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Sprung Series: Being Complete

Sprung Series: Being Complete

Everyone was playing in our backyard and I was gathering a bunch of different weeds and flowers to make a pretend dinner. I found the biggest leaves I could to use as plates, and when everything was finished I called them all over to sit […]

Sprung Series: The Marriage Idol

Sprung Series: The Marriage Idol

One of my favorite pictures from my childhood is one taken on Halloween of my dad and I. I am in a stunning bridal dress with a beautiful black, curly wig covering my face with my arms are wrapped around my dad. I was about […]

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 2

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 2

Recently, I received news that a family member was diagnosed with cancer.

 

I was not too happy with this news given my past experience with losing my mother, as well as family history. My guy (I omit his name for privacy reasons) was with me. Soon after hearing this news, I shut down on him. He told me to call her. I told him I needed time to process what I had just heard. It had already been a rough and trying week. He assured me he would be right beside me.

“I got you,” he said reassuringly.

“I’m fine,” I shot back definitively, lost in my own thoughts.

“I know you’re fine, but we are better together.”

 

The end of an era as a single woman.

Something in me shifted. Reality began to dawn on me. I was really not alone. I was not the single Siobhan, who’s used to navigating life and hardship completely alone, as I’ve been in past years.  I’ve been through the trenches alone. I weathered my mother’s deterioration and death alone. I struggled through grief alone. When I lost most of my friends along the journey, I picked myself up and bandaged my own wounds alone. I lived overseas alone. For the past decade, I’ve navigated my ongoing battle with mental health alone, including weathering a psychological crisis alone…and when all was said and done, I bounced back alone. Even though I have since been gifted with the most amazing community I could ask for, even the beginning stages of my process through faith and sanctification was carried out alone. I never complained. Used to it all, I simply bootstrapped it and did what I had to do. All I had was myself.

 

This didn’t make me lonely. In fact, I rarely felt lonely. There are/were plenty of individuals in my life who love me. I could call on them and there were no doubts that they would show up if needed. I simply got used to being in the routine of carrying out life, and all that entails, alone.

This is why his words completely stopped me in my tracks. It was the first time I became cognitively aware that it was no longer just me. I became aware that I had to accept the fact that there was someone in my life to weather life with. For the first time in my life, its me and someone else.

 

In spite of my hesitation, he knew from the beginning that I was his wife. This was honestly not news I necessarily wanted to hear. Although I am now secure in my decision to follow him, it did not come without a fight (from me). At the tail end of my sabbatical, marriage was not something I desired. If I am allowed to be completely transparent, I still have to pray daily and pursue God regarding this decision. He came into my life out of nowhere. This man knew two weeks into knowing me (women, it really doesn’t take them long to know). My hesitation was long and hard. It still is.  

Honeymoon stages lie.

Because of how I am wired, God had to orchestrate my relationship in the unique way he did, hesitation and all. The abruptness of it all coupled with the particular season I am in simply didn’t afford either one of us the time or opportunity for a “honeymoon” stage in our relationship. I simply had too much life going on. My poor guy had to jump, almost immediately, right into trenches he didn’t ask for. To my advantage, however, he was more than prepared for it. Without any effort on my part, God grew his heart and gave him a special grace for me. All he did was say yes to his calling to serve me in this season of my life. He got to work right away. It was only through my witnessing his persistence, commitment and diligence in this process that my heart has been able to grow for him more.

 

Nobody loves a honeymoon stage more than me. There is always something so life giving about seeing people in love (if they are in love). Love makes the world continue to go round, as they say. Honeymoon stages, however, can also be very deceptive, and are not great indicators of the ultimate trajectory of how a relationship or marriage will turn out. After all, most of my prior relationships ended as soon as this stage subsided, as it was found that neither one of us possessed anything substantial to sustain our commitment with each other, outside of infatuation. I wholeheartedly appreciate the way God has made things happen in my life, given that I wasn’t even given a slight opportunity to enter into an infatuation stage.

Fairy tales don’t exist.

I fully confess to being raised by Disney’s damsels in distress, cherry topped with my favorite teen classic Boy Meets World, who instilled within me the most unrealistic standards of love and marriage known to mankind. I grew well into my mid to late 20’s believing that Cory and Topanga set me up for the perfect love life. It also led to the false belief that in order to “arrive” in life, I needed to be married. This belief that my value as a woman would be “accentuated” or “confirmed” once I was permanently claimed by the opposite sex, eventually led me down a slippery slope of feeling worthless for a season. That other human being didn’t come, and all the times I previously perceived it did, it never sustained itself. Even in my current relationship, he does not complete or validate me. Even on our best days, neither one of us subscribe to an illusion of arriving.

