Manipulation - chapter 2
Striving For Control
Danger of manipulating
If we find ourselves going against God’s will as revealed in Scripture, we are certainly guilty of manipulation. We are taking matters into our own hands.
forcing our agenda or timing will usually result in damage—to us or to others
Most of our attempts to manipulate are connected to our impatience. God values process, which often requires time
1. What, specifically, was God trying to communicate to Abram in Genesis 12:1–3?
2. In what way(s) did Abram misunderstand God’s multiple communications?
3. List the ways Abram disobeyed God. Do you think Abram knew he was trying to manipulate God’s plan?
4. List the people whose lives were damaged because of Abram’s manipulation of God’s plan.
5. Would you have had the patience Abram lacked?
6. Do you think that Abram finally realized that waiting for God to carry out his plan was worth it?
7. Do you agree that men are generally most comfortable when they are in control?
8. In what areas of life do men notoriously do things themselves?
9. Do you gain greater satisfaction by doing things alone than by asking for help?
10. Are you guilty of manipulating and controlling your circumstances to make your life more comfortable?
11. What might indicate to you that you are manipulating your life against God’s plans?
12. Name some areas of life that God has relinquished to us the control and others that he has retained the right to control.
13. Does a healthy dependence on God threaten the personal satisfaction you gain from accomplishing goals on your own?
14. Should we always try to escape trials? Why or why not?
15. Do you find it difficult to ask others for help?
16. Do you agree that the hardest thing God ever asks his children to do is wait? Why or why not?
17. Are you a patient waiter, or do you find that you need to be moving even if it’s in the wrong direction?
18. Is it difficult for you to stop or change directions once you’ve set your mind on something?
19. How do you respond to resistance? Do you stop, turn, proceed with caution, or plow through at all costs?
20. Abram knew God’s will for his life because God spoke to him. How do we discover God’s will for our lives today?
21. List the roles in your life—husband, father, employee, church member, neighbor, and so on. Are you relying on God to provide direction and set goals in these areas, or have you gotten ahead of him with your agenda?
22. Are you damaging yourself or others by forcing your agenda?
23. Think of a time when you manipulated God or forced your agenda. When did you finally begin to trust? What caused you to change?
24. What needs to change in your life to enable you to trust God regardless of difficult circumstances?
25. If God were to disclose to you in an obvious way that he wanted you to go in a different direction in life from the direction you are currently going, would you follow him?