Where The Rubber Meets The Road

This week has been interesting, to say the least. It started off with comparison gripping my heart. I was just scrolling on Instagram and all of a sudden I see a sister in Christ, celebrating something I had prayed for and had not yet received. Instagram has been a blessing in my life but also a stumbling block. I love to encourage women, men, anyone who follows me with God’s truth. I feel really useful in God’s kingdom because of the content I create and share on Instagram.

I think social media and blogging as a whole gives me the ability to use the gifts that God has given me for the body of Christ.

Comparison for me is like when someone hits the lights in a bug-infested home, they all come out and scatter. I get thundered with comparisons, questions, and accusations toward God. I loathe the fact that rejoicing with others isn’t something that I do well. I consider my lot and I am intensely infuriated by the fact that I even dare to compare myself to anyone else. It is the absolute worst. I know these comparisons, questions, and accusations are all lies but I can’t stop myself from believing them. I get so angry that I want to delete the app or take a break from it altogether. I become convinced that if I didn’t have an Instagram account I wouldn’t be dealing with comparisons. My frustrations with dealing with comparison reminded me of the depression I had dealt with before Christ. I was so depressed and there wasn’t a “reason” for it in the world. Back then I didn’t know that you could be depressed and have no reason for those feelings. I didn’t know about chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression. But that’s how it feels to compare my life to others. There is nothing wrong with what God has given me, but I couldn’t find it in myself to be thankful for any of it.

Then I started to slowly but surely drift away from God. I wasn’t peeling open my Bible nor was I praying at all. And if I did it was quick and my requests were for others and not myself. At a certain point, I started to believe that God was angry with me for not reading my Bible and for not praying. It’s moments like this where my performance streak sneaks up on me. If I thought that God was angry with me because I stopped doing spiritual disciplines, then I must really believe that those things are what makes me acceptable to Him; and not the sacrifice of His Son. I fell in this slump of self-pity and overindulging in things to pacify or reward myself.

What I did was lie down in the biggest battle that I continue to have, for my mind. It felt like I had left the house in the biggest rainstorm. The lies thundered in my head, and I had drifted away from the only anecdote, God’s truth. I cannot ignore the spiritual realities of what I was dealing with. The accuser’s lies were so swift and so fast that they pushed me off a ledge. I felt I couldn’t win the battle. I felt I couldn’t hold every thought captive. It felt overwhelming and I did all I knew how to do, which is cower and raise my white flag.

I titled this entry, “Where the rubber meets the road” because we all will go through these storms and we need to hide the word of God in our hearts before the surging waters. By God’s grace, I’ve always been pretty consistent spending time in His Word. But in that storm (due to me drifting away from time in the Word) I was bone dry. I had some remnants of scriptures in my heart, but not enough to survive that level of a storm. While you are in a storm or a trial, is not the time to slacken on spending time in God’s Word. You will feel so weary but you still need to hide the Word in your heart.

We read God’s word so we can know Him, and worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are also commanded to love Him with our mind (Luke 10:27). But also when we have to walk out in the worst rainstorms. These storms or trials are different from person to person. But God permits these for a very grand purpose, so that we may know Him better. Think about what Job said in response to his own sufferings:

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6

Job says he had some amount of knowledge of God but through his sufferings, he came to know God more deeply.

Friends, when you go through storms don’t assume that God is unable to snatch you out of them. But lest we forget that suffering, storms, and trials produce a needful fruit within us that sunny days cannot.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

The next time we face a storm we will endure longer and we won’t give up so soon. We have been given the privilege to not just believe in Christ but also to suffer with Him (Phil 1:29). So, our quiet time isn’t just to stir our hearts or more importantly to renew our minds. But also help us to face the storm, hand in hand with other believers and following behind our great Shepherd.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

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Four Things To Look Out For While Reading The Bible

I don’t know any other topic I am consistently passionate about other than the Bible. I want to see every child, woman, and man to grab a hold of the Bible and not let go. To look and look at their Maker until they resemble His likeness. But with that said I thought it was important to note how to be watchful of ourselves when we read our Bibles.

1. Studying Or Reading The Bible Doesn’t Earn God’s Love.

God’s love is perfect so there is nothing that we can do to add or take away from that love. I wish I could say that this is a lie that I only believed when I first had saving faith in Christ. But it is a lie I am inclined to believe this to this very day. I realized only once I got saved that I have a performance streak in me. I wanted to prove just how lovable I could be to this God. And the other side of that coin was that when I knew in myself that I was wholly unlovable, I sank into the pit of despair. This takes reminding ourselves of the Gospel every day. We may not read a chapter of the New Testament every day. But we must repeat the Gospel to ourselves with intentionality.

