“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
Not only shall we live a life with God unburdened, we are overcomers. The power of overcoming runs deep, and fills any cracks left by maturing faith.
Biblical: of, relating, contained in the Bible.
Indigestion: bad or difficult digestion
In 16 years of reading the Bible, I’m turning a new leaf. Or, what may be more accurate, is I’m returning to a leaf, to a book that I had earnestly started studying…and then stopped.
The pause was not entirely intentional. There were other writing projects, other studies, a couple of household head colds, a family trip. And a case of indigestion that even Pepto couldn’t touch.
I had biblical indigestion. I was rocking along studying out and sharing the book of 1 John and bit off something that was hard to chew. Hard going down. Suddenly, even though I had more to go in 1 John, I felt full. In the past this has happened and I have either not really noticed, not reacted, or not cared. All too often I have read something in the Bible and not fully understood it and been content to carry on, not really phased. I surely don’t begin to believe I fully understand it all now, but something about this book harkened back to me. John has so much to say! So much wisdom to impart to the seeking, to the struggling, to those reeling from divisiveness in and amongst their fellowship. And even for the average, common ‘ole Christian, not struggling with those things at all, such good nuggets jam packed with knowledge of God and why and how God is love. I can’t let this book go. I can’t carry on with biblical indigestion. In His ever present sense of humor, God has directed me back to this project by putting two scriptures from two other books on my path:
I recently finished a group study of 1st and 2nd Peter. In addition to the call to have an eternal perspective, the study encouraged me from beginning to end, and Peter’s conclusion in 2 Peter sticks with me: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior – that sounds like a good antidote to biblical indigestion, an invitation to grow in His forgiveness and favor, and to dig to learn more about this person/deity/creator who promises to be both Lord and Savior.
Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
I certainly don’t think it coincidence that these scriptures helped me by spurring me on to return to my study of 1 John. Sometimes when we are stuck spiritually, the enemy wants us to believe that putting God’s word down all together is best, when really, we need to look elsewhere between Genesis and Revelation to take heart. We may not know where to go, but His word, living and active, shows up, and crosses our path and encourages our heart.
And so, I return :). I return to my study of 1 John, verse by verse, with a summary every few days. To someone who likes to multi-task, think fast, and keep life going at a pretty steady pace, this verse by verse study has been both rewarding and challenging. And very, very rich.
I may get indigestion again. But this time, I have a new approach to continuing and healing.
A snow day. Thank you, Lord! Thus far, we have ticked off several wonderful snow day pastimes: dress in several layers, (only then to realize we have to go potty), play in snow, make mini snowman, decorate yard with snow angels, slip on ice, de-layer, and consume hot chocolate with a ridiculous amount of marshmallows. Pretty successful, and we haven’t even ventured out into the back yard, yet.
And, I am also making time for a favorite hobby – reading. It is not unusual, when the kiddos allow, for me to have 3-4 different books and commentaries going at one time. To me there is no greater joy than an ongoing reading buffet, when I can walk into any room in my house and pick up a book where I last left off 🙂 Right now I am into a handful: the Bible, a book on worship, a commentary on Galatians, a parenting and prayer book, and an overview study of the Bible. Good stuff.
Often, there is a temptation to connect with the author and simply adopt their convictions, to subconsciously conclude that because you appreciate their work, you also believe what they believe. What struck me this morning, amidst my books, is that two authors and teachers I highly respect, both published by the same significant Christian publishing house, both broadcasted all over the world and touted for their rich, biblical knowledge, teach differently on salvation and baptism. (I am not wholly surprised, since at the end of the day, both sides sell books, and the Publishing House is a business like any other.)
Thank God, literally, that I have access to the scriptures to determine what I believe. Thank God that I can continue to show respect for both authors, while simultaneously seeking the truth for me. Determining why I believe what I believe from the scriptures is a time consuming, challenging, essential component to my Christian walk. It’s a part of Christianity that I must pass onto my children: to not have faith alone, but to know the foundation and source of that faith. If my children grow up believing something simply because “it is what my parents believe,” then we have sorely failed.
I’m a mostly joyful, often goofy, sometimes overwhelmed, continually tired, Christian Wife, Mom and Employee. I eagerly pray to add “Berean Like” to that list: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
“Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.”
Psalm 31:23 NKJV
God doesn’t choose to preserve our looks, youth, energy, riches, or wealth. He cherishes, holds onto, and lovingly values our faith.
He is continually aware of both our faith and pride.