Rick Warren has written a book entitled Bible Study Methods. Out of that book, a helpful online article has been written entitled First Steps to Spiritual Growth: How to Have Meaningful Time with God. In that article, Warren suggests when you come to meet with God in your quiet time, you should have four proper attitudes: expectancy, reverence, alertness, and willingness to obey. What a great list!
In a similar way, these are four attitudes we need to have when we enter into Sunday School/small group Bible study. When we come to meet God in group Bible study, we need the same four attitudes in order for the experience to have the greatest potential life impact! Warren’s four attitudes are listed in all captitals followed by my commentary:
- EXPECTANCY. Pray before you come to your class/group. Expect to meet the Lord there–he has promised to do so when two or three are gathered in His name.) Seek Him. Seek His presence. Expect Him to speak. Expect him to deliver a personal message. Expect to be changed as a result of the encounter with Him!
- REVERENCE. When you open God’s Word, expect Him to speak. Expect to meet Him. When you meet Him, expect to be in awe of Him Bow your heart and mind. Recognize His greatness! Enter prayerfully and give Him the attention and worship He desires and deserves! Listen to His still, small voice. Prepare yourself to be in His presence.
- ALERTNESS. Rest well before you enter into the experience. If you knew Jesus was going to be in class, you would want to be fully rested and alert (and He will be present if you gather in His name). In order to give your full attention to Him and to the encounter, you will want to be fully present. Put aside all distractions. Focus your mind. Pray for removal of mental blocks and distractions Satan will provide. Pay attention. Listen carefully. Open your mind and heart.
- WILLINGNESS TO OBEY. Recognize that God’s ways and commands are right. Recognize that He knows best and knows what is best for you. Enter into the encounter with an expectation that you will be different as a result of the encounter. Expect to change. Expect to act differently. Commit to do whatever He asks. I like the way Warren puts this: “So come to meet the Lord having already chosen to do His will no matter what.”
How are you doing at practicing these four attitudes with your group? Which of the four attitudes needs the most work? What can you do this week to address that attitude? Pray. Be expectant. Be reverent. Be alert. Be willing to obey. Be revolutionary!