Is your Bible study self-centered?
By Lisa Appelo
Now, this is eternal life: that they know you, you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. – John 17:3
Who is god?
How is he? What does he do and what does he like? What is his order of things and what does he ask?
Very often we come to our rather self-centered Bible devotions.
Answer me. Encourage me. Teach me. Help me.
When all along God has given us His Word as an amazing revelation of Who He is.
Yes, God will meet us, teach us and encourage us, but there is something much greater: when we open our Bibles, we worship the One who has shaped the galaxy, who is infinitely beyond this galaxy and yet made known to us.
We read our Bible to find out who God is, what he does, and how we can align our lives with him.
When Jesus broke through time to dwell on earth, he came to a religious people who knew him, but did not know him. The Jewish elite could keep the law as nobody’s business, but they could not understand a God above the law.
Their tight little boxes of Who is God didn’t quite fit Jesus.
They constantly challenged him:
How can you say you forgive sins?
Why do you eat with sinners?
Why don’t your disciples fast like our disciples?
Why do your disciples gather grain on the Sabbath day?
How dare you break the Sabbath by healing on it?!
John 5 tells of Jesus coming to the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. When he saw a man who had been lame for 38 years lying there, Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed and then healed him, ordering him to pick up his mat and walk.
Why did Jesus heal this man? He hadn’t even asked. Nothing is said about Jesus healing one of the other paralyzed and lame people lying in that same pool.
I believe that this man’s healing – as compassionate as it was – was secondary to the real work of Jesus: to reveal who he is.
When I read this story, my heart is immediately drawn to what Jesus can do for me. He can heal me. It can meet my need. He can descend into my pain and take it away.
Yes he can.
But if I stop there, I’m stuck in the claustrophobic cosmos of my own need.
Jesus reveals himself in this passage and we are lame if we miss him.
This passage explodes with the statement of who Jesus is.
Jesus revealed his authority as the Son of God. Second Person of the Trinity. All powerful. All worthy. All holy. So outside the bounds of the law and yet the only true justice that could fulfill the just demands of the law.
And suddenly, magnifying God for who he is realigns the trajectory of my heart and thoughts. I can adore and adore and enjoy and marvel. I can repent and cry and realign myself so that my life revolves around his.
And my need? My fear? My concern? Only when I know who God is can I rest in him with every need, fear and worry.
Finished the 15 minutes of reading the Bible to see what You have for me.
No more need to come to You to meet me.
No more need to read Your Word to affirm me.
No more self-centered Bible study.
Editor’s Note: Part of this devotional is taken from Is your Bible study self-centeredby Lisa Appelo. You can read the full blog post here.
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