If you're new today, the Fall '11 Blog Bible study is a blog-based Bible-Study/Devotional designed for those of us who would like to take the amazing community of women bloggers online, and extend it to encouraging each other in faith. Right now, we'll be working through Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore. Each day has a short 1-2 page reading and a few reflection questions. Then, at the end of the week, I'll post some of my own thoughts/reflections, as well as a link-up. If you feel so inclined, I'd love for you to link up with your thoughts as well! If you'd like to join, but are just coming across this post now, it's not too late--just start whenever. And if you fall behind, no worries, and no guilt...we're all just doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect :)
In college, I took several Old Testament Studies classes. The Bible Studies that I've participated in thus far have similarly tended to focus on Old Testament books and people (David, Esther, etc). Despite going to church for as long as I can remember, I don't always feel like I have a good grasp on the New Testament--at least not the contextual information that always gives so much more insight into the words on the page.
And then, if I'm speaking honestly, sometimes a part of me feels like I need to do the whole Bible Study thing in order to win God's favor. Both of those factors (wanting to have a better understanding of the New Testament and also sort of thinking that having a better understanding of the New Testament would make God love me more) were two of the many reasons that underscored my desire to do this study of Paul. Not exactly my finest moment, but I'm just being honest here.
That said, Ms. Moore promptly brought that second "hidden" desire to the forefront during this first week on more than one occasion. First, during the Day 4 homework, at one point she said, "May I not just study Your Word to learn things and accumulate insights, but rather to know You and increase my love for You," (p. 20). Later, on an entirely different day, Moore said, "Without love for God and His Word, we're just trying to be good. Nothing will wear you out faster," (p. 27).
Oh my. That's exactly right--so often I find myself trying to be good, thinking that if I'm good enough/involved enough/tithe enough/if I study the Bible often enough, I'll be able to "earn" God's love. Instead, all it does is make me exhausted. In the last few weeks, I've been blessed to hear from a variety of different sources that the beauty of my faith is that God loves me not because of what I do, but in spite of what I do. What a relief. Yes, I should strive to do my best to glorify Him, but he loves me regardless. Even when I'm not perfect. in fact, there is never anything that I could do that would be too bad for God to love me. And that's a promise that I'm trying to claim daily.
What about you guys? Anything from this first week strike you?