The word devotional has always hit me a weird way. I like it because it means we're going to be reading and studying the bible. But, I kind of don't like it because it reminds me that "I don't know how to study the bible". Have you ever felt this way?
I have, for the majority of my life. I've made studying the bible this big, audacious, out of grasp experience. I make excuses and come up with ridiculous "bible study qualifications" which lead to me NEVER sitting down and studying the Word.
Sad but true.
For some reason I've always felt too "unqualified" or too "uneducated" to study the bible. Like, somewhere along the way I missed something. Maybe I missed that golden Sunday when the Pastor taught everyone the practical step-by-step process of studying their bible. And because I missed it, now I am forever doomed to the outskirts of every devotional and study group. Ever.
Let me tell you a secret. THAT IS A LIE.
There is no golden Sunday and I am not forever doomed. Neither are you. Here's the real deal. There's no special or magical formula that is studying your bible. Sure, there are different methods, but there is no right or wrong way. I hope that helps some of you out.
For so long I thought there was a missing link and if I could just find it, then all the mysteries of the bible would suddenly be reveled to me. NOT TRUE.
You know what is true. Sitting down and actually READING THE BIBLE. And here's the real kicker: reading the bible whether you want to or not.
I know, I know. Reading the bible is supposed to be fun and exciting and invigorating and the best part of your day (and please don't get me wrong, it definitely is those things 80-90% of the time). However, if I'm being honest, sometimes it's 6:30am and that's the only time you can read the bible. But, you'd rather hit snooze (guilty). Or sometimes it's the weekend and you want to sleep in and be lazy and "maybe I'll just read the bible later" (guilty, again).
My church is currently doing a series called "Better". It's all about how your "normal" isn't working. In a nutshell - it's about change. This has been one of my all-time favorite series. Mainly, because it challenges you to look at your life and decide if you want to stay where you are or become better. Become a better parent, sibling, son or daughter, a better employee, a better friend, and a better follower of Christ. While we've been going through this series, I've asked myself "what can I do to be better?" And wouldn't you know I got an answer. It was: "Spend more time with God."
You know - I believe that getting to sit down and study the bible is truly a gift and something that should be cherished. Think of all the people around the world that are being punished and even killed because of their faith.
Here's what I love about a relationship with God, at any moment on any day during any month of any year, I can decide to make a change and just do it, right then and there! I don't have to wait until Sunday when I can go to church. I don't have to get permission. I can just do it! So, last Saturday morning I got my coffee (duh) my journal and my bible and headed out to my back yard. I sat in a rickety old lawn chair, that I'm pretty sure had some type of spiders web junk on it and got started!
I am a very practical and methodical person. If you ask me to do something, I'd like for you to give me a list of steps and the order they should be performed in. I think that's one of the reasons studying the bible has always been a "mystery" to me. Because there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is no list of steps. However, the bible app has done something really cool! If you start one of their reading plans, it gives you an outline of how to study the bible (YES GOD! A list!).
Here's the list: (** Please note: I got this list directly from the bible app)
Pray: God, connect with me here, as I seek you in your Word. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you.
Read: the selected selection of Scripture slowly. Take note of intriguing words and phrases and read them a second time.
Reflect: on what strikes you as you read. Think through what God is communicating to you at this point in your life.
Respond: to the passage. Speak to God directly about what's on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you've uncovered.
I love this! It's super helpful and allowed me to have a plan! Some of you may not like the idea of a list of things to "check off" as you study the bible, and that's totally fine! It's about finding what works for you!
The main takeaway point here is - You can study the bible. Anyone can! I encourage you to find something that works for you and get going!
I'm curious to know about your studying habits!
Do you have a special method or list you follow?
Have you ever felt unqualified or too uneducated to study the bible?
Also, you can listen to and/or watch the "Better" series, I referred to, here!
See y'all later!