Bible Study (Part 5)

This entry was previously published by me on an old blog. Due to its relevance, I’ve included it here.

Our morning contemplation will be: Am I Expected to Study?

I actually enjoy questions like this. Don’t they just beg to fire up people on both sides of the fence?

Some emphatically stand on the belief that God has absolutely no expectations of His people, since they have freedom in Christ and everything has been done through Him. There is no “To Do List” since it has all been done. After all, expectations might suggest our God is a bit of a Task Master to His people.

Some will accept nothing less than serious study and pouring over the Word because it is a duty, part of a list of things that we absolutely must do (without question) on a daily basis in order to maintain our salvation. This could set someone on the “performance treadmill” for years with interesting results.

Might we consider a third possibility?

What if our God, in His goodness, grace, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, and in the best interest of His people, has a different way of perceiving these practices He has offered. Is it possible? I tend to think it is. As you’ve maybe read before in an earlier post, I’m a firm believer that God will call us to certain activities, but imposing those which He’s called you to on others is possibly inappropriate. Since we cannot be the Holy Spirit to another person, perhaps we would allow Him to use us in showing the benefits to others (testifying to His great wisdom), and then praying others would be wooed into His perfect will for them.

Expectation is one of those words that carries such weight, doesn’t it? Sometimes I envision two options associated with that word: success and failure. And, I envision not only my own success or failure, but I picture God’s feelings toward my success or failure. Do I disappoint Him when I fail? How do you think He feels about your victories and losses? It’s easy for me to see Him smiling and dancing over me, but what about when I mess it all up? What about breaking a streak of success and landing in moments, hours, days, or weeks of failure?

Can we possibly agree on a few things?

“For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” ~Romans 3:22b-26

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” ~Romans 3:28

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:8-10

I love this! We are new and free in Christ! Our salvation is not dependent upon works, but works are part of who we have been created to be in our “new selves” after we’ve entered into relationship with God through Jesus on the cross!

Ladies, is it possible some of these activities (the disciplines or practices) are good works created in advance for us to do? Might we be blessed beyond measure if we participate in them? (No, this isn’t like eating our veggies at the dinner table!) Bible study has an interesting place in our relationship with God, and I think we touch the tip of the iceberg with the following verses:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” ~Ephesians 6:10-18

Ladies, I am of the mind that our Bible study is very much part of the armor protecting us from this dark world, the forces of evil, and from Satan’s schemes. Yes, we know more about God’s character and will, more about our character and will, and more about the relationship between God and man. But, we also know more about our enemy and can be protected!

What do you think?


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