I am slogging as I am jogging through the 1st chapter of Ephesians. Slogging because this new way of bible study using the inductive style is at times slow going and frustrating for me, a neophyte to Precepts, but at the same time I am jogging with Joy as I spend time in God's Word, and in prayer over His word. And believe me, I am praying because everytime I feel that slog begin and the cobwebs spin over my brain causing me to shut down, I have to mentally and physically shake it off and realign myself in Christ to read it through His Spirit.
I was texting with my sister earlier today, as we are taking this bible study class together. No, I wasn't asking her for the answers!! Silly. The good news is that there really aren't wrong answers per say, because God speaks to each of us in the way we need most so He may reveal something to me that He won't reveal to another and vise-versa. No, we were chatting back and forth about each of us experiencing the slogging. We both agreed however, that talking to God about how frustrating this bible study is for us, does seem to bring us closer to Him and isn't that really the point of studying His word? Well then, mission accomplished!!
One of the sweet gems that is rising to the top like a thick layer of cream, is the revealing of the Great Mystery, as Paul refers to it. The Mystery of The Plan. And this is the plan: long ago, before He even made the world, God loved us. Loved us and chose us! He chose us, in Christ to be HOLY AND WITHOUT FAULT in His eyes. And what's more, this has ALWAYS been His plan! He made a plan and never wavered. It was always His unchanging plan to redeem us. To adopt us into His family. Not only did He have this awesome plan to adopt us, but it gave Him GREAT PLEASURE to do so.
Now think about it. Does this blow you away?
Well, here's a truth. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 9 years old. I don't have one of those heart wrenching gutter-to-gospel stories of redemption but I do believe that the angels rejoiced just as much over my prayer to receive Jesus as they did when Paul, who calls himself the worst of the worst, converted. But because I grew up in a bible believing, church attending family, because I never left the church to go explore the seedier side of the world, (ok, I might have tip-toed close enough to see it but I never went over the edge) I must admit that over time the Gospel Story of Redemption kinda lost its glow. I just take this gift, this precious gift, for granted a lot of the time. I grow complacent in my faith, just humming along like a happy little Christian, but not really living like my life has been rescued, saved, redeemed, bought with a price.
This must break the heart of God.
I remember searching for a very special gift for someone's birthday one year. I saved the money to purchase it, and I was very excited over what I had chosen to give them. I hoped and prayed that this gift would be received with elation and gratefulness. But there was only a shrug of the shoulders and a rather sullen thank you from their lips. And then the gift was set aside and was probably never used. At least, not in the way it was intended. Now, how do you think I felt?
Yah. Pretty hurt.
And I realize that is what I am doing to God when I treat His gift of eternal life, