Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guest Post: Finding Joy in Christ through Bible Study

I've met some wonderful bloggers, and Rosann is one of my favorites! She takes her walk with God very seriously, and her joy in doing so is quite evident. This creates a challenging and uplifting blog. Thanks, Rosann, for sharing your inspiring journey with my readers!

Total transformation. 
A completely changed person is who I see when I look in the mirror every morning.  Who do you see through your reflection?  Maybe your story is similar to mine.    
I reflect back to the person I was just ten years ago.  I was young and selfish.  Living it up as a twenty-something wild girl.  Lukewarm in my faith.  Career-driven.  Idolizing all the comfort objects of life.  Especially money.  Feeling like I had everything I wanted…even if it meant living the rat race to obtain my perceived happiness. Life wasn't about living for Christ.  It was all about living for me.
Now, as I look at my reflection in the mirror, my eyes tell the story of my own brokenness.  Every emotional detail of the last decade.  The beautiful and sometimes painful ways God worked in my life.  The paths He led me down.  The way He spoke to me through His word.  The spiritual journey He sent me on.  And my resulting transformation.  Now, I see a person who knows true joy in Christ.  But my journey doesn't stop here.  It's forever evolving.

"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. I gain understanding from your precepts, therefore I hate every wrong path."
- Psalm 119:97-104

Studying God's word makes us wiser in life-changing ways.  Immersing ourselves in scripture is how we uncover the key to living a life of true joy in Christ.    
Of course, finding that joy hasn't come easily for me.  I always knew the answer was woven through the pages of my Bible, but every time I opened it up, the words were so overwhelming.  For a long time I tried to fumble my way through God's word with my own Self-Directed Bible Study time.  And yes, even in my confusion I learned much.      
God did use the Bible to speak to my heart and to teach me.  Maybe I was nearing a break-through but couldn't quite get there on my own.  I believe He knew I needed something to enhance the learning process so I could begin to make life changing choices along the way. 
One of the characteristics I love about God is that He's all-knowing.  He knows just what we need to grow in our faith and exactly when we need it.  So in His perfect timing,  I felt Him nudging me to join a group of women for a weekly Bible study at our church. 
They were just starting a new fall study.  The book was Beth Moore's Breaking Free.  It was just what I needed at that particular time in my life.  And it was a new experience for me in that I'd never before read through a Directed (or pre-planned) Bible study.
Through Beth Moore's words and reference to related scripture, I was able to dig deep into my soul and learn things about myself I never realized.    On a side note, if you've gone through Breaking Free, I'm sure you can agree with how life-changing that particular study is.  (You can read more about my experience with Breaking Free here.)
The reality is, anyone can pick up a Bible and start reading it.  But understanding it in ways that can be applied to present life circumstances isn't always easy.  This is where a Directed Bible study can be extremely beneficial. 
There are countless benefits in choosing to read through a Directed Bible study.  Here are five of the most powerful benefits: 
1.  Self-Discovery.  Learn more about yourself.  Realize your own brokenness (yes, we are all broken in some way).  Discover the true temperature of your faith and what your present relationship is with God.  Are you radically living a life for God and His purpose?  Do you trust Him completely? Think about your lifestyle choices and learn what's most important in the eyes of your Creator.
2.  Life Application.  A directed study will lead you through the scriptures in simple, yet thought-provoking ways.  This then allows you to have a better understanding for how to apply God's word to your particular circumstances and to your life.   
3.  Deeper Faith.  Learn more about God.  Who is He?  What are His characteristics?  Understand His promises.  Discover just how much He loves you.  Develop a deeper faith and stronger relationship with the Lord of your life. 
4.  Biblical Knowledge.  As we gain a better understanding of Biblical figures and all they endured or experienced in their life, scripture becomes much more powerful when applied to our own circumstances.  God often used ordinary, everyday people to do great things for His purpose. Learn how these people often lacked the confidence, courage, education, or specific talents one would expect them to have in order to successfully carry out God's commands.  Understanding these stories helps us to respond to God's calling for our life more willingly. 
5.  Transformation.    This is where the walls of our brokenness come down.  Where the healing begins. We pray more.  We learn to trust God with the intimate details of our life.  We discover how to be more grateful for our blessings and for His grace.  We crave more of His spiritual nourishment.  We share His word with others.  Our actions become more about glorifying God and less about catering to our own comfort.  Before we know it, we are living more Christ-like, as a bright light shining on the people all around us.  We experience, possibly for the first time in our life, true joy in Christ. 
Approached with the right attitude, a Directed Bible study will push you beyond reading a bunch of words that maybe don't make much sense or are difficult to understand.  Instead, it might feel like God is taking your hand to walk with you on a journey through His word.  Along the journey, He transforms your heart.  Then He shows you how to apply His word to your life.
Let God's word be your roadmap for life.   Discover your transformation.  Be joyful in Christ, rather than thinking your happiness comes from earthly objects.   
Not sure where to get started?  
It's easy.  Just go to Lifeway.com and have a look around.  They have a huge selection to choose from so you'll no doubt find exactly what God is leading you to.  A local Christian bookstore will also be a helpful resource in finding the perfect Bible Study for you.  Remember, all you need is a willing heart and an open-minded attitude for change. 
Directed Bible study can be done on your own in the comfort of your own home, or you can gather a group of friends to walk through a chosen study together. (This option is extremely encouraging!)  Whatever choice you make, don't put it off.   God just might have something beautiful in store for you!


Author Bio: 
Rosann is currently residing in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, Mark, and their daughters, Faith and Abigail.  After spending more than 15 years working in the auto finance industry, she now enjoys life as a stay-at-home mom.  Writing for her blog ChristianSuperMom, Rosann has a strong desire to glorify God while sharing the heart of her journey through a life of faith.




5 comments:

  1. Lisa, thank you so much for having me guest post for you! It's truly an honor. Keeping you and your family in my prayers...

    Many Blessings,
    Rosann

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  2. I'm honored to have you contribute! ( : There's a lot of wisdom in your post.
    Thank you so much for your prayers - it really means a lot. We're adjusting to the diabetes routine, and I'm hoping to get back to blogging soon. There's much to be thankful for.
    Blessings,
    Lisa

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