Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cause & Effect


The week didn’t start out that way…and it surely was not my intent to not complete my Bible Study Fellowship homework. But there it was…Sunday night and well after 11 pm, and the only thing I had done was read the notes. Yikes…how did that happen?

Yes, I had a busy schedule. But not more than normal…not really. I’d be hard pressed to tell you what I did that supplanted the attention that I normally devote to Bible study time. After going through a week without that personal study time…I can tell you…there is a price to be paid for not studying.

Despite the fact my lesson was blank I wanted to go to class tonight. I got there just in time for the lecture. As usual…Terri’s lecture was compelling and convicting. The images and words that Terri shared... I could not get out of my head. Terri described how two young girls hung on the words of a hymn and were in awe when learning about Jesus for the first time. They were in awe. When’s the last time I was in awe of God…or enraptured by what I was learning?

Terry contrasted that with their mom…who sat a distance away…with her arms folded. Ears hearing…but not a listening heart. Is that me? I pray not.

But God drove home the point…as I drove home. The Holy Spirit convicted me of not putting God first this week. Yes…I was in church…and at my regular Bible studies…and even attended the prayer meeting. But I didn’t read the Book. Each day…I’m eager to put in CD’s to hear great preaching…I’m drinking from an abundant well…but I’m left thirsty.

Then I realized…that by not taking the time to do my study, to read the Bible for myself...I was neglecting my personal relationship with God. There is a time and place for all the above activities. They are very good…but not when they take the place of personal Bible study time.

God brought to mind the analogy of a husband saying he was knows and is communicating with his wife…but he has no personal or direct contact with her. Instead of seeing her and talking with her face to face…or speaking directly to her on the phone…he’s satisfied with talking to her friends or family to find out how she’s doing. They may even be giving an accurate assessment of how his wife is doing…but it in no way substitutes for personal interaction. To know and see her for himself.

That’s exactly what I was doing. Listening to sermons or Bible studies is a good. But it never should replace my own personal Bible study time. Even if the Pastor is accurate and effective in preaching the word of God…I’m hearing it through someone else’s filter. I’m not hearing God speak directly to me through the study of His word.

The husband and wife analogy is an apt description. Just as husband would more inclined to start looking elsewhere and be tempted to stray when he doesn’t foster and maintain that personal relationship…so too am I vulnerable to wandering.

As the old hymn goes, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love”. But the remedy is simple, yet not easy. “Here’s my heart, Oh take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above”. That sealing…that binding takes place when I’m studying and reading His word for myself…daily.

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