I used to wonder if I was the only one who had good intentions to be godly only to have it mucked up by sin. The Bible is filled with stories of human sin and God’s forgiveness, but still I would feel defeated. Reading Unglued has brought me the realization that I don’t have to be stuck in my sin. I do not need overnight solutions, just imperfect progress. Paul understood this conflict well. In Romans 7:14-25, Paul describes his dilemma and God’s grace. I have only included an excerpt from it below in the interest of brevity, but I encourage you to look at the full passage.
15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me…Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
After reading this passage, I know I am not alone in my struggle against sin. Even Paul, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ struggled! It also captures Lysa TerKeurst’s message to me, from God, perfectly. I am a conflicted human being. I love God with all my heart, yet sin still creeps in. I am so thankful for God allowing imperfect progress. I love that concept! It is perhaps the most eye opening one of the whole book.
Here is the most amazing thing about this book: it has moved me to change! Is change hard? Yes, but I am a believer that most things worth doing are. I want to show God I trust in him, even to change those things I “feel” will never change. Chapter seven of Unglued shares a truth that resonates with me: “Avoiding reality never changes reality. And change is what I really want” (p. 103). So I, like Lysa, have to admit a not so pleasant thing: I have evil desires! I too want things my way, have difficulty seeing things from another perspective, rush through things without taking time to consider them carefully, anger from small things building up, and do not deal with the emotions God has allowed me to feel. It hurts a bit to admit those things, but I have decided to allow Jesus work in me.
In the book, Lysa gives some amazing tips for drawing on the power God gives us and I hope that you read them. However, I want to focus on something a bit different. Lysa demonstrates this by example in her book and many of you I hope have noticed this being modeled for us by the leaders of the Online Bible Study: they are in the Word. Let me repeat this, while they are reading great books by Christian authors such as the one we are currently studying, they are always in God’s Word! This has been, by far, the biggest thing that has impacted how often I come unglued. I have been thoroughly trying to process God’s Word at every turn. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed, angry or depressed, I turn to God. I pray. I read. I stop and think. It is amazing the impact it has.
If you are like me, you may struggle with finding passages that are applicable to a given situation, so here are some tips to help you dig into God’s Word.
- In this case, the internet is your friend, if you use it wisely.
If you simply search for the particular situation you are dealing with on pages that allow you to search the Bible, chances are you will find a plethora of sources that will guide you in the right direction. For example, type “Bible verses about anger” into your favorite search engine and you should get many choices. Be cautious though, there are a lot of false teachers out there with an easy audience over the internet. Process the things you find using your Bible. Sometimes there is nothing better than holding the truth in black in white. The internet is also very good place to find a verse you remember the gist of, but do not recall where it is.
2. Use the resources your Bible provides.
Ok, I have to admit, I am kind of a purist when it comes to the Bible. I love the King James Version of the Bible, will use other translations, but I don’t want “extras”. This has some drawbacks because there are some great resources in different versions of the Bible. However, I am easily distracted, so I like to have an index and perhaps some maps. I am still able to go and look up different themes or words and find relevant verses. I have found some gems this way.
3. Read the ENTIRE Bible.
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting you have to sit down and read the Bible cover to cover over some period of time (although there is certainly nothing wrong with that). What do I mean? While the list of begats may seem to be tedious at best, everything in the Bible has purpose! It is the inspired Word of God. There is something in each passage. Perhaps this means you need to look at the passage in a different light. The individual words may not be applicable to your situation, but the promises it contains are!
I am going to end this post with praise. As Paul reminds us in Romans, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Amen.