I excitedly began to flip through the study to see what treasures were there, I realized I was looking to read her story. The author is a great writer, talented storyteller and relatable chick. So I was enticed by her words.
But the reality of it is, that is not Bible study! That may whet my appetite for Bible study, but it is not studying the Bible. It is studying her life parallel to Scripture. Now, maybe there is a place for that, as I mentioned in my last post about this topic. But lately the Lord is just setting my heart on fire for HIS WORD. God alone. Jesus only. That is where healing comes, growth happens and intimacy with God is cultivated.
I was 19 years old when I laid eyes on the man I would marry. He was so cute as he stood across the room with a pool stick in his hand. Oblivious to my stares. I asked a mutual friend about him. The friend filled me in. But then my friend walked away from me. I watched, mortified and excited, as he went right up to my future husband and said something I couldn’t read. Then they both walked towards me. I wanted to be invisible. I wondered how my hair looked but didn’t want to seem vain and actually touch it! The cute guy introduced himself and said he remembered meeting me once before. Really?! I remembered that instance but it was so brief I never dreamed he knew who I was. He extended his hand, flashing me a gorgeous smile and deep dark eyes and I balanced myself and took his hand, trying to remember to let go. Hoping he didn’t notice the clamminess. Then the friend walked away so he and I could get better acquainted. We did. And we were engaged less than a year later.
If you are married you probably have a similar story of meeting your man. The thing of it is, that unless my husband and I had met and talked personally we would have never married or grown in our relationship. The mutual friend was kind to introduce us, but had he stuck around and been our go-between then my man and I would have never gotten to really know one another.
So it is with the Lord. As Bible study teachers and pastor point us to Jesus, we get to shake hands. But until we come face-to-face with Him, alone and intimate in His word, we will never grow in our relationship with Him. Had the mutual friend stuck around, then I would have gotten to know the friend better than I would have gotten to know my man. I am tired of Bible teachers and pastors knowing Jesus better than I do. Usually it’s my own laziness that keeps me going back to them though. Oh, we need to wake up and pursue Jesus!
Let’s pursue HIM. He can be found in His Word. He is the Word. Open your Bible with me and let’s let the mutual friend get back to what they were doing.
Right now I am slowly walking through 1 Samuel and getting to know Jesus in its pages. Each morning I read 1-5 verses (working consecutively through the book), depending on context, and then ask these questions (they are taken from a conglomeration of what I have been learning from Anne Graham Lotz, David Platt and others, but it is working well for me right now!):
* What does it say? I list each verse with the facts from that verse. Yes, it seems elementary. My own self-righteousness balked at the idea for a long time, but now I have found it is exactly where the Lord begins to stir lessons He wants me to see.
* What does mean? At this point I will look at the verse facts and ask God for a picture of what’s going on. Putting myself into the scene or narrative. Looking at the cultural and contextual elements going on. What lessons or concepts is the Lord teaching through this verse/ sentence/ passage? God’s word was breathed out by God to teach, reproof, correct, and train the man and woman of God (2 timothy 3:16). So let’s see what God is refining in us through it.
I often use the acrostic SPACE to ask: Is there a sin to confess? Is there a promise to claim? Is there an action to take or not take? Is there a caution to be aware of? Or an example to follow or not follow?
*What does it reveal about God? This is of most importance. Jesus said in John 17 that eternal life is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. So let’s get to know Him through His revealed Word! ALL of Scripture points to aspects and attributes of God’s character. Look for it. There is such treasure, hope and healing in knowing your God intimately!
Finally, after I have prayerfully sought God and journaled through those thoughts and questions with Him, I ask: *How will I respond? If there was a sin to confess, then I confess it and repent and praise God for forgiveness in Jesus. If there was an attribute of His character that stood out to me, I praise Him and seek to apply that to my own character…which always leads me back to the realization of needing Jesus.
Regardless of what the Lord shows me, I try to pin down my response. And I try to be VERY specific. It can be easy to say “I will response with thanksgiving.” get up from my quiet time and complain to my husband about an issue, and grumble through my day with a friend and whine about what my kid did or didn’t do.
Instead I try to write down “I will leave a post it on the counter and try to fins 10 things to thank God for today.” Then through the day I keep coming back to the note to jot down another thing I am thankful for. My attitude begins to follow my action and my mind finds renewal in the truth.
I pray this all makes sense and blesses you as you seek to get to know Jesus intimately.