Gospel-Centered Life - Part 7

Brrr! — Despite the cold temperatures, we are still on for youth group tonight! We hope your students will choose to join us for another great night of fellowship, conversation, fun, and diving into God's truth for us in the good(!) news of the gospel!

Tonight's lesson is our final segment (for now) in the Gospel-Centered Life series. I'll be talking about idols of our hearts - the "sin beneath the sin" - and encouraging students to not just consider the symptoms, but to look at our sinful behavior and consider what is driving those decisions. What are the motivating idols of our hearts that result in those "surface sins" that we act on? It requires a certain self-awareness that might take some time to unearth, but - as many of us know - that is where the gospel can really take hold and truly fill us with the truth of God's love, acceptance, and forgiveness. 

As a parent of small children, it honestly had me thinking about how my behaviors communicate the idols of my heart to them. What values or priorities do I communicate through my brokenness, my sin, in front of my children? And where - in God's abundant mercies - do I have the opportunity to combat that with the truth of the gospel through conversations with them, asking for their forgiveness, and confessing my own shortcomings in the light of who God says I am because of Christ? I can too easily hide in the shame and embarrassment that comes with my sinful behavior toward my kids, OR I can choose to accept the power and love that God shows me in those moments of repentance - and then allow that to overflow into my relationship with my children. It is good for our kids to see that we wrestle with God and choose to trust His voice in the everyday moments, especially as it pertains to our (imperfect) parenting!

Small Group Discussion Ideas/Questions
- How would you describe a "heart idol" in your own words? (take some time to discuss what it means to look for the "sin beneath the sin')

- Using the list from tonight's lesson, what are a couple that you would say are your biggest heart idols? It could be helpful to consider what they love, trust, or fear. (the following examples used gossip as the "surface sin", putting the idols in a specific context)
-The idol of approval – I want the approval of the people I’m talking to
-The idol of control – I’m using gossip as a way to manipulate/control others
-The idol of reputation – I want to feel important, so I cut someone else down verbally
-The idol of success – Someone is succeeding (and I’m not) so I gossip about him
-The idol of security – Talking about others masks my own insecurity
-The idol of pleasure – Someone else is enjoying life (and I’m not) so I attack her
-The idol of knowledge – Talking about people in a way of showing that I know more
-The idol of recognition – Talking about others gets people to notice me
-The idol of respect – That person disrespected me, so I’m going to disrespect them
--- How does this idol show itself in your life? In what kind of situations do you see the "symptoms" of that idol? What are the "surface sins" that point to the deeper issue?

- How do you see your idols failing you? To put it another way, what does it promise you, but in the end does not deliver?

- How does the gospel - by comparison - actually satisfy your desires or meet your needs more fully than your idol?

- What specific, Biblical truths do you need to "really believe" to combat the idols of your heart? What makes it difficult to believe these truths?

- How do your heart idols undermine your ability to love (or be loved)?