Chapter OneKnowing and Being Known
Read Exodus 2:11-15
2. What do you learn about the character of Moses in this
How do you see willfulness in the heart and actions of Moses?
3. What are some of the common signs of willfulness you
have seen in your life?
4. What were some of the consequences of Moses' willful
5. What is one negative consequence you have had to face
because of a willful decision you made?
What has God done to redeem and restore this situation?
6. What is one area of your life in which you need the prayers
and support of your small group members as you seek to
submit to God's will rather than follow your own desires?
What is a practical, measurable, and possibly painful change
you are going to have to make if you are going to live with a
willing spirit in this area of your life?
Read Exodus 2:16-22
7. What are some of the changes Moses experiences as he
moves from Egypt to Midian?
In what ways does Moses display willingness rather than willfulness
in this new chapter of his life?
8. How can prayer be a sign of a willing and submitted heart?
What are you doing to grow as a person of prayer?
9. What is one area of ongoing temptation you face in your
How can group members encourage and support you in your
effort to journey from willfulness to willingness in this area of
10. What is one act of humble service you can offer in the
coming week in one of these areas:
In your home
In your workplace
In a relationship with a seeker
In your church
In your community
Celebrating and Being Celebrated
Pray together as a group and thank God for His patience with
His children. Praise Him for loving you through both your
willful and willing times. Celebrate His commitment to love
you even when you wander from Him.
Loving and Being Loved
Consider committing as a small group to memorize (if you
have not already) the Lord's prayer. Take time on a daily basis
to reflect deeply on this portion of the prayer:
Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Let this experiment in willingness lead you to a deeper love
for God and commitment to seek His will and not your own.
Pair up with one member of your small group and agree to
pray for each other on a daily basis. Pray for each other to grow
in a yielded and willing spirit toward God. Be sure to touch
base with each other at least once before your group meets
again and encourage each other to show your love for God
through journeying from willfulness to willingness.
Serving and Being Served
One way to develop a willing heart is through offering up acts
of humble service. Talk as a group and identify a person or
group in your church who serves in ways that many others
tend to avoid. Agree as a group to contact this person or group
and give them a week off or offer to assist them. Work together
as a group to step in and do their work or assist them for a
week. Seek to do it with joy, excellence, and secrecy (if possible).
The secrecy part is very important. Be sure you don't tell
others about what you are doing. Let a willing heart lead you,
not a desire to seem superspiritual.
A Battle We Will Never Win
The Lord created us to be dependent on him, and when we strive for
independence and self-sufficiency, we are fighting a battle that is contrary
to our nature and that we can never win.
Because we are mere creatures, we can never be strong enough in ourselves
to accomplish all that God desires in our lives. And when those
who have great physical and emotional strength rely on themselves rather
than God, they miss the opportunity to experience a power beyond their
comprehension. Even after the Lord returns and we have resurrection
bodies that are immortal and imperishable, our power will still be puny
in comparison to God's. So is it any wonder that the Lord chooses to display
his power rather than ours or to glorify himself rather than us?
God's strength in our weakness-it sounds so simple. Yet there are
forces at work in the world and in our hearts that make this simple concept
incredibly difficult to learn.
-Jack Kuhatschek, The Superman Syndrome (Zondervan, 1995)
From Willfulness to Willingness
Human willfulness shows itself in so many ways, but here are three
clear signs that you are moving from willfulness to willingness:
1.You are spending more and more time in moments of dependent prayer.
Rather than looking to the left and the right to be sure the coast is clear,
you find yourself looking upward, for the leading of God. You find yourself
seeking the guidance and direction of God because you know your
own wisdom is not sufficient for the task of life. More and more you call
on God for strength, because you are profoundly aware that your
strength will never be enough.
2.You are seeking God's strength in your moments of temptation. Rather
than trying to resist temptation on your own, or in your own power, you
find yourself calling out for God's delivering power. Trust in your own
overcoming strength is being replaced with reliance on the victory God
has won over temptation, sin, and the enemy.
3.You are growing in your willingness to humbly submit to the desires and
wishes of others. Rather than demanding your way all the time, you are
starting to think of the needs and desires of others. Rather than feeling
certain tasks of service are below your station in life, you find yourself
offering secret service with a heart that is glad to help others.
Chapter TwoSaying Yes to God
Popeye knew who he was: a simple, seafaring, pipe-smoking,
Olive Oyl-loving sailor man, and he never pretended
to be anything else. When he felt called to do
something of which he felt he was not capable, he always said
the same thing: "I yam what I yam." And if he was really convinced
of his inadequacy, he would say, "I yam what I yam
and that's all that I yam."
Popeye was not a sophisticated guy. He had never been in
therapy. He was not in touch with his shadow self or inner
child. He was not an educated man. He was a simple, tattoo-wearing,
spinach-eating sailor man. A don't-get-your-hopes-up
kind of a guy.
"I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam." This is the cry
of a heart that does not want to expect too much and end up
disappointed. It is a cry that most of us lift up, in our own
words, and in our own way. "I yam what I yam and that's all
that I yam." This is the sad lament of the human race.
I must admit that this is the cry of my heart, at times. I am
called to speak words of truth and life. Yet I can use my
words to deceive people or manipulate them. I am called to
be a wonderful father, but sometimes I neglect, yell at, or
ignore my kids. I am called to do justice, but I can turn a
blind eye to oppression because I am preoccupied with my
own agenda. I am called to serve the body of Christ, but I
plead my inadequacies or my busyness. "I yam what I yam
and that's all that I yam."
Making the Connection
1. Describe a time in your life when you said no to something
because in your heart you were saying, "I yam what I yam
and that's all that I yam."
True Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter
with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection, a cheap copy
of the original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard.
It cannot but be a major tragedy in the life of any person to live in a
church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some
synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to
see, nor ears to hear, and no heart to love.
The spiritual giants of old were people who at some time became
acutely conscious of the real Presence of God and maintained that consciousness
for the rest of their lives. The first encounter may have been
one of terror, as when a "thick and dreadful darkness" came over Abram,
or as when Moses at the bush hid his face because he was afraid to look
upon God. Usually this fear soon lost its content of terror and changed
after a while to delightsome awe, to level off finally into a reverent sense
of complete nearness to God.
-A.W. Tozer, Renewed Day by Day (Christian Publications, 1980)