For example:

“God accepts and loves me because of Jesus Christ. I have experienced the great exchange with Jesus. He has received the punishment, separation from the Father, and death that my sins deserved. And I have received His righteousness. I am a child of God and He is jealous for me.”

We can spend hours in the Bible or we can spend minutes, His love will not change for us. But also I think Jen Wilkin said it best, “The heart can’t love what the mind does not know”.

Scripture reading is so good for our souls. It makes obedience look good and sin look bad. It anchors our often troubled souls. We have a new need for God’s truth every single day that we awake. We love the Word so that we may love God more and keep His commands not that He will love us. He already does, He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that! And we are no longer His enemies we are His children.

2. That Any Truth Gleaned Is Revealed To Us By God

It didn’t take long for the sin of pride to grip my heart when reading the Word. At one point every time I would open the Bible I would discover so much truth that I began to believe the lie that it was my wisdom that had garnered these truths. God quickly responded to this by showing me that it wasn’t within myself that I had gleaned these truths. In those following days the Bible that was opened up to me like an oyster was shut tight and I couldn’t make it open to me. The Holy Spirit soon convicted me and I repented. I’ve always fancied myself to be bright, and I thought that explained why I understood so much of the Bible. When in all actuality it was my Teacher, the Holy Spirit who gave me these truths. Now I come to the Word as humbly as I can, with lots of prayer. I believe that those days where I don’t understand certain passages of the text reminds me just how dependent I am on God to understand His Word.

3. Searching Scriptures Only To Find A ‘Word’ For The Day.

I get it, I do, sometimes we just have to make a beeline for the book of Psalms. The toil of everyday living or the storms of life have us going to and fro, and we need to be anchored in God’s truth. But I often would come to the Bible so weary that I wasn’t trying to learn about God, I just wanted to be assured that it would all be alright. I looked intently for the verse that could speak into my life that day. Instead of looking for the attributes of the God that never changes.

The Bible is about God, period. We do gain insight into who we are or into human nature by reading the Word. But if we come to the Bible only to look for ourselves we are cheating ourselves.

I think for a while I didn’t realize that seeing various attributes or the character of God could anchor my troubled soul as well. This God whom Enoch walked with, I walk with today. The God that was faithful to David will be faithful to me. I had no idea that what I needed the most was to see God, and not myself.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I usually sneak a line or two in my prayer before reading the Word. For example:

“Lord, clear any ill-motivations that I may have for coming to Your Word.”

Some wrong reasons that I’ve come to the Bible include:

  • To share something on social media.
  • To check Scripture reading off my to-do list.

In themselves neither of these reasons are sinful. It is good to use our platforms to make much of God. And Scripture reading is a spiritual discipline that needs to be on our list of daily priorities. But because of the sin in our hearts any good thing can be perverted and twisted.

I may only be sharing to gain some vainglory for myself, or to make much of myself and not Christ. This is a problem. I may get so caught up in scratching meeting with God off my list that I don’t ask Him give me a desire for His Word. Or I don’t ask Him to bring revival into my heart. And even more importantly I don’t repent of these feelings. I know that the word of God is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10;119:103). So when I can’t taste the sweetness there is something wrong with my taste buds. And this too is a problem

4. That Reading God’s Commands Are More Important Than Keeping Them.

God prizes obedience to His commands over our own knowledge of them. All through Scriptures God tells us over and over again that keeping His commands is what really matters to Him. He told it to King Saul by way of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus spoke about the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And James warned us not to be hearers only but to be doers of God’s word (James 1:22).

The blessing comes in the doing not in the knowing.

This took me a while to grasp. I certainly know the miserableness of knowing better and not doing better. I think on some level we all do going through this lifelong process of sanctification. God has given us a portion that He knew we could handle. He’s given us today, and to practice the truth we’ve attained (Philippians 3:16)

Last Things

Even though I present these four things to look out for while reading the Bible, let us not cease to press on to know God. Meeting with God is more important than anything else we can do. Let us still put that important meeting on the top of our lists. Let us still come to the Word weary-hearted. Finally, let us be watchful but let us not stop gleaning from God’s enduring Word.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.