I said in yesterday’s post that Bible study can feel like another burden to bear when in actuality, it’s the thing meant to lessen our burdens. How? By leading us deeper into the gospel story – reminding us who Christ is and how his finished work enables our rest.
I remember a mentor of mine telling me years ago, when I was just beginning a journey of learning to study the Bible on my own, that I’d know I was studying it rightly when I started to see Jesus Christ on every page of Scripture. I didn’t really understand it completely at the time, but there was some sense of wisdom in her words, so I took it to heart as a study tool; I began to look for Jesus in every story, whether it was Old Testament or New. I’d ask of every text: what is this saying about Jesus’ redemptive purposes or man’s need for Jesus’ redemptive plan?
Beginning a New Journey
Her words ignited a small flame of understanding that the Bible was there to tell the story of the gospel, but it was years later before I was confronted with my ongoing need for the gospel to intersect my present life. I’ve shared before how God used a book called Because He Loves Me written by Elyse Fitzpatrick to open my eyes to where I’d left the gospel behind. I appreciated it for bringing me to Christ, but I thought very little of it as I then sought to grow spiritually and improve myself as a Christian in the years following. My “growth” might have looked a little like sanctification, but it was more self-reliance than anything. “He saved me, and I now I needed to do, do, do….” was my thinking. There was very little connection between what I needed to do (the Bible’s commands) and what He had DONE for me in a moment on that cross. Gratitude for the latter was not my primary motivation, and God used Elyse’s writing to sharply, yet gently, convict me of that. I began to see, in stages, that I wasn’t just in need of his grace to be saved; I needed Him for EVERYTHING. It was painful coming to grips with how I could never make myself as good as I needed to be. His grace is the only thing that will pierce my heart – knowing that His perfect love covers my nothingness is the only thing that softens a hardened heart and draws out obedience from a grateful, humble heart. Why had I stopped remembering to remember this good news?!
Since I’ve begun the journey of aiming to daily preach the gospel to myself, the Bible has come to mean so much more. It’s a lifeline. I desperately need its reminders of the grace poured out to me. And the Bible looks a lot different to me now. It’s not just a list of rules to follow or stories to inspire; it’s the account of my Savior’s love for me. When I embrace studying it, I’m pulled deeper into awareness of the work He’s done in my soul.
Can you honestly say that you are approaching God’s Word with a deep realization of your need for him? Are you so humbled by your sin that you’re longing to be fed with the good news of the gospel?
And let me ask you what my mentor Betty asked me: When you are in the Word, is it Jesus you see shining?
Come back tomorrow as we further explore this concept of the Bible as our grace-story.
This post is the second in a 31 Days series, linked up with thousands of other bloggers participating in this writing challenge for October. Click here for Day 1 of Embracing the GRACE of Bible Study.