Much like life, you’re walk in Christ is a journey. It’s as unique as you are as a person. It takes building blocks in a solid foundation, framework, structure, & time for maturity.
Just like a new baby born in this world, surviving on the essentials of milk, new Christians often find themselves surviving in the main topics of their faith. As we grow & mature in our walk in Christ, we move to water, just like a child. But where & when do we mature? Where do we find true rest in God?
I had gotten stuck somewhere between knowing the main topics & an addiction to the water, or…women’s bible studies. Yes! I said addiction! “Hello. My name is Amy. I’m a bible study junkie.”
If it had big names on it like Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer, I was the first in line to sign up & buy my books! (These are upstanding women of faith. No implications otherwise.) But it didn’t matter who the study was by, a good topic or “everyone is doing it!,” I was there! I even faced bigger fears like praying out loud in groups, & awkwardly stumbling over my words to try to express myself without sounding too belligerent. I could fill my week with bible studies, day & night!
Then, God did something that changed my walk. He came to me in a dream to say I’d bear another child (barren even after a hard but successful infertility treatment first child… & then a few bonus children were sent to us). In that dream I was true to myself begging Him to remember I was failing the 3 I had already, our house was small, we had nothing left of “baby stuff” & not in the best financial place. In the end of my dream, I conceded with, “Fine. All I ask if You make it true, make it quick. No miscarriages & no, ‘we think we’re pregnant’, & then not be.”
You know what that funny Man upstairs did? He actually gave me another baby!! I remember for a year plus questioning God’s sanity. “Had He lost His mind?!” And He couldn’t just give me a sweet, laid back, easy-going bundle. No! I got static-cling, high needs, emotional train wreck instead.
This was my intervention! God had taken my hand & lead me… But where were we going? (See! God doesn’t use your plans, He uses His plans for you.)
“Hey, while we are at this, Let’s add a strong conviction to homeschool, too!” – God
“Are you serious? Are We trying to kill my entire social life? Are We aiming to take away everything that gives me air?!!” – whiny, reluctant, me … Who followed along… Maybe kicking & screaming a little… “Seriously?” – me
So since I couldn’t leave static cling anywhere with anyone, & had the older one home 24/7 now… Oh! Did I mention the hubs was deployed?! My bible study addiction was put on an immediate drying out program. Done! Finished! Cold turkey!
After a few months to learn to breathe on my own & refind my own individual identity in Christ alone & not these groups of beautiful women (whom I still miss), I decided I really just missed the Word, and not the words.
I was compelled to read The Bible… Without any study! No workbooks telling me what to read. No commentators telling me their interpretations or convictions. And since static cling can’t sit still, no Sunday minister to feed me my bread & water. Just open the book and start reading… alone… words & God… alone…
Convicted to start with Revelation, the book of the “dark stuff”. The one only the ministers actually read & just referenced occasionally for your sake. … A full legal pad of my own notes, questions, answers & convictions. WOW! I was on fire! This couldn’t be right… I moved to Genesis… Something wasn’t adding up… I was not compelled … I was on fire! I found myself reading more & more of the Bible, one book at a time…
Do you know what I learned? Do you know where He led me?
“I have been lied to!!!”
“I am not growing at all! I am stunted!”
This is not a direct accusation but a statement of the entirety of my previous walk in faith & religion. The collective sum of my earthly years had been a smoking mirror. There’s been a gross misrepresentation of faith made into a great, easy to swallow, watered down version of christianity. I was mad!
God is not the author of confusion, but satan sure is! Remember the garden, a specific tree, a particular fruit, & Eve? Ring any bells? Satan banks on “confusion”, “misinterpretation”, “watered down truths”. That was how satan caused the entire fall of humanity!
God had taken some drastic measures to lead me to pure truth & light! Unadulterated, unfiltered, truth & beaming light!! What I learned was that bible studies are good for those still building foundations, but is a watered down version of our walk. Just as we grow in our earthly bodies, eventually milk is not enough, & water alone will not sustain us. We need meals! We need to feast!!! And that is what I learned. Bible studies were a smoking mirror keeping me from my truth, my growth in Christ.
Before you go screaming at me & tossing your hands up in the air, hear me out, please?
Let’s be honest. Many of us don’t do all the reading assignments (if any), struggle to get our workbooks filled out, & if we do, it is more often than not, half-truths that simply jar our memories. It’s a good sugar-coating that feeds our addictions. It’s sweet & neat (not messy) & comes with little effort. Do you now, still wonder, why there’s only a few talking heads in these groups & the rest nodding in agreement? It’s easier to be in a herd than to be alone. We like being told instead of doing the work ourselves. We are tired. We are exhausted. We are rushed to repeat our schedules. We are messy. We are distracted. We are sometimes chaotic. We need something to be easy, right?
Here’s the problem with watered down bible study addiction, like mine: Satan is providing the easiness. If we are not reading the Word for ourselves & simply living off being told the word, the small select verses of the whole here & there, we are not walking in the Holy Spirit! We are not with Christ 100%. We are lukewarm. We are not growing closer to God, but remaining stuck in a hold pattern… sitting in stagnant water. For what? Judgement?!
Do you really want to wait until judgement to seek God’s face? To know God? To feel God?
Go to bible study & fellowship together, but READ THE WHOLE BIBLE! Don’t stick with the watery excerpts & theatrical retellings. I started using various daily reading & writing scripture plans to help me when I get unmotivated or not convicted to read anything specific.
Go! Feast with God!
P.S. I chose not to quote all the wonderful Bible verses to back me up, because I’d just be feeding your smoking mirror. And I know you are way better than that, love!