As you begin this study, consider the life of Jesus. Note examples where He exhibits self-control.
Read Proverbs 25.28 and Titus 2.12-14 and answer the following questions:
- What happens to the person who lacks self-control?
- What “teaches us” to say, “No”?
- How does self-control spring forth from the gift of grace?
- Is it possible to live a self-controlled life?
- Where and when are you most challenged in living a self-controlled life?
Read Genesis 4.1-16. Note three parts of this text that speak to you most deeply.
Read Romans 5.12 and Romans 3.1-12, 22 and answer the following questions.
- In your own words define “total depravity.”
- Why is this doctrine important?
- How does God reconcile our totally depraved nature?
Why does God approve of Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?
How does Cain respond to God’s rebuke?
What was the root of Cain’s anger and downcast countenance?
Where, or in what, is your anger most likely rooted?
How do you see God being loving toward Cain?
According to the text, where does sin have its roots?
How in the last week have you allowed wrong thoughts to derail you?
Read 1 John 3.11-12. How does this text help your understanding of what happens in Genesis 4?
What does it mean to be a “brother’s keeper?”
Who cares for you as a “brother’s keeper?” What does that look for you? How do you allow your “keeper” to care for you, redirect you, pray for you, and bless you?
What is Cain’s consequence for disobedience? How does God maintain relationship with Cain in the midst of disobedience? What does this teach you about the character of God?
Is it possible to “master” sin? Is it possible for sin to master you?
Read 1 John 2.15-17. Rewrite this verse in your own words.
What “stories” replay over and over in your mind? Where do you they lead you? How might you begin to exert self-control over those stories?
Read 1 Peter 1.13-16 and 2 Timothy 1.7. What are the primary implications of each text?
Read and reflect on the Serenity Prayer. What portion of this prayer might become the prayer of your heart? Which “brother’s keeper” can join you in this prayer?
“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.