 

I don’t want to give the impression that everything is a Debbie Downer in my current relationship. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. This is the most incredible, beautiful, edge-snatching-sanctifying experience God could have ever gifted me with (I’m sorry y’all, as skilled of a writer as I am, some expressions you just can’t code switch on). Within the context of the gospel, however, we both fall miserably short in the department of arriving and validation.

 

Obedience is always better. Especially when it hurts.

My sanctification process hurt. Even without the distraction of male attention, I was cut like a knife. It didn’t help that during the entire course of my sabbatical, as soon as I put a stop sign in this department it would be the convenient time where every potential suitor in the state of Texas would make his presence known (they came out of the wood works y’all). It really blew my mind. Saying no was easy at first…but as those potentials became more and more attractive and tempting, it became harder and harder. In fact, the very last “no” hurt. After I cut off the last potential out of obedience, I cried for more than a week. Saying no to something good to say yes to God is hard. He was too perfect for me. We vibed. We had chemistry. We even had the same theological stances….in fact, we listened to all the same pastors. We had so many of the same tastes. We just…clicked. But that didn’t matter. I heard God’s no loud and clear…and I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand it, but I submitted. It felt like death.

 

But that’s just it. God needed me to die, especially to myself. It didn’t matter if I was approached by a hundred men who were absolutely perfect for me. What would that profit me on an eternal scheme of things? He needed me to lay down my will for his. He wanted to be glorified in my life, not my desires. I made a commitment to give him everything. This meant trusting his “no” when that commitment to him became hard. The only thing to gain, was Christ for Christ sake. Soon after my tantrum, I began to find contentment in my singleness. Even dream guy became a distant memory that equated to a grain of salt the few times the thought of him actually did come up.

 

…and of course, it would be months later in this season of contentment that would be the exact timing when he would show up, seemingly out of nowhere. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, and the way God works. We think we know what’s good, but we have to remember, its God who knows what’s best. And had I not listened to God, even when it was difficult, I would still have the blinders of my own will attached to my limited vision, and would still be chasing men who were never purposed for me in the first place. If not for obedience, I wouldn’t have even recognized the one God had for me.

 

Believe me, he did not come in the package I expected, or wanted. This is why clear vision is so important. We can be so blinded by what we believe is good only for our vision to turn out to be distorted by our own will.

 

I am so thankful for this Sabbatical experience, for significantly clearing my vision. This season of my life brought me so much closer to God, and helped me turn and keep my eyes on Him, especially in the midst of the current journey into marriage that I am on.

Written By: Siobhan Blot

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Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 1

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 1

When I first got saved, I made a random decision to break up with my boyfriend at the time, and go on a dating sabbatical. I received mixed reviews regarding my decision. People either thought I was crazy or brave. It’s unconventional to take a […]

Sprung Series: Understanding and Appreciating Singleness

Sprung Series: Understanding and Appreciating Singleness

The first time I ever laid my eyes on Chichen Itza I cried.   It was unfathomable to consider I would actually one day stand in front of it. I also remember a time when I couldn’t imagine getting married. I didn’t think I would […]

Sprung Series: Myths of Marriage

Sprung Series: Myths of Marriage

Nothing quite requires you to be emotionally vulnerable with someone like marriage. Over the past four years my husband and I have had so much life thrown at us. It feels too big for us. Sometimes we still feel like kids yet we are growing and God is graciously is calling out more and more in us than I thought was even there. In the times that are hardest I realize how much my perspective of marriage has changed since before we got married and even year to year. The cracks in my foundation as an individual show more and yet God and my husband are always willing to get in the trenches with me and do the hard work of not just fixing but totally transforming my perspectives.

I’ve had my perspective shifted the most in the area I call “myths of marriage” or basically the expectations I had going into this thing that turned out to be not at all what was reality. Here are two (of many) marriage myths that have been busted since I got married.

 

Myth #1: Your spouse will always be a good partner and parent. 

Okay now I’m not that naive. I know that people are never ALWAYS anything. Especially good. What I mean by this is I never really stopped to think about how I would react or feel if my spouse hurt me even in the smallest ways. Four years in and we are just now learning some of the habits we have that are hurtful to the other and trying to figure out where the root of that thing is. For example, (I’ll throw myself under the bus here) I have a habit of still being miss independent when it comes to certain things. I will bulldoze through and not really address my feelings out loud because sometimes I feel like I don’t even need to talk about them. It’s not even a big deal, until one day I stub my toe, or get a paper cut and 6 months of built up tears are hysterically cried meltdown style leaving my husband wondering why I don’t just talk to him. Who told me I had to be a pillar of strength when I actually felt like mush in a toddler’s hand? My husband has told me that the lack of communication deeply hurts him and can make him feel like I don’t trust him. Like a dagger through the heart. Patterns of sin I didn’t even realize were there are there and marriage helps me realize that not only am I broken in my relationships with people, but how much I don’t give God that brokenness or trust him with my whole self.

 

Along with a spouses ability to be amazing and do so many right, romantic, beautiful things comes the ability that they have to be ugly, rude, apathetic and prideful. No one goes into marriage thinking “man I can’t wait for the hard days when I don’t like you very much.” No one’s first thought when they look their newborn baby in the face is “wow, I can’t wait to watch your dad/mom yell at you out of frustration one day.” Most of the time we don’t understand the profoundness of work required for what we are venturing into. You can go into marriage with all the expectations in the world, or with no expectations and you will still get hurt by your spouse. The immense love they have for you is only realized by the immense power they have to hurt you. Commitment in marriage is risky business and it requires two people who aren’t blind to their level of brokenness. It requires two people who are committed to something more than just making the other happy. It requires a sacrificial love that is so foreign to how we are wired that we need to tap into someone greater to hold us together. Someone who can show us the joy of confessing our shortcomings and allowing others to see our imperfections. Someone who can lead us by example in what it means to forgive over and over and over. Someone who can teach us how to intentionally pray for our spouse and with our spouse. Someone who can show us how to be so compelled by love for the Father that we stop making our comfort, wants, and needs the greatest priority. That someone is Jesus and that is stuff only he can do in us. When you and your partner’s greatest hope is that your spouse won’t let you down, you will be hurt every time. When your greatest hope is that you want to serve and love your spouse to honor God, you will have some HARD work to do, but the freedom, peace and joy that comes with that is immeasurable.

 

Myth #2: The family you build with your spouse will make up for the brokenness in your own family.

I have witnessed so many single people swooning over marriage and their idea of what it will look like. I’m not one to throw caution and red flags in the face of someone dreaming over what the joys of marriage (unless someone asks ha!). because there are really dreamy awesome parts to it. My husband is my favorite person in the world and I get to watch God grow, shape and mold him constantly into the man He wants him to be. That’s pretty profound and beautiful to me. (Also he keeps getting more and more fine every year, which is also a huge perk)

However, sometimes I wish more people would park their thoughts on why they look at marriage they way they do. Good or bad.

Before I was married I definitely had rose colored glasses on when thinking of the possibilities of marriage. If I’m being completely honest I would look at aspects of my family and dream of the things that I wanted to do different. I would plan how I would forge my own path which is something I hear a lot of people do when talking about they family they hope to build with their spouse…

“I saw my dad so this and I want better for my wife”

“I don’t want to be dysfunctional like my extended family so we’re doing it this way”

“I never want my kids to experience this”

…and even though that can come from a great place of wanting more than what was provided for you, it can also cause us to hold our families hostage to fulfilling our expectations and desires about what that should be.

Marriage and the family is such a good gift. It’s full of fun moments and growth for everyone involved but, if it’s used as an escape from past hurts, current brokenness, family trauma or anything else, it doesn’t hold up as a foundation on its own. If the foundation of something is insecurity or fear, the cracks that are exposed down the line will show just that.

A few weeks ago I posted a meme that said, “marriage will expose what you didn’t allow God to heal in your singleness.” 

I actually posted it twice because it is so true.

The fact is: just like the families we came from, the people we marry and birth have just as much ability to be broken and not meet our expectations. That’s why laying the foundation (yes, even in your singleness) is so important. Allow God to scrape up and muck out the patterns of unbelief, allowing yourself to be exposed in order to be freed from perfectionism, performance and people pleasing. If and when you do have a family, they aren’t the foundation of your joy, but Christ is all in all. Then you can fully enjoy the ups and downs with them . They aren’t the foundation, the foundation is for them.

Of course these aren’t the only myths of marriage we believe, but are definitely two I have personally struggled and still struggle with. At the root of my belief in these myths is ultimately the question of is God really good? Can fully trust him with all the uncertainties I experience in life? Do I ultimately want Him or just his stuff?

What about you? Even if you can easily answer the above questions does every aspect of your life reflect that? If your husband isn’t the dreamy man you once thought is God still faithful? If the family you were born into never appreciates and understands you, is God’s approval enough? If you never get that job, promotion, or your business never takes off is He still the Sustainer of your very life? If your child never sees healing on this side of heaven will you still open your mouth to praise Him? Is the love of God alone enough for you or do you use it as a supplement when things aren’t going your way?

 

The myths we have about relationships often correlate to misgivings we have about God. The more open we are to have our myths busted, the more readily we can receive His grace and forgiveness and get to behold more and more the beauty of who Jesus is.

 

 

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Written By: Calah Jackson

Sprung Series: Reverse Engineered Singleness

Sprung Series: Reverse Engineered Singleness

Female, 27. Single. I would have internally flinched if I knew I would be on the other side of those stats when I was twenty. Nine years ago I never could’ve imagined I would become somewhat of a pillar for singleness in my friendship circles. […]

Unpopular Opinion: Self-Protection is Killing Your Most Important Relationships

Unpopular Opinion: Self-Protection is Killing Your Most Important Relationships

I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships; women who gave it all to men who didn’t know what to do with such treasures. The aftermath of such devastating heartbreak led my grandmother and mother to become distrustful of men, to shroud themselves in […]

Unpopular Opinion: The Bible is Not Your Self-Help Book

Unpopular Opinion: The Bible is Not Your Self-Help Book

“A crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.”

The old man stepped outside to talk to them.

“Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.”

But they wouldn’t listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and pushed her out the door. The men of the town abused her all night, taking turns raping her until morning.

Finally, at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman returned to the house where her husband was staying. She collapsed at the door of the house and lay there until it was light. When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. He said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer. So he put her body on his donkey and took her home.

When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of Israel.”

Judges 19:22-29 NLT

 

Well.

Let’s all take a moment to let it sink in that this is “God’s Word.”

Isolated into its own story, it makes the Bible look horrific…my atheistic brain would wonder how anyone could endorse the Bible. However, when we put this story into the entire context of the biblical narrative, it tells an astonishing story of a people who decided at the time that God’s law was obsolete, and that they could create their own subjective morality. The theme of the entire book of Judges focuses on two concepts in particular: the fact that “everyone did was right in their own eyes,” and the horrific consequences of such a flawed mindset.

I’ll admit, the first time I ever read this story in the Bible, I had to put the entire thing down for a couple of days in order to process. I was shooketh (yes, an actual word). At the time I was going through my first read-through of the entire bible. I sought to read the Bible, as it was, in the context it was written without inserting my worldview or life experiences into it. Being newly saved (and coming from a background of prosperity theology and new age occultism), I simply wanted to know what the Bible said, without all the noise of modern interpretations. To say that my eyes were opened would be an understatement.

Lesson Learned #1: Stop making the Bible about myself.

Try putting any of the above verses on an Instagram graphic and see how many likes you can generate. I’ll even help you out:

This hardly screams self-help, but the font is pretty, isn’t it? If it’s any consolation, I put it in the New Living Translation for that fluffy “easy read” effect. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the NLT. In fact, its my major go-to when the ESV and NKJV start reading like Japanese to me. But if we are being honest with ourselves, what we just read out of Judges, was not a pretty, Instagram worthy story. I don’t even think I’ve ever seen anyone (other than Jen Wilkin) post a graphic of this scripture on their social media. As I pray for Jesus to kill the visual of different nations receiving decomposed parts of a woman’s carcass in the mail, I ask that you reflect on any popular quotes from the book of Judges that you may have meditated on within the past month. Or are you more of a Psalm 139:14 kind of person? We don’t often quote from Judges because it’s not a pretty book. In fact, it outlines humanity at our worst. We prefer passages that won’t offend, passages that provide that “spiritual Xanax effect” we all know and love.

This is not always a bad thing. It does become problematic, however, when we do this all the time. I am guilty of it myself. Personally, I love isolating verses that speak to me and encourage me. I love the pretty fonts and scenic backgrounds to give that “inspirational quote of the day” effect. The issue here, however, is that doing this does not magically make that passage about me, even if I want it to be. Of course I do, because the world revolves around me…therefore, the Bible was written about me and I should treat the Bible as an esoteric love letter addressed to the world of me, me, me….

…..except, if these passages were really about me, then I would be willing to instagram all of what the Bible says about me, not just the parts that feel like an antidepressant and make me look and feel special. Deuteronomy 28 is an interesting chapter. The first thirteen chapters are arguably some of the most popular verses I’ve seen and heard throughout my entire life in and out of church. The problem is that many of us—pastor, teacher, student and everyone in between—have immediately inserted ourselves into these passages, without first giving regard for the Israelites that this passage was originally intended for. Moreover, they soonafter disobeyed, were punished and exiled. What actually ended up happening to them (post prosperity in the time of Joshua) was not the blessings described in 1-13, but actually the punishment and curses that were promised from verse 14 to 68. In fact, as you can see, there were a great deal more curses promised rather than blessings. Yet in spite of our rebellious and sinful nature against God that is equally deserving of what they experienced, we don’t insert ourselves there…because you know, Jesus and grace and stuff. So of course that excuses us from the bad stuff that’s too hard to stomach. Has anyone ever noticed that the only verses we often insert ourselves into are the ones that deal with prosperity, self elevation and self-discovery?

One of my favorite quotes about the Bible is that “it is not a book about self-discovery; it is a book about God-discovery.” God seeks to make Himself and his character known to us via his word. In doing that we do tend to get a reflection of who we really are, but its only in light of who God is.

If it is true that these passages were not initially addressed to us (who were not even alive at the time), then we intuitively know good and well that the Bible is not about “me.” We should be overly cautious when inserting ourselves into scripture, having zero understanding of context and its original intent. If we are not going to insert ourselves into most of Judges, then we should think twice, in other parts of the Bible. There are sections that are explicitly for all Christians. There are others that were explicitly for a specific people.

Lesson #2: Use Caution when divorcing scripture from its original context.

The Bible was written over a time span of roughly 1500 years. The last manuscript was written before any of us were even born. No single writer had a modern 2019 worldview. It was not written by a spiritual elite of thought influencers penning allegorical tales so that future baby boomers, gen-x’ers, millennials, and gen-z’ers could one day gather culturally relevant ways to wash their face, make Jesus look cool, have really high self-esteem or acquire materialism.

In fact, if you hadn’t made plans today to even boil a young goat (let alone in its mother’s milk), then its safe to say that the Bible was not intended to be a culturally relevant self-help book. The writers, and individuals written about had their own customs and culture, families, jobs, laws, daily living, and experiences according to their time…some of which we are not privy to in our modern society.

Even the epistles in what we now call the “New Testament” were written to specific audiences of that time, based on circumstances that were occurring within those communities. This does not negate the fact that there are biblical truths that withstand time and culture. However, this also does not mean we have permission to insert our own culture into the Word of God. If his word never changed then, then it doesn’t change now. What this does mean is that we realize that application of God’s word means obedience and seeking understanding of God’s original intent behind what he said.

Lesson #3: Move on from what’s familiar.

Let’s face it: we love Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 139:14.  Ephesians 2:10 is one of my personal favorites. I even featured it on a song I recently recorded.  Because of our preferences, out of habit we gloss over passages that don’t give us that “self-esteem effect” that these do. I personally love that the Bible is filled with some amazing, inspirational verses, but as noticed by my lovely collection of graphics (shout out to Stephen Altrogge), it is also full of some weird and controversial verses as well.

We prefer to cling onto what’s familiar to us. This means we are human and we love the comfort of what we know and love so well. Bible passages are no exception to this rule. I mean, who doesn’t love the epistles…especially Galatians through Philippians? I clung to them as a new believer, and have now read them upwards of a hundred times. I’ve also Instagrammed our beloved “fruit of the spirit” a time or ten: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Paul’s letter to the Galatians blesses my soul on any given day.

….except this. One would have to wonder if Paul was just having a really bad day…except, its in the same chapter. In my own wisdom, I‘d hardly call saying something like this “fruit.” On a surface level, this can make us concerned for Paul. Does him saying this make verse 12 less of God’s word than the fruit of the spirit in verse 22? Or does this mean we do a terrible job of staying in our comfort zone if we don’t notice all of what’s going on, rather than just the parts we agree with?

If you wrote a letter to someone right now, how would it make you feel if they simply glossed over some parts (or didn’t read them at all) and cherry-picked the parts they wanted to be most important, ignoring everything else? Why do we treat God this way? Every part of a letter is there to serve the main point. Each part is meant to serve the whole. Just as we don’t read regular novels by cherry picking and isolating chapters and calling that the main point of the book…why do we do this with scripture?

Jen Wilkin is one of my favorite authors and bible teachers. In her book Women of the Word, she drives home a point worth examining as it pertains to women and bible literacy:

“The Jack Sprat approach:

I take this approach when I engage in “picky eating” with the Word of God. I read the New Testament, or I read books with characters, plots, or topics I can easily identify with. Women, in particular, seem drawn to this approach (anyone else a little worn out with Esther, Ruth, and Proverbs 31?), but everyone fights this temptation to a certain extent.

The Problem: All scripture is God-breathed and profitable. All of it. We need a balanced diet to grow into maturity—its time to move on to the rest of the meal. Women need both male and female examples to point us to godliness. We can’t fully appreciate the sweetness of the New Testament without the savory of the Old Testament. We need historical narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, law, prophecy, and parables all showing us the character of God from different angles. And we need to see the gospel story from Genesis to Revelation. A well-rounded approach to bible study challenges us to learn the full counsel of God’s word. It helps us to build a collective understanding of how the Bible as a whole speaks of God.”

As I was growing deeper in my walk with God over the past couple years, one thing I actively sought out was relationships with other believers that I could have deep, biblical discussions with. To my disappointment, however, I found that more often than not, professing Christians knew very little of the Bible. Most people I had encountered had never even read the Bible cover to cover. Many of these same individuals regularly promoted counter-biblical values under the impression that their fragmented knowledge of scripture secures their salvation and sustains their sanctification. I won’t be the one to determine whether or not they are truly saved, but what I will say is that the insurmountable rates of lukewarm Christians seem to be attributed to one of several things: lack of depth and time spent in God’s word. Many people truly believe they can have a relationship with God outside of his written word. I would have to staunchly disagree with this notion. I spent 25 years of my life as a professing Christian who subscribed to this idea. It wasn’t until my actual conversion (after some years of walking away from the faith and exploring eastern mysticism and new age beliefs) that I learned how essential the word of God truly is. Reading the Bible thoroughly has cut into some of the deepest parts of me that nothing else could have ever penetrated. I have been sustained far more on the entirety of God’s word than fragmented scriptures could have ever done. Only the word of God can perform that deeper heart surgery we all need. We have to grow comfortable with being uncomfortable, and wrestling with all of the text.

We are not truly reading the Bible, unless it is reading us.

Many parts of the Bible may not have been written to us, but it was most definitely written for us. I’m almost positive that animal slaughtering, collecting fresh kidneys and burning carcasses is simply not my gift. They were better off without me. I am grateful, however, that I get to play a role in the bigger story, the story of someone who this book is really about.

The Bible may not be a relevant self help book, but every line does tell a relevant story. It tells the story of Someone worth mentioning and worshipping far more than ourselves. The Person who, rather than ourselves, should be inserted into every line. It speaks of someone who gave up all popularity, and said some hard things that remain difficult to swallow (see: Matthew 10:37-39) . It tells us the story of a Jesus who didn’t allow his followers to remain comfortable. It’s quite an offensive story actually.

The gospel is intended to offend…and this is why we can’t afford to insert our own agenda’s into it, unless the intent is obedience, self denial, and submission to the cross.  There are times where we will glean timeless wisdom from scripture, such as in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. There are times we will learn about the character of God gleaned from Exodus or the prophets and can contract wisdoms of God’s character and even apply it within the context of our lives. We should however, never make it a primary habit to treat the Bible as allegorical to our daily lives. It’s far more than that. The Bible tells the most scandalous story in history…how God became one of us so that we could eventually forsake ourselves in all our depravity and spend eternity with him.

In recognizing this, we truly allow the things of this world—including ourselves—to grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace. Friends, instead of using cheaply interpreted bible verses to justify cheap biblical thought and calling that Christianity, take your eyes off yourself completely and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:12-17 ESV

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV

 

 

Written By: Siobhan Blot

Unpopular Opinion: Experience is Not the Best Teacher

Unpopular Opinion: Experience is Not the Best Teacher

The “do you” stage of life is a popular world view. It encourages us to seek experiences without any advice or consideration. We have even twisted it to sound more like it’s a sense freedom in our decision making. But, it’s just a catchy phrase […]