Overview

God gives us many good gifts. But, these "good" things can become "god" things. This study explores how we use things like alcohol, sex, beauty, and relationships to get approval, power, comfort, and security. Instead of dealing with our behavior at a surface level, this study surfaces the root reasons behind our abuse of God's gifts and why we look to them for fulfillment instead of God himself.

What makes Gifts of God unique?

The bible study series...

Affirms the gifts of God (avoids fundamentalism)

Surfaces idolatry (avoids behavior modification)

Applies the Gospel (avoids moralism and legalism)

Gives practical advice (avoids being abstract)

Download The Studies

LAYOUT PREVIEW:

Relationships: The Pursuit of Fulfillment

Relationships are a gift from God. But, we have sought after ultimate fulfillment in them. The Gospel confronts the way we try to pile the deepest longings of our heart onto one person instead of God himself.

Alcohol: The Pursuit of Happiness

Alcohol is a gift from God. But, it is often an abused gift. The Gospel confronts both the way we use alcohol to get the happiness that only God can give and the way we use legalistic solutions to fix alcohol abuse.

Beauty and Appearance: The Pursuit of Acceptance

Beauty is a gift from God. But, it is often a redefined and abused gift. The Gospel confronts both the way we use beauty to get the acceptance that only God can give and the way we use our moral performance to make ourselves beautiful enough for God.

Sex: The Pursuit of Intimacy and Pleasure

Sex is a gift from God. But, we abuse this gift by redefining its boundaries. The Gospel confronts both the way we pursue sex as life's highest pleasure and the way we reduce sex to either an appetite or procreation.

Success: The Pursuit of Worthiness

Success is a gift from God. But, we use our work, family, and spiritual achievements to receive praise from God and others. The Gospel confronts the way we try to acquire a sense of worthiness from our successes rather than God himself.

[NEW] Time: The Pursuit of Productivity

Time is a gift from God. But we abuse this gift by spending our time chasing our own pursuits. The Gospel confronts both the way we spend large amounts of time accomplishing nothing at all or accomplishing a lot for selfish pleasures rather than to please God.

 


What Others Are Saying...

"I read the success study and I was hooked, so I went on to read through the sex and relationship studies as well. They presented both an encouragement and a challenge to me as I thought about some of the idols in my life."

"The studies were well done, relevant and connected with heart issues via idols of the heart."

"I think the alcohol study broke down some legalistic tendencies for my group of guys."

"I do Greek ministry and was looking for a study to go through with a girl who just became a believer and is very confused on why Christians don't drink, have sex, etc. I love how you made them so practical for even new believers. This is definitely the best resource I have seen."

"They provide a great perspective for college students to hear - and are full of scripture."

"They are awesome... I love how they avoid legalism because i feel like with many of our students they just want to figure out what the "rule" on issue is... They dont want to wrestle with the heart issue!"

"I really like doing these. They're cool!"

"So many of my sorority girls (and I) have been rocked by the study on beauty. One girl and I discussed how we could take the Gospel presentation on the back and turn that into natural mode evangelism while girls are getting ready for exchanges and formals. I challenged her to do it and the next week she came back having shared parts of the Gospel with her sisters while they were shopping for new dresses. She brought up how we are on this endless treadmill to reach "beautiful" but we know we will never actually arrive. Then she shared her hope in an eternal beauty and how she can find security in Christ's exchange for her ugliness and his beauty and how that makes her free from the race this world is on."


Summary

Every good and perfect gift comes down from God above and everything he created is good (James 1:17; 1 Tim. 4:4). The Father loves giving good gifts (Matt. 7:11). He demonstrates his generosity by giving good gifts to both believers and non-believers (Matt. 5:45).

But, as one Puritan prayed: "When thy blessings come I begin to idolize them, and set my affection on some beloved object - children, friends, wealth, honor; Cleanse this spiritual adultery... close my heart to all but thee."

The problem is that we take the gifts of God and worship them instead of God. The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans that our human default is to worship created things rather than the Creator (Rom. 1). In Paul's letter to the Ephesians he told them that before knowing God they were slaves to the things in nature that are not gods at all (Gal. 4:8).

Pastor Tim Keller, in his insightful book Counterfeit Gods, says that we have surface idols and deep idols. The four overarching deep idols are:

Surface idols are more concrete and visible like alcohol, money, relationships, etc. We worship these tangible surface idols in order to find fulfillment in our deep idols. As you can see, our sin runs very deep. We have foresaken God, our Creator and Provider, who has offered us everything we could ever need, yet we run to created things instead. We have turned good things into god things.

The solution lies in the Gospel. Jesus lived a perfect life - without worshiping or abusing the Father's good gifts. He also died to forgive us of our idolatry and make us righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21). If we trust in Christ and are united with him, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), who empowers us with the motivation and ability to redeem gifts like alcohol, sex, beauty, and relationships.

Each study has a Leader's Guide at the beginning and is broken down into five sections:

  1. Affirming the gift
  2. Exploring what the Bible says
  3. Surfacing the root issue
  4. Looking at the Gospel solution
  5. Redeeming the gift in our culture