I love blogging because I get to explain myself in ways that I could not possibly just by speaking out loud. I get to elucidate lessons to myself and (hopefully) to others. However, I love this series because I get to sit back and be taught. Lauren Conroy is one of the most dedicated, faithful, and kind people I have ever met. And she happened to be my freshman year roommate! When she set out to read the entire Bible, I knew she would follow through. And she did. In less than 90 days. Just let that sink in. I learned some much from living with her and now I get to share what she learned! The Lord is faithful in giving us teachers, and even more faithful in giving us good friends.
When I was 7 I was given a leather-bound, cherry red Bible. For years I used the bible sporadically, maybe once or twice a month. In the times where I was really feeling stressed, I would go to it, close my eyes and open to a random page hoping that it would “speak to me.” Rarely did I go to the Bible to study it and never did I appreciate its value. Like so many others, I didn’t fully grasp the notion that every word God intended for us to know, he put into the Bible, and that the Bible is God’s way of speaking directly to us.
I wanted to define my Freshman year in some way. It’s easy to let yourself get wrapped up in the college experience and “skip religion” for just a couple of years. You promise yourself that you’ll be more faithful later on, but now is really not the time for that. The fact of the matter is that that’s not how it works. The Bible says, to not “let anyone look down on you because you are young, but to set an example in speech, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 That’s why in January I made a concerted effort to spend a lot more time in The Word. I split up the Bible into 88 sections and for that many days I read every single night.
Obviously there is A LOT to be taken away from the Bible. There are thousands and thousands of lessons that God uses it to teach us. For me, there are three main points that God used it to reveal to me.
#1 God is not meant to be understood.
One of the reasons that I decided to read the Bible was because I thought it may give me a better understanding of God. Before completing it, I always wondered why I needed to pray when my future is predetermined and God already knows what He wants to do with my life. I let this question get in the way of my reliance on Him. But now I understand that God is not meant to be understood and that the complexity of His ways are beyond human comprehension. Attempting to figure out how he works is the same as attempting to comprehend infinity. There is no possible way. If I spend my time trying to understand why and how God does what He does, I will always come up disappointed. The only way to give Him control over my life is through faith. Faith is about belief in the things we can’t see or understand. It is about accepting our role as sheep in God’s flock. We must follow the lead of Abraham and Moses and Paul, and trust that what He does and how He does it is in our best interests.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3
#2 We are living for God and not us.
Time and time again in the Bible, humans decided that they were going to do what would make them happy. They worshipped false Gods, they were adulteress, they lived to self-satisfy. They took advantage of the many blessing that God had given to them. They failed to realize that God provides for us so that we can glorify Him. Our role as Christians on this Earth is to show people God’s love and to worship Him in every way possible. As humans, it is only natural that we think first about ourselves in all of our decisions. But, as difficult as it is, all of our decisions should be made with the goal of serving God. We often forget that this life is not about how much glory we can bring to our own names, but about how much glory we can bring to His name. We live in a “treat yourself” society where everything we do, we do with the purpose of making ourselves happy. We avoid uncomfortable situations and we ignore what we know God is trying to tell us because we would rather satisfy our own wants than His needs. The reality is that without God, we wouldn’t even be here. We owe our lives to Him.
“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart towards your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” Psalms 119: 35-36
#3 Humans are imperfect. We will disappoint God time after time, but he will always love us.
The entire Bible is made up of the same story over and over again; humans are suffering, God rescues them, humans disregard his help. It astounds me the amount of times that humans reject God. No matter how much He does for them, they refuse to worship Him. The Israelites were saved from slavery and safely delivered to their promised land and they STILL found flaws in God’s tactics. They STILL sinned against him and worshipped other gods. Originally I was shocked that God would continue to love such sinful people, and then I was grateful. I realized that as many blessings as God has provided for me, I still sin. As many times as he has saved me from hardship and brought me joy, I continue to defy his name. There is no way that I could ever express the gratitude I feel when I think about God’s unconditional love and his awesome and never-ending forgiveness. I am so flawed but because of Jesus’s sacrifice for me I am allowed to spend eternity with the most perfect being that exists. “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-3