Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pick Your Poison

It wasn’t exhaustion and fatigue at the end of each day, nor reluctantly dragging myself out of bed each morning that helped me to realize that I need to slow down.  It was a conversation with a friend. 
 
She asked how I was doing and I explained that life was busy, that I was involved with this Bible study and that one…and it was like juggling balls to figure out which homework that I should work on today.  I concluded the conversation with, “It’s pick your poison.”
 
Pick your poison!!! Good golly how in the world did I get to the point where Bible study became like picking my poison?  Actually I didn’t even see it, until my husband Chris pointed it out to me after he heard our conversation. 
 
That’s when I realized that while both Bible studies that I was involved with were good and worthy…that I was involved in too much.  I wasn’t giving either one the attention that it deserved.  I wasn’t spending the time I needed to diligently study God’s word....and let it get in me and penetrate my heart and soul and change me.
 
Instead, both Bible studies became more like a completing a checklist …I read the books and scripture, answered the questions and memorized the verses and got to check off my little box.  Frequently I found myself irritated...annoyed by the author not getting to the point quickly enough so I could get on to the next assignment and exasperated by my husband wanting me to fix dinner and eat at the table together.  Somehow I don’t think that’s what God has in mind when I study His word. 
 
I got to check off a box, but I didn’t get to meet with the King of kings and Lord of lords.  I didn’t come before the throne of grace and spend time and delight in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
In examining my actions, heart and attitude, I realized that I needed to slow down.  Slow down and do one thing well rather than two, three or more things poorly.  So I made the decision to drop out of one study.  It was a great study…I enjoyed the Bible study, the people and the leaders.  I would greatly miss them.  But I needed to fulfill my commitment to my first Bible study group.
 
Isn’t it just like the enemy to take something that is good and right and distort it…make it about self effort and accomplishments, instead of loving the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.  My sin nature is reflected in the desire to look good before man rather than hunger and thirst to God more through the study of His word. 
 
In Hebrews 4:12 we learn that the “word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and is piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
 
In my busyness, I dull the sharp blade of the word of God.  It barely touches much less penetrates my heart and mind, and does not divide my soul and spirit.  I wonder is it intentional so that I don’t have to examine myself in the light of God’s word…so that I don’t have to yield to the Master?
 
Tomorrow at church, we are having a women’s function so we can see what studies will be available for the fall.  I need to listen to the Lord…and choose what He would have me do.  Will it be a Precepts study through our church or at another church, will it be Bible Study Fellowship’s new study in Isaiah, will it be with Community Bible Study or a small group women’s study through church?
 
While I’ve loved working in one of the small group studies for the past year and a half…I greatly miss a more in depth and challenging study.  In reading and studying God’s word directly I hear from God clearly.  While I love Bible studies from the gifted women teachers…it seems I’m hearing God’s word through the filter of another person.  Don’t get me wrong…I have many CD’s and studies from many teachers…but there is nothing like studying God word in depth and hearing God for myself.   
 
I wish I could say that I’m disciplined enough to study in depth on my own…but truth be told I’m not.  That’s why I need to choose a good study that will encourage me and help me to diligently study God’s word. 
 

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