The book questions for chapter 4, Theological Conditioning, are in red and my answers are in black.
But before I get into these questions, I have to say that I am getting convicted to do more for my own physical fitness other than take my dog on more walks. The exercise equipment I had in Florida, I did not bring with me to Alabama—it just wouldn’t fit into the U-Haul truck. So, I am getting a key to the gym at my apartment complex. All these terms author Aimee Byrd is putting in this book are convicting me: heavy licking laid on by Aimee’s fitness trainer in her fitness DVD, weighted-side-plant-T-stand-pushup craziness!!
Now on to the mental and theological fitness of this chapter with Aimee Byrd's questions.
1. How can perseverance be a gift and yet not be a passive endeavor? When we remember that Christ endured the cross for the joy set before Him, we also receive the joy of perseverance. We do our part, but we have His strength.
2. How are both joy and agony set before us in the marathon that is the Christian life? Sanctification demands both disciplines. We need obedience and we need joy. My Huntsville pastor has been doing a series on the Galatians 5 fruit of the spirit which includes both joy and self-control.
3. How does what we know to be true about God help us in our most vulnerable moments? What particular Scriptures would be helpful for you to memorize for your struggles in perseverance? Passages on the LORD’s strength help with this struggle--Psalm 27:1; 46:1; 84:7; Prov. 31:25; Is. 40:29; Jer. 16:19; and 2 Cor. 12:9 which points out that we can take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
4. Do you sometimes find it more difficult to pray when you are weighed down with a heavy burden? What does Jesus’ prayer in Luke 22:42-44 reveal about the way we can approach God in these difficult times? What can we expect as a result? As Christ did facing His resurrection, we can pray for God’s will in the matter, not our will. As a result of His agonizing prayer, an angel appeared from heaven to strengthen Him.
5. Read John 10:17-18. What does this statement tell us about both the authority and the obedience of Christ? How do you think this knowledge helped him as he prayed in Gethsemane? How does it help us now as we pray for perseverance? Christ had the power to lay down His life through death or to not do that. But He knew that this was God’s will that He face death for us on the cross. He knew even with this huge command for Him that His Father loved Him. Through our perseverance and self-control we also will be blessed.
6. How would you evaluate the theological state of the evangelical Christian books listed by Amazon or some other popular bookseller? What is the quality of teaching about God? How can you have better discernment in finding good teaching? What have you been filling your mind with? Why is this important? Actually I do not study the quality of evangelical books other than I read Joyce Meyer’s book on the subject of my spiritual biography, Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill; Joyce was not biblical as I pointed out in my book.
7. Read 1 Peter 3:13-17. How do these verses speak to our theological stamina? What two things should you expect after reading them? We need to be ready to give a good defense to everyone, and we can expect that we make be criticized.
8. When might you see FOMO revealing itself in your own life? What other idols might you be chasing down when you give into this proclivity? How is theological conditioning important here? FOMO is “fear of missing out”. We think we have to be in the “know” or we will be missing out. Do I have an “insatiable desire to hear the new”(p. 91)? I am curious and cautious about the manifestations of Political Correctness in our politics and in the church. However, I do not chase them all down and rant and rave about all of them on Facebook.
As a side note I am praying for whom the LORD wants me to influence. I may not even know who that is. I have a rap on my YouTube channel, MC AC The Rap Lady, with the line that says “Heed God’s Word” and I realize that the students I substitute for may listen to that rap on YouTube but rarely in class. The messages I give through that rap appeals to young people—their language. I also teach biblical principles such as stop bullying and stop swearing in my raps.
9. If Christ is the mirror of our election, what does this say about our perseverance? What happens when we look to something else to help us endure? We sin when we look to something else to save us. Aimee writes at the end of this chapter on Theological Conditioning:
We will fail as we battle the flesh. But we get back up again. Because of the grace we have been given in Christ, we look to him and love righteousness. We see his work on the cross and we hate sin. We can confidently run into our Father’s arms in repentance . . . . We can be assured that we will persevere, because we see our preservation as a gift. And all that the Father has give him, he will never cast our (John 6:37) (p. 95).