I am in the second week of a Bible study called Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl, by Lysa Terkeurst. Joy gave me the book a few years ago and I read it as a fast read, not slowly reading and digesting it. But in reading it again now, and doing the workbook, I am going it through it more slowly and processing it as I go. Man, it is some good stuff. It's basically taking a look at my life, and all the "good/right" things I do (going to church, serving others, reading my Bible, etc) and checking those off of the Good Bible Study Girl checklist. Then, asking the questions "What about my heart? Are these things just external, so that I am looking good to others?" etc.
From page 34, "When God's Word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs and our desires."
One Scripture that has changed my life is a verse from 2 Timothy. I was introduced to this Scripture the summer of 1987 when I worked at the Vineyard (with Chanda Clark, Buffy Coble and Ron Thompson). This was our theme for summer. This verse changed my life. Not necessarily that summer, but more so in years to come.
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and sound mind."
What this says to me: Fear does not come from God. It comes from the enemy. When I am fearful, the enemy is thrilled. He has got me right where he wants me:distracted. When I am fearful, the enemy loves it: I'm questioning God, His love for me, His plan for me, His promises. Fear is not from My Father who loves me more than I can even understand. Here are the things that do come from Him - a spirit of love: love that comes from Him and flows out of me onto other people, a love that I do not even pretend to understand, just accept it and enjoy it. He gives me power - power that comes from Him, power of self-control, bringing my runaway thoughts back under control, power that fights thoughts of jealousy and pride. He also gives me sound mind = clear thinking, rational thinking.
Those are things that He provides, but I have to choose whether or not to accept those. I wish I could say "Oh, yes! Everyday, those are the choices I make." But that would be a big fat lie, because I don't.
I agree with the quote above from Lysa's book, about God's Word inside us rearranging our thoughts, motives, needs and desires. The hurdle for me is allowing it in. After years of attending church and listening to hundreds of sermons, and even years of personal Bible study, I have the head knowledge. When I allow the Word to get all the way into my heart, things do change, no doubt about it. But that is the hard part.
I heard a college student say not too long ago (when talking about a class that teaches application of God's Word) something along the lines of, "If we learn and learn about Scripture but never apply it to our lives, all that makes us is smarter sinners."
Just some food for thought.