteronomy 6:5. This is what is called the "Shema," meaning, here the Lord is One. The Israelites used this word to proclaim our monotheistic God, God is One. Thus, we respond to God with all of our being, including our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Jesus then has us focus on one of the primary emphases of the purpose of life, which should be our pursuit of real, authentic love. This love is to be directed to God, then to others around us. But, if we have it wrong, we will end up just spilling junk to God and dysfunction to others!
1. Why do you suppose people are succumbed by myths?
2. How have myths played a role in your life and relationships?
3. How can our certain ideas and presumptions about love affect our relationships?
4. Where do your opinions and beliefs about relating to people at school, work, and church come from?
5. How do these opinions affect your relationships at home, with family, and close friends?
6. Have you had trouble making and keeping friends? If so, why? If not, why?
7. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9, how does this passage come into play in your daily life? How can it? What would be the results?
8. Why is God so emphatic that we memorize this passage to the point that it becomes a part of our house and wardrobe?
9. What happened to the Israelites when they ignored this passage, and failed to tell their kids? What would happen to you and your relationships?
10. How do you demonstrate your love to God? What can you do to do a better job at it? (Remember, our love to Him is demonstrated in how we worship, and worship is not a service on Sunday; rather, it is a mindset and a lifestyle!)
11. Reread 1 Corinthians 13 in a diffent translation. If you have time (or assign as homework), write out verses 4-8 in your own words.