Recently at our Focused Living Bible Study we had the privilege of hearing from three women in three different life stages. They all shared specifics about how they’ve seen God take them “Deeper Still” in their relationships with Him. All three had fantastic messages to share and we were blessed by their authenticity and candor. It just so happens that the last woman to share was my mom. During her talk she highlighted how much she values studying the Bible to keep aligned with God’s truth. She told us that she started formally studying the Bible in 1974 and has continued ever since in a variety of different classes and groups. My mom admonished us to see studying God’s word as an opportunity to make deposits in our “spiritual banks,” pointing out that truths we learn now can sustain us in the years to come. Isaiah 55:10-11 says pretty much the same thing:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Our Bible study is wrapping up another challenging and inspiring study, but before I add my workbook from Faithful, Abundant, True: Three Lives Going Deeper Still to the growing collection on my shelf, I’d like to reflect on what I’ve learned. Spending time looking back is an opportunity to make a deposit in our “spiritual banks.” Writing down the truths we’ve learned will bless us in the years to come and imprint them more deeply into our memories.
Truths Taught by Kay Arthur
-Don’t Shrink Back
Kay taught us about God’s faithfulness and encouraged us to make time for God’s word and to keep from entangling ourselves in the affairs of the world. Referring often to the book of Hebrews, she reminded us not to “shrink back” and to continue growing deeper with God.
Hebrews 10:35-39 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’ And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’ But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
-Handle God’s Word Correctly
Kay reminded us of the value of God’s word and the importance of learning to use and handle it correctly. She pointed out that studying the Bible is not just about getting us through our issues, but changing us from the inside out.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
-Abandon Unbelief to Find the Rest of Faith
Kay also taught is that having faith means resting in the word of God. We cannot have the rest of faith if we have unbelief in our lives. If we truly believe God can do what He says, then we will trust Him and find rest, unlike the Israelites who doomed themselves to wandering in the desert for forty years because of their unbelief.
Hebrews 3:16-19 & 4:1-2 “Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.”
Truths Taught By Priscilla Shirer
-God Is Able
Priscilla Shirer showed us that God is able to surprise us in the midst of our impossible situations. She encouraged us to remember that knowing Who we’re dealing with changes the way we pray. When we pray, we can be confident knowing God has the power to do what we ask. She also encouraged us to pray: “God, do this, or do something better!”
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
-An Abundant Life is Not Free of Difficulty
Priscilla reminded us that God’s abundance is not about experiencing peace because of our circumstances, but in spite of them. We can experience the fullness of God even in the midst of our impossible situations. He is the only dependable constant in our lives in a world that is ever changing.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-Don’t Just Learn About God; Believe His Word is True for You Personally
Priscilla pointed out the importance of translating the head knowledge we gain from studying God’s word into heart knowledge that causes true life-transformation.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Truths Taught By Beth Moore
-We Must Activate the Mind of Christ
Beth emphasized that anyone who accepts Christ has the ability to have the mind of Christ. She says, “Our challenge is to learn how to activate His mind in our thought processes regarding the reality of our experience.” (p.108)
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
-Discernment Doesn’t Happen By Accident
When the Holy Spirit resides within us, we possess the potential for great discernment, but it is like a muscle that must be exercised to grow stronger. We grow in our discernment through “prayer, pursuit and practice.” (110)
Hebrews 5:13-14 “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
-God’s Spirit Fills Us to the Extent We are Willing to Yield
God will only take us as far as we are willing to let Him go on our spiritual journeys. Without obedience to Him, we prevent ongoing growth from occurring.
John 14:15-16 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
That is quite a bit of truth to absorb in six weeks of study! I feel like I just made a huge deposit in my “spiritual bank.” How about you? What truths do you want to savor and remember before you move on to the next study? If you’re not attender of Focused Living, what things are you learning right now that you want to remember later? Make a comment below and share with us (click on “leave a comment” at the top of this post and the comment field will appear at the bottom of the post). You can also make a comment on Facebook if you prefer.
I’ll close by making Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in 1:9-11 my prayer for you:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
Click on the blue sign below that says “Watch Vimeo” to see the “Deeper Still” testimonies of the three women at Focused Living.