Published by SL Resources, Inc. A Division of Student Life
© 2009 SL Resources, Inc.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version (North American Edition), copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
ISBN-10: 1-935040-75-8 ISBN-13: 978-1-935040-75-0 31 Verses Every Teenager Should Know ™ www.studentlife.com www.31verses.com
Intro i How To Use ii
WhAt Is a DiSciple?-----------------------HoW do I dEnY mySelF?------------------------
How dO i TakE up mY CroSs?------------------------
HOw Do i folLoW ChrisT?------------------------
Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse
1: Luke 9:23 2: Luke 14:33 3: Luke 6:40 4: Matthew 10:42 5: 1 Corinthians 4:1 6: 1 Peter 3:15 7: Philippians 2:5 8: Proverbs 3:5 9: Philippians 3:8 10: 1 Corinthians 6:19 11: 1 Peter 4:4 12: 1 Peter 1:13 13: Luke 14:28 14: John 15:18 15: Romans 5:3 16: Romans 6:6 17: 1 Corinthians 1:18 18: Galatians 2:20 19: 1 Corinthians 2:2 20: Philippians 1:29 21: 1 Peter 4:16 22: 2 Timothy 2:9 23: James 5:10 24: Matthew 4:19 25: Matthew 8:20 26: Galatians 5:25 27: Philippians 1:21 28: John 14:12 29: 1 John 1:6 30: Ephesians 5:1 31: John 20:21
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61
Closing 64 Followers 66
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Something has changed over time. Somehow we’ve slipped into a pattern of thinking that says being a Christian is not much different from living without a relationship with God. You don’t believe me? Take a look at your life. What are you living for? Are you spending all your time and energy just to “get ahead” or to achieve something great? Or maybe you’re just enjoying life and doing whatever feels best at the time. All I’m saying is that many of us act like as long as we have the “I believe in Jesus” box checked off our list, we get to go to Heaven when we die, but nothing about our daily life has to change. We still do our own thing except for going to church sometimes and maybe telling other people that they should get saved too . . . But why should anybody else want to simply add church-related stuff to their schedule when it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in our lives? And what’s more, why should we be crazy enough to think that God is so happy that we say He is real and that Jesus really died for our sins if we keep living however we want and doing the very things that Jesus died to forgive? Our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price—the precious blood of Jesus has set us free. Everything about our lives should be overflowing with that truth, dripping with the love of God. He came to us so that we would chase after Him, following His every move, hanging on to every word from Scripture. So are you? Are you a follower of Christ? Really? Does your life say so? We’re not perfect, but a few of my friends want to walk alongside you as you take your own journey of following Christ. Our prayer is that this book exposes you to the amazing truth contained in God’s Word, and that you will become more of a follower as a result. Fellow Follower, Jeremy Maxfield
HOW TO USE
Now that you own this incredible little book, you may be wondering, “What do I do with it?” Glad you asked . . . The great thing about this book is that you can use it just about any way you want. It’s not a system. It’s a resource that can be used in ways that are as unique and varied as you are. A few suggestions . . . The “One Month” Plan On this plan, you’ll read one devotion each day for a month. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the Bible for a month-long period. (OK, we realize that every month doesn’t have 31 days. But 30 is close enough to 31, right?) The idea is to cover a lot of information in a short amount of time. The “Scripture Memory” Plan The idea behind this plan is to memorize the verse for each day’s devotion; you don’t move on to the next devotion until you have memorized the one you’re on. If you’re like most people, this might take you more than one day per devotion. So, this plan takes a slower approach. The “I’m No William Shakespeare” Plan Don’t like to write or journal? This plan is for you . . . Listen, not everyone expresses themselves the same. If you don’t like to express yourself through writing, that’s OK. Simply read the devotion for each verse, then read the questions. Think about them. Pray through them. But don’t feel like you have to journal if you don’t want to. The “Strength In Numbers” Plan God designed humans for interaction. We are social creatures. How cool would it be if you could go through 31: Following with your friends? Get a group of friends together. Consider agreeing to read five verses each week, then meeting to talk about it. Pretty simple, right? Choose a plan. Or make up your own. But get started already. What are you waiting on?
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
1.Describe what being a Christian means to you. How does your understanding line up with Jesus’ definition of being a Christ-follower?
n average, your heart beats at least once every second. That means it should beat at least 3,600 times an hour, 86,400 times a day, and 31,536,000 times a year. So if you’re a teenager (and I’m assuming you are since this book was made especially for you), your heart has pumped between 400 and 600 million times already in your lifetime. If you’ve ever ridden a roller coaster, seen a scary movie, worked up the courage to talk to that cute guy or girl, or participated in anything else that got your pulse racing—like real exercise—then you’re well above the minimum number of heartbeats needed to make life possible. Read Luke 9:23–27. Jesus had just asked His disciples to share what they (and others) believed about Him. Christ then clarified that regardless of any expectations, preferences, or opinions, the truth of the matter is that He had come to live, die, and be raised again to glorify God and to save our lives. He left no room for confusion. Anyone who wants to call himself or herself a Christian and wants to experience eternal life as part of God’s Kingdom must follow these steps. This is not optional. Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Christ. The term Christian means “Christ-follower.” Taking one step isn’t the same as following. What if your heart only beat once? You wouldn’t really be alive. It’s a mistake to believe that saying a single prayer, raising a hand, or walking down some church aisle is the bare minimum for a spiritual life. Truthfully, Jesus doesn’t give us the option of a bare minimum life. He calls us to share His heartbeat daily. So, turn away from the sins that Jesus died to atone for on the cross, embrace anything that God is calling you to endure for His greater purpose, and trust Him wherever He leads you.
