Our Bible Cafe™ study about gratitude is complete. Congratulations on finishing the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I hope you enjoyed this online Bible study as much as I did. I enjoyed the story of transformation.

How do you feel about being “a flame to light other flames?” For the time I was a young girl I have felt called to be a flame lighting flames. It’s a natural instinct, not a learned trait. And it comes from loving and living in the Presence of God.

Ann Voskamp counted her gifts over months and years. In our study, we have been counting just five weeks. I find the gratitude journal a form of self-care, something I often resist or delay until I am too tired. So ongoing self-care and gratitude are beautiful gifts. A reflection of God working in my life.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:18-19 NLT

I like how Ann Voskamp was reminding us chapter by chapter about her struggle with anger and patience (sinful nature). Scripture says:  I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway (paraphrase). The first step is to recognize when the sinful nature (anger, lack of patience, resentment, unforgiveness) is spewing from my heart. The second step is to take this to the prayer room and confess, then correct me.

Bible study tip: Using BlueLetterBible.org look up the original meaning of the word “wrong” so you have a CLEAR understanding

Write that down (Strong’s G2556): of a bad nature; not such as it ought to be; of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting; base, wrong, wicked: troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful.

So now you have a MAP of what is wrong or evil. And then a remedy and application will follow. I want to encourage you to research KEYWORDS in Bible verses/ Make sure you understand the original language and meaning… not your own /modern interpretation of the word.

Those who are dominated by sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Romans 8:5 

 If the original meaning of “wrong” is “unjust, dishonest, immoral” then what are the opposite words? This is HOW you know you are controlled by the Holy Spirit.

We can surrender to these things: good or evil.

We can surrender to integrity or dishonesty.

We can surrender to lies or Truth.

Jesus taught us to surrender to the Holy Spirit, not to the religious spirit, political spirit, or fleshly spirit.

So we can see how we are all sinful by nature and yet also agrees we can change our sinful nature WITH CHRIST. Study the writing of Paul in your Bible, as an eyewitness of change.

As we conclude the study Ann Voskamp writes, “Serving Christ becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.” How are you serving Christ or how do you hope to serve Him soon? We serve Christ when we STOP being self-serving. We serve Christ when we STOP living as entitled people. We serve Christ when we tithe two coins WITHOUT complaint.

Mark 12:42 New International Version (NIV) But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Some of us are serving our gods and idols. We use our two coins for our selfish things. Or we hold tight to our two coins because we are afraid God does not have ENOUGH to replace them for us (poverty mindsets). The Bible says we cannot serve both money and God. Holding our two coins is serving the “money god” and not the God of hope, peace, love, and faith.

Luke 16:13 New International Version (NIV) “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Read Hebrews 13:6. Knowing the Lord is your helper, what is something you can accomplish?

(NLT) So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

(MSG) Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?

With the Lord as my Helper, I can accomplish what He desires for my life. I can disciple others, convict others, lead others to Jesus, and walk this side of eternity as a Friend of Jesus. Have you ever tested your ability to trust God and overcome fear?

Let Jesus lead you.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.