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Home » Book Club Selections

Because He Loves Me: Discussion #2

Submitted by on November 14, 2011 – 2:36 pm4 Comments

This post covers chapter 2.

If you are reading this before having read chapter 2, try writing down the answers to these questions in your journal.

1. Answer this question, “Who am I?” (Go beyond your name.)

2. Answer this question, “Why was I born?”

3. Answer this question, “How do the incarnation, sinless life, death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God intersect with (or impact, or change) your everyday life?

NOTE: The way to fully answer #3 is to list each of these aspects of Jesus’ life down the left side of your paper, and then write out how each one is important to your everyday existence.

OK: If you’ve read the chapter, here are other questions to chew on.

1. Revisit the bullets on page 41-42. Take the time to write out answers for yourself personally that are as God centered and gospel saturated as you can possibly make them.

2. Elyse invokes the metaphor of drunkenness-induced amnesia to make this point:

“This disconnect between our stated beliefs…and our practical beliefs… is alcohol induced; it’s caused by our willful consumption of the intoxicating ‘wisdoms’ of the world. Rather than being inebriated with God’s mercy, grace, and Spirit (Eph. 5:18), we’re staggering around under the misconception that we really do need to love, accept, and respect ourselves to make it through the day. We’re reeling from the belief that the most important factor in any given day is our success or comfort.”

Can you relate this to yourself in specific terms? Where do you see disconnects between Bible assurances of the love of God and the meaning of life and your habitual responses to trials, temptations, hardships, or other adverse circumstances?

3. What is at the root of our spiritual amnesia? What does Elyse remind us of? (Hint: look at the first line of the last paragraph on page 46.) Now, read 1 John 4:8-9. Read it again. Do you see the progression? First, we let it sink in that God loves us (as He irrefutably shows in the story of the gospel). Then, and only then, can we love Him and others, as He commands us to do.

4. Elyse makes some pretty strong claims on pages 47-48 that our spiritual amnesia is willful. She says that we “…want to believe that we really can improve ourselves… that we “desire the approbation and accolades of our peers”… that “the attitudes of the world–self-improvement, self-reliance, self-love, self-promotion, pride, independence, and self-worship–resonate within each of us and drown out our Redeemer’s loving words.” Can you identify habits of thinking about, reacting, or responding to others and to your own thoughts that you can pinpoint to agree with Elyse?

5. “Who are you? You’re his, he is yours, and you’ve been cleansed from sin. And that’s all the identity any of us need” (p. 49). Honestly: how would this truth–understood deeply and consistently–change your life? Write down specific responses to the sin patterns (or weaknesses) that you identified in question #4.

6. Take some time to pray, by which I mean, talk honestly with your heavenly Father. He loves you so much and is eager to spend time with you.

  • Have you been drunk on worldly wisdom? Have you forgotten the depths of His love as expressed in the gospel? Yes? Then tell Him all about it! Ask for forgiveness. Cry on His shoulder. He wants to tell you all over again how much He loves you and how He’s working everything out for your good! (See Romans 8:26-39 for added assurance.)
  • Have you been walking in the good of the love of God already? Rejoice! Take time to thank Father again for sending His Son, and thank Jesus for willingly coming to die for you. Spend some time soaking in the good of this truth: God loves you and will be with you all day long, to help you as you work with your children and husband to bring His Kingdom to your home.

Below are links that will help you navigate the discussions easier. (You can also use the Archives section of this blog.)

Discussion #1 for this book.

Discussion #3 for this book.


  • Elizabeth says:

    I realize that I have spiritual amnesia, but i still don’t understand what to do about it.. I just sit and meditate that God loves me and chose me??? I still don’t get how that helps..Maybe I’ll figure it out in the next chapter. I can definitely identify with the following phrase from the book, ” we just need to find the key to the successful Christian life in a better self-help book.” I like lists.. I live from lists. I’m very productive. I’ll be honest, in all of my relationships ( if you can call them that) are based on what I do: my children on homeschooling them: academically, spiritually, etc. My husband gives me tons of things to do for him. I’ve realized that I don’t really know how to just sit and talk with people or just socialize with them. I’m always the one making sure things are done… I’m the ultimate Martha.. To be honest, Mary seems extremely lazy to me.. I mean you sit and just listen… I can listen while I set the table.. Can’t you do both.. And how in the world do you sit still for that long??? I just don’t get it…

    • Marcia says:

      Hi, Elizabeth!

      Thanks for commenting, and so honestly! I’ve been praying for you for the last few days and hope that something I write here can be used by Father to minister grace to you.

      I, too, am a Martha by nature. I totally relate to you. We Marthas do live for productivity; we do live for that endorphin that we get when a task is checked off of our lists. To be frank, we like to get things done, we’re good at it, the world needs stuff to get done, and as you say, “Why is that wrong?”

      I don’t actually think that getting things done is wrong; I don’t think that’s the message of the New Testament at all. Christ talked about how He was working while there was still light, and how God is working to this day (John 5:17). Paul worked as a tent maker for the sake of the gospel (Acts 20:35), and also said he worked harder than anyone as an apostle, yet not him but the grace of God in him (1 Cor. 15:10). God’s grace is not opposed to effort at all, as I understand it, but it is opposed to earning, and it is opposed to us putting ourselves in the place of God when we relate to others (judging them for NOT working), it is opposed to contempt for others who don’t work as skillfully as do we. And, when work opposes love, love trumps work in the Kingdom economy. Let me expand below on these thoughts.