2.The best way to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ is to take steps to know Him better. Start replacing your thoughts with His. Commit to reading His Word daily. Write down the time and place here.
3.What things in your life do you treat as more valuable than following Christ? In what situations do you find yourself ashamed of Jesus or the Bible? Write out a prayer that asks for boldness and devotion in your daily walk.
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 1.What’s the last thing you bought or did that had a big price associated with it? How were you able to afford it?
ave you ever found yourself sitting at home on a Saturday night with nothing to do—not because you didn’t know of anything going on but because what you wanted to do cost money, and at that point in time you didn’t have any? It’s the worst feeling to know that you’re missing out on something just because the price was too high or that it even carried a price at all.
2.What costs do you know of that are involved with following Jesus?
Read Luke 14:28–33. Have you ever wished that you could live your life by going anywhere you like, doing anything you desire, and getting whatever you want without any consideration for what it costs? Can’t you just imagine finding some magical debit card that you can swipe at any location worldwide and never have to worry about being over your balance or having to pay it back? Imagine the freedom that would provide you. Most of us think that such a scenario would be a dream come true. Of course, that’s not how the world works at all. There is no magical card. It seems that everything has some kind of price associated with it. We’re always forced to plan ahead of time for what we want to do, to determine the cost, and to make plans for how we’re going to pay for it. The same is true for following Jesus. The only issue is that we don’t always know exactly what is going to be asked of us in our journey with Him. What we do know, though, is that life is worth it—whatever the cost. Jesus, however, calls us to take the time to determine whether we would still follow Him if it cost us everything—even our lives. In a lot of ways, it already does.
3.How willing are you to give up everything for Him?
4.Write a prayer to God below that asks Him to help you in truly understanding what it costs you to follow Him. Honestly express to Him how willing you are (or aren’t) right now to give up everything. Commit to going no matter where He leads and no matter what the cost.
A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
o some people within your group of friends have the ability to influence your decisions? Are you the person who influences those around you? Whether we like it or not, we often go along with certain people even if doing so is against our personal convictions. People, including you and your friends, have the power to influence other people for good . . . or bad. Read Luke 6:37–40. By this time in the narrative, Jesus had experienced some controversy. He had just called His 12 disciples and had begun teaching them and any others who were listening. In verse 39 Jesus introduces a parable, a short story that communicates a moral message. Jesus painted the mental picture of a blind person leading another blind person. What would happen if blind people were leading each other? Eventually they both would lose their way. Pay close attention to verse 40. Jesus said that a student’s goal is not to be greater than his or her teacher, but to be like the teacher and to live a life according to the example set by the teacher. You see, Jesus knew that people tend to behave like the people they follow. If you follow people who are judgmental and hateful, you will be inclined to act that way as well. If you follow people who are gracious and encouraging, you will likely imitate their actions. As someone who desires to follow Christ, your goal should be to live like your Teacher. By placing your faith in Christ, you have agreed to the idea of following after Him. Jesus is truthful. You should be truthful. Jesus is bold. You should be bold. Jesus is forgiving. You should be forgiving. Jesus is loving. You should be loving. Get it?
1.Do you easily influence people, or are you easily influenced? (Maybe you’re a little of both.) What changes can you make in your life to begin to reach a good balance between influencing others and being influenced by others?
2.In what ways do you most closely imitate Christ in your actions and thoughts?
3.In what areas of your life do you struggle in imitating Christ?
4.Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you address the areas in your life in which you need to become more like Christ.
Do these things, live this way, and you will find yourself becoming more and more like your Teacher, the one and only Jesus Christ.
This is not the end. Well, it is and it isn’t. Congrats on following through with your commitment to this book, by the way. You stuck with it. It’s always a big deal to finish what you start. This is the end of the book, but your journey is just beginning. The hope is that as you’ve walked through these pages and over the past several weeks or months, you’ve gained a better understanding of who you are and what your life is about. You are a follower. Your life is about following. You’re not following the crowds or the latest trends or even your own impulses, dreams, or ambitions. You’re following Christ. Your life is His life now. Have you become more aware of your calling? Has the Holy Spirit grown more evident in your daily walk? Are you able to better recognize His voice and follow in His footsteps? We pray that you are confident in God’s will and the direction in which He is leading you. If you have committed your life to following Christ—I’m guessing that you have since you actually made it to the end of 31 verses on the subject—you are now a disciple. Just like He transformed the lives of those ordinary men while also using their unique personalities, abilities, and backgrounds, He is doing the same thing in and through your life right now. So go. Follow Him. Wherever He leads you. And make new disciples as you go. Invite friends and family, neighbors and strangers, teachers and coaches, bosses and coworkers, teammates and rivals—all to give their lives to the only worthwhile goal, which is following Christ. So what’s your next step? You’ve developed a great habit, which is very helpful in following Christ. You may not have even realized it, but spending time in prayer and in Scripture and then letting His Spirit lead you into putting the truth into action is always a step in the right direction. Now go. Follow.