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Scripture

Genesis 2:15-25

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you. Spend some time in worship.

 

 

Observation

God had made a spectacular garden – more beautiful than any place anyone has ever seen since that moment. When He created Adam He gave Him two responsibilities. The first was to name all the creatures that lived in the garden, male and female; the second was to care for the creation itself. It is interesting to note that Adam was given the task of naming all the animals. He was intelligent and understood that he, as a human being, was different to any other creature for only he (and later Eve) of all the species, was made in the image of God.
God also gave Adam the gift of free choice which would enable him to obey God or rebel against Him. God wanted people to obey Him because they loved Him, not because they had to do so. He took care to explain the consequence of disobedience would be death. The only command God gave was to forbid Adam to eat the fruit of one tree.
As the parade of animals passed before him and Adam named each kind, God realised that it would not be good for Adam to be alone. The animals were in pairs, but Adam had no one to help him.
So God formed Eve to be his helper and keep him company. In God’s eyes Eve was an equal partner to Adam, so that the man and woman would complement one another and fulfil God’s plan together. Whilst men and women are different in many ways, God formed Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to remind them of their essential unity. Adam recognised both their similarity and their differences – Eve was like him but not exactly the same.
Before the fall, both Adam and Eve were completely open to one another and to God. At this time, neither of them had anything to be ashamed of or anything to hide.

Icebreaker:

What was the highlight of your Christmas break? Share briefly with one another.

Application

Did you take part in last week’s PrayerFastFeast adventure? Why/why not? What touched you most about the journey through the week? Why do you think this was so?
Three types of fragile spiritualities were described in the sermon, each with its own goal:
A ticket to Heaven (this has no impact on the world)
Health, wealth and happiness (prayers for healing, wealth and happiness are not always answered in the way we desire)
The achievement of social justice (even though some injustices are dealt with, new ones arise)
These spiritualities are almost correct, but none of them are on the right track. Each one leads to disappointment as they miss their goal. Did any of these resonate with your own spiritual life? How did you feel as they were described? How do they compare with how you live out your own spirituality?
What difference does Jesus make to you when you include Him in your spirituality?
Four aspects of Rugged Spirituality were also described outlining God’s captivating vision of Shalom for humankind:
Shalom with God
Shalom with self
Shalom with others
Shalom with creation
What do these aspects of spirituality mean to you? Which of them do you feel is the strongest part of your spiritual life as we begin this year?
Which do you feel is the greatest challenge for you? What makes you answer in this way?
‘There is no problem in the world today that will not be addressed by these four dimensions of spirituality.’ How does that statement make you feel?
What has God said to you during this sermon/discussion? What steps do you need to take today to begin to develop a rugged spirituality? How do you need God’s help?
How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?
Prayer
Father, there are areas of our spiritual lives where we have become self-centred and think about ourselves more than we think about You or others or creation. Some of us have even reached a point in life where we dislike ourselves or cannot forgive ourselves for the things we have said or done. Father, today, at the beginning of this year, forgive us for those areas where we have wandered off course. Restore Your within us captivating vision in our lives. Help us to see what it is You envision for us, and give us the burning desire to live in such a way that Your vision may be fulfilled, in our relationships with You, with ourselves, with others and with your beautiful creation. Show us the correct way, Lord, that we may be a light in this dark world and, in turn, lead others to You.
Go on to pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

Service
During your discussions you have identified areas of your personal spiritualities which are a struggle for you and which need God’s help. This week ask God to show you when He is helping you to be strong in such areas and decide to respond in the way He desires – whether it is spending time with Him, reaching out to others in bruised or broken relationships, caring for your world or loving yourself. Ask Him to show you how such action impacts your world and those around you, as you begin to develop your Rugged Spirituality.

 

Bibliography

Genesis Chapter 2

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