      Let’s go back to Mary and Martha for a second. Martha was busy with many things while the eternal Son of God, the Lord of Glory was sitting in her home. Mary was giving all her attention to that Son of God, sitting and listening to His teaching, relating to Him, and loving Him. Martha was working for Him (give her the benefit of the doubt here–she could have been working to fulfill her own sense of righteousness); Mary was relating to Him. The Lord seems to say in this story (and elsewhere in the Bible–see Matthew 22:37-38) that Mary’s relating to Jesus ministered to HIM more than what Martha chose: serving a meal to Him (and presumably the whole entourage that traveled with Him). It would seem that what we can DO for God (and others) is less important to Him (and others) than how we LOVE Him (and others).

      Keeping focused for a moment on RELATIONSHIPS, how did it go down in this story? Martha was serving, but as she did, she stewed in resentful anger towards her sister and then towards the One who was permitting her sister to act as she chose. Martha then came to Jesus with a demanding, self-righteous attitude towards Him, and complaining, judgmental spirit towards her sister. “Tell her to get up and help me, Jesus!”

      What does this say of Martha’s RELATIONSHIPS to Jesus and to Mary? She seems to feel that serving in her way–getting the meal on–is THE way to serve Christ. BUT (and this is the crucial BUT) she allows that serving to become the center of her attention and, frankly, an idol (something MORE important than a right relationship with Christ and/or others). What will she do to serve her idol? Blame God and others because her agenda isn’t being met on her time table. God ceases to be God: Marthas are so often tempted to replace God with self.

      God’s gold coin is not service, but love. Do a Bible search, and you’ll see it everywhere. God IS love, and we are to show the world that we are Christians–little Christs and His kids–by our love (read 1 John 3-4 prayerfully, and you’ll see what I mean).

      As much as we Marthas don’t like it, love is the glue of the Kingdom of God, not service, not lists, and not accomplishments, even for God. Christ came to serve us and to call us to serve others, surely (Mark 10:43-45), but He died so that we could LOVE Him, and have a RELATIONSHIP with Him. Our service is meant to flow OUT OF LOVE for Him and others. His model for our relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ is not of a chain gang, but of a loving, caring family, with God as our Father. The whole thing centers in relationships, not in work or sacrifice (Matthew 12:7). Frankly, all of our works are shot through with sin (Isaiah 64:6) because we have sin natures. Even granted that we do something worthy for Christ or others purely motivated by the Spirit, all our works are going to perish. We really take ONLY our relationships to Heaven. They alone are eternal.

      Christ responded gently to Martha that Mary’s attitude TOWARDS HIM was actually preferable. He would prefer that she listen to Him, and relate to Him, than that she labor in her own strength to impress (or even to serve) Him. Let’s look for a second at the fruit of Martha’s serving. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not easily angered, it seeks not its own, it keeps no record of wrongs… (1 Cor. 13:4-7) so how does Martha measure up? Was she patient with Jesus and with her sister? Kind to them? Seeking their good and not her own? Rude?

      The problem with being a Martha is that we put tasks ahead of love. The issue for us, as you’ve said above, is that we don’t esteem love. We can see it as an unproductive waste of time. That is, until WE need love. Until WE see OUR need because we’ve blown it and come face to face with our shortcomings. Then, love will become important to us. That can be a hard way to learn the lessons of love, and Christ wants better for us Marthas!

      There’s a more excellent way: it’s when we see Christ’s love for US that we can learn to love. 1 John 4:19 gives us a tremendous key, but we Martha’s need grace to reach out and grasp it: “We love because he first loved us.” PAUSE. Reflect. Romans 8:28-29 explains that ALL things in our lives are working together to conform us to the image of a LOVING Christ. We can buck it, disdain it, and dismiss it, but that’s God’s agenda. “Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other” said Ben Franklin. God gives us Marthas this Word so that we can learn wisdom and turn from our to-do lists in FAITH, and sit to listen more and more to Him, and take time to listen more and more to those whom He has given us to love in His Name. We can turn from our to-do lists and learn to love before we create a life full of regrets… or not.

      Going on with the above passage: 1 John 4:20-21 (ESV) “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

      It’s a command, not a suggestion. It’s THE new commandment that Jesus gave us, and it’s the way that He summed up all the Law and the Prophets:

      Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)
      “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

      John 13:34-35 (ESV): Jesus is speaking…
      A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

      HOW did He love us? By coming among us. By doing NOTHING of lasting value but walk among us and relate to us for 30 years. THIRTY years. THEN, he taught, served, and died as a ransom all in the space of three short years. Today, what is He doing? Interceding for us with the Father, and waiting to welcome us home. Love is the thing that God is working at in you, or you wouldn’t have picked up this book. God is on the move, and you have a GREAT opportunity here to begin to sit at the Lord’s feet and see what He’s saying to you, dear sister!

      May you be blessed with much LOVE as you do!

      • Beth says:

        I guess the question is – how do you get off the hamster wheel? Prayer, I know, but for us list checkers, you get so used to one way of being, that you don’t even know what any other way even looks like or feels like.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Yes, that is it exactly. Very good analogy Beth. How do you break the pattern of nearly 50 years??? I’m glad someone else has joined the discussion.

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