The book questions for chapter 2 are in red and my answers are in black.
1. You have to have a goal to persevere. This goal determines how you read the scale. We learn from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 that the Christian goal is unseen. How does this affect the way that we press on? What difficulties does it bring? Aimee calls our goal "glorification" on p. 41. I think this means that perseverance for sanctification. We press on for that "eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison".
2. Why is self-image really a hoax? How might this change the way that we comfort and counsel others? Years ago I wrote secular curriculum called "Improving Self-Esteem and Relationships". I thought life was all about humanistic self-esteem, even though I was a Christian. It took many years for me to realize life is about God's glory, not mine. I do counsel about God's glory now, not self-image. Really if our hope is in the LORD,
and the peace comes.
3. What ideas that you hold about how sanctification "looks" might need to be challenged in light of this chapter? How might that affect the way you look at your fellow believers "in the race"? We begin in faith, continue in faith and are justified by faith. One day faith will be sight, but meanwhile as Aimee puts it so well "sanctification is no passive process; it is a daily struggle"(p. 50). Secular people and lukewarm Christians think of us Christian believers as "hypocrites" when we mess up, but we know that we are called to go on to maturity in Christ and to encourage fellow believers to work towards maturity.
4. How have you changed throughout your Christian walk? As you grow in holiness how have your ideas about the extent of your own sinfulness been challenged? Oh yes, and I continue to be challenged. When I got into a Reformed church, it finally dawned on me that my works do not bring glory to God; I need to get over myself and seek His glory. Furthermore, I can admit my sinfulness, because He gets the glory, not me. When I am challenged to do good works for others, I need to be careful that Carol doesn't get the glory--a huge temptation in this goal-oriented society.
5. How do we know if we are really maturing in Christ? I desire to meditate on Scripture and apply it to my life. I am prompted to pray more and with others. As I do this I am gaining the peace that passes all understanding (see Philippians 4:7).
6. Do you agree that the fight to persevere doesn't always look pretty? If so how can we be more honest about how God is working in our lives? Why do we feel so compelled to candy-coat our spiritual condition? It doesn't always look pretty. We have to be honest. I remember the year I worked for Gospel Light Publications writing Sunday School curriculum; a famous writer I admired very much sat down by me at coffee break and talked about her eating too much candy--she didn't sugar-coat anything! It was refreshing. I write down what I eat for Weight Watchers when I am being careful. I realize I need to write down what I eat every day, and examine when I have emotional eating instead of eating for health. I also need to confess every day and ask for God's help.
7. Sometimes we can conjure up our own imaginary scale with our so-called "Christian scorecard." Paul tells us in Philippians 3:4-7 that he held an impeccable score by all outward signs. And yet he counted it all as dung (v. 8 KJV). What did he trade it for? How did he estimate the real value of his works? How does this encourage you as a Christian? Paul traded it all (all his accolades and resume) for Christ. Paul wanted to "know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). This encourages me in my struggle to live as Christ wants me to live. Having things easy is not the answer. Paul says "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."