Study the context of the Matthew 18 passage. In what ways is God's concept of "greatness" different from the world's?
Do you desire to serve others, or to be served? What does this passage say about your attitude and your position in the kingdom?
If you need to change your attitude and actions, what are some specific things you can begin to do? (Alternate question: Is God doing anything in your life - including testing you - to change you and your attitude? If so, what? How are you going to respond to what God is doing?)
[Also applies the other way around.]
Compare the attitude you have toward yourself to the attitude you have toward others. Who do you exalt (treat as more important)? Who do you humble or humiliate (treat as having lesser importance)? What does God say about your attitude? Does he oppose you or favor you?
Give some examples of how people often exalt themselves. Do you do any of these things? (If so, what must you do to change?)
Give some examples of how people can humble themselves. Do you do any of these things? (If you are weak in this, list some specific things you can do, in order to begin changing your attitude and actions.)
Look at the principle found in v. 52. How is it similar to the statements examined in the previous section? [Don't forget that this "general principle" does not always get fulfilled NOW (in this present life), but sooner or later it WILL happen.]
Mary is perhaps the greatest example of the fulfillment of this promise in this present life. Look for some other examples in the Bible, in which this principle was fulfilled. (Two examples to begin with: 1 Samuel 2; the book of Job) Can you find any examples in which fulfillment was delayed - but which will come at the final day of justice? (Note that a similar concept is seen at the end of Hebrews 11. Some received the promise they were looking for before they died; others afterwards.)
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Dennis Hinks © 1998