Two Examples of Heart-Searching Homework

by Paul Tautges | December 1, 2011 1:24 am

Let’s face it, fellow counselors, if we don’t help people get to the heart of their behavior we have done nothing more than rearrange the order of their functional gods or taught them to hang a new variety of plastic fruit on the tree of their life. So, how do we get to the heart?

Below are two examples I sent to another counselor yesterday after he asked me for help in guiding his counselees to move from fruit to root. These make good exercises for us “counselors” too…and a small group discussion idea. Remember the more you counsel yourself with God’s Word (that’s what it means to meditate on the Word) the more you will be effective at counseling one another.

Example 1: What is the condition of my heart?

Read and meditate on Matthew 5-7 three times this week. In your journal/notebook answer these questions:

  1. What does Jesus teach me about my heart? What are its characteristics?
  2. What does Jesus teach me about the fruits of my heart?
  3. What changes does Jesus call me to make?
  4. What warnings does Jesus give to me?
  5. What promises does Jesus give to me?
  6. Are there any spiritual disciplines that Jesus presents for my spiritual health?

Example 2: What does conflict reveal about my heart?

Read and meditate on James 4:1-10 three times this week. In your notebook, answer the following questions.

  1. In my present conflict, what is my heart really craving? What “pleasures” do I seek (v. 1)?
  2. How do I commit “murder of the heart” in my conflicts with others (v. 2)?
  3. What is the meaning of the phrase: “You have not because you ask not” (v. 2).
  4. If my desire is a legitimate need can I trust God enough to see it met by Him?
  5. How have I been trying to get my own desires fulfilled?
  6. What might be some of the “wrong motives” that are the ‘functional gods’ of my heart (v. 3)?
  7. Why does James call his readers “adulteresses” (v. 4)?
  8. Why is God jealous for the Spirit’s rule in my heart (v. 5)?
  9. How am I manifesting pride in my present conflict (v. 6)?
  10. In what specific ways does God want me to repent and humble myself before Him (v. 7)?
  11. Are there any specific sins that I need to confess to God (vv. 8-10), to others (5:16)?

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