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Thursday, June 12, 2008

And it was profound

I had this idea recently that I was just going to slide so far back in my spiritual walk this summer. I was hoping I wouldn't, but honestly thought I would. I took steps to prevent it, but was not confident.

I was concerned about not being in a structured Bible study atmosphere on a regular basis. BSF does such a great job of holding me accountable. That's what all their guidelines are about.

If you don't know a lot about BSF, there are guidelines that we follow during our discussions. For instance, we are not supposed to directly mention or talk about a particular denomination so that we don't single anyone out since we are a non/inter-denominational group. Sounds reasonable enough, right?

But the guideline that sometimes seems to bother people is that in small group, you're not supposed to talk or share unless you have written down an answer. Some people (including me at first) think this is ridiculous and such a hindrance. But after only a short while, I began to understand it a little as we are on a pretty tight schedule and it keeps us from getting hung up one one question as someone just thinks out-loud off the top of their head without having read and studied and considered the question. (Sound like anyone you know?)

However, only recently have I come to appreciate how it holds me accountable to actually completing my lessons at home rather than just showing up to see what I can get without any prior preparation. I have really experienced how God speaks to me through my lessons as I complete them during the week and then am able to share and hear other's perspectives on different passages.

As I headed into summer, I honestly did not expect God to speak to me profoundly without me being in a "Bible Study" with a real-life teacher and all. I didn't really expect Him to show up.

I was wrong.

I posted a while back about the changes I was making in my personal quiet time after having attended a BSF seminar on the subject. I have been re-reading the Psalms and taking note of God's attributes and characteristics. I've been taking care to not focus on how much I'm reading but on what I'm learning from what I'm reading and how I'm living in light of what I've learned. (To prove my point... I've been reading Psalms since May 1st... it's June 10th and I'm only on Psalm 16... I'd say I'm taking my time.)

Last week, I noticed one day that the word HOLY kept coming to mind. I'd read it a lot and already had quite a list of verses that mentioned God being holy. Then I sensed God asking me, "What does it mean that I am holy? What does it mean to you? How will you live in light of that knowledge?" I literally couldn't go any further and I had to stop, back away from my key board and just mull on this word that was plaguing me for a while.




I began looking up definitions:

  • Merriam-Webster: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
  • Brainy Quote: Set apart to the service or worship of God; hallowed; sacred; reserved from the profane or common use; holy vessels; a holy priesthood. Spiritually whole or sound; of unimpaired innocence and virtue; free from sinful affections; pure in heart; godly; pious; irreproachable; guiltless; acceptable to God.
  • MSN Encarta: awe-inspiring; having a character that evokes reverence
  • BSF Notes (Romans Lesson 24): "Any sacrifice must be holy - without spot or blemish and consecrated entirely to God."
    "My people's [the people in my sphere of influence specifically whom I lead - my children] greatest need is my personal holiness." -Robert Murray McCeyne

And then wrote this:

The words “set apart” are really sticking out to me here. And I think that’s where I’ve been failing. Have I personally been leading a life of holiness? A life set apart and consecrated entirely to God? It’s not likely.

Lord, help me here. Help me to see how I need to set my life apart and consecrate it to you. Lord, as I read again the words of Psalm 12:3 & 8 you make it clear what personal holiness is not. It is not making my lips (my words and even thoughts) my own. It is allowing you to put your words in my mouth. It is taking captive each thought so that I am driven to think your thoughts. And it is not honoring among men what is truly vile.

It’s like you’re saying once again, “Take another step. Set your life apart from that of this world and consecrate yourself entirely to me.” Oh God – I want to. But I’m scared of what that means. Lord, I’d love to know what you’re preparing me for… because it’s fairly clear at this point that there’s something. But the fact that I have no idea what it could be makes me just trust and believe that I couldn't handle it or even knowing about it at this point.

I'd say God showed up...

And it was profound.


Kay said...

Amen! Holiness is a theme He's been bringing to me lately as well. One of those 'been meaning to post about that' things. But yes, an overwhelming word when we let Him penetrate our hearts even with just a little bit of what it means. Whew!

We had snow cones at VBS too when I was little. smile.