When a biblical character hits me, stays with me for months, and fills me with questions that draw me, daily, deeper into Scripture, I’ve learned to take notice. And to hit my knees, because often, God is about to do something.
This happened six or seven years ago, when I became fascinated with Joseph (from Genesis), and I had a quiet yet steady niggling–hold tight. You’re about to be trained.
I soon realized how true that was as, for the next few years, God hit me with challenge after challenge. Not exactly fun times but oh, so necessary.
Fast forward a few–or seven–years, and a character flaw became more and more apparent–a selfishness, or perhaps self-obsession, had begun to rise. So I prayed for God to help me close my ears to accolades and expectations, turn my heart from sales numbers and worldly success, and to daily offer myself on the alter (Romans 12:1-2) so that Christ might shine, unhindered, through me.
Around this time, I visited a friend’s church–just once, mind you, rather coincidentally, or so one might think. As I sat there, rather distracted by my tumbling thoughts, one word caught my attention: deflect.
Deflect, spoken in reference to John the Baptist, a man whose life exemplified his famous quote, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30 NIV).
A statement that is easy to make but oh so hard to live. Yet so very necessary, because Christ is worthy, amen? And His mission–the mission He’s assigned each of us–is worth it. So much is at stake. Everything we do or say creates an eternal impact. We’re either drawing others to Christ or pushing them further away. We’re either exemplifying what it means to love as He did or we’re consumed with self.
We’re either revealing God’s amazing grace or we’re distorting it.
You and I, we were created with purpose for a purpose; a glorious, eternal purpose. And yet, we’re still being created as God removes everything within us that gets in His way and sharpens and hones those things that further His kingdom.
That, my sweet brothers and sisters, is where this study comes in. Join me and some of my most cherished blogging friends for the next two and a half months as we take an indepth look at the life of John the Baptist. Not only will we be digging deep into Scripture and discussing how it applies to our lives today, but we’ll also be sharing some Bible study methods to enable you to glean God’s truth from your own reading.
You can join discussions here, and we also invite you to interact with one another on Facebook in our John Study Group.
You can begin this study by reading Luke 1:1-10 each day for the next week, jotting down every question and observation that comes to mind. Consider reading the passage in numerous Bible translations. Then bring your notes back here, next Thursday when we’ll discuss ways we, like John’s parents Elizabeth and Zechariah, can be faithful in the mundane. (Luke 1:1-7)
Then, on September 12th, join me on Christians Read where I’ll discuss making prayer a priority. (Luke 1:8-10)
Then, on the 13th, I’ll be on Faith, Friends, Chocolate expanding on the importance of prayer further and sharing how we can make our prayer time rich and meaning. (Luke 1:8-10)
On September 15th, the amazing and insightful Chaka Heinze will visit us here to talk about those times when we’re crying out to God but it feels as if He’s not listening. (Luke 1:5-7)
On the 19th, my dear friend Maria Morgan will discuss ways we can choose faith over doubt. (She’ll also be sharing some information about a wonderful Bible study she’s launching.)
On the 22nd, Susan Aken will talk about a painful time in her life when it felt as if she’d be waiting forever, and what happened when that waiting ended.
Finally (for the month of September), on the 29th, my guest Candee Fick will talk about how as parents and grandparents can raise children who deflect (live lives that point others to Christ).
That’s it for September.
I hope you’ll join us, because as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), we can all learn from and teach one another.
Let’s talk about this. Can you relate to my steady tug? When has a biblical story or character fascinated you and resulted in an extended study? Did you find God used that person or story to teach or show you something? How about John that Baptist–have you spent much time studying his life? What intrigues or inspires you most about him? Share your thoughts here with us in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a chuckle (at my expense), pop on over to Modern Day Mishaps to read how I almost became Trapped in Atlanta, and how God preemptively saved me from my scatterbrained mess.