I have been reading through Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest for the Graduate the past few weeks and have been brought to some deeper understanding about myself. Particularly about my faith and how my actions may not always reflect my beliefs. The format of this book goes day by day, with a short, supporting Scripture, and then an application part. December 2 was about “Christian Perfection”. Chambers made mention of the Holiness Movement and how that is somewhat of an inaccurate interpretation of obedience and God’s purpose for us. He writes, “The concept of holiness movements tends to be the God is producing specimens of holiness to put in His museum”. Further on, he declares that if we hold to this tradition we are missing the whole point of God’s true holiness! Yikes… Christian perfection does not have anything to do with our humanly characteristics or actions here on earth. Christian perfection has to do with our relationship with our Savior, during the ‘boring’ days and the ‘exciting’ ones, during the good and bad times, and during strife or peace.
As I read through this, I thought about how true it is for me personally, and I was made aware of all the ways I try to make my life “perfect”, instead of first focusing on my relationship with Christ. I became somber because I knew that I was not living up to the potential that God has prepared for me. Then I suddenly realized that I have every resource I need to begin work on this relationship. God is so good. He gives us all everything we need. Isn’t he great? Isn’t he wonderful?
“I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself” (Chambers).
Wow. I mean, this quote is absolutely beautiful. Here, Chambers identifies our calling as followers of Christ. Of course the specifics of each are different, but the roots are the same. This caused me to double think about my relationship with Christ and if I am really living the way I think I am. Sadly, I do not think I am quite there, which is difficult for me to admit. At times, I find it easier to pretend than to really live out feelings, and I have gotten pretty good at it, too. This is not good. Christ calls for reality! He did not say that I would have an easy life with only happy emotions and situations attached, but he did say that my life would be full.
And full it is.
The more I thought about this concept, I was brought back to this verse in the Bible:
“He must become greater, I must become less” (NIV, Jn 3:30).
If my life is full, it needs to be filled with Christ, not other meaningless things. It is possible to live a comfortable and totally meaningless life, and that scares me. I don’t want to be the person who didn’t live her life to the fullest! All the time, I find myself telling my friends that “God has a plan for you through this”, but rarely do I tell myself this Truth. Rarely do I allow myself to believe and really trust that God might have a plan for me, too! And this plan has everything to do with a full life, a full relationship with Jesus Christ. Just because I am not aware of the specifics doesn’t mean the plan doesn’t exist.
Now, with all of that said, I feel like I need some sort of action plan to go with it. I know that if I don’t, then I will sit in the same spot that I always have and do what I have always done. So I read through a bunch of different articles about personal Bible study and whatnot, and came across this quote, “God is not interested in perfection–but in the progressive development of godly patterns. It is better to set modest goals and gradually increase them as you succeed in them than to set too high of a goal-only to give up in frustration” (Personal Bible Study). It made me chuckle because that is exactly what I have been working through.
Plan of Action:
– find a list of Scripture, or choose a book of the Bible
– write everything in my journal
– use the “3 Question Method” (Read more about that here)
– Scripture memorization
The reason I chose these items for my action plan is simple. I wanted something simple for myself, that does not include over-the-top readings or too high of expectations. The S.O.A.P. method is one I have used before too (you can learn about that here), but I want to try something different. I want to see what I can learn from the text, and to learn to listen to God’s word. My goal is simple, and therefore my method is simple.
Do you have a method for Bible study? Do you follow a schedule? Do you use a journal? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what works for you!
Until next time,
[[Also, here is a link to Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest for the Graduate. There are lots of variations on this book, and I am sure they are all worthwhile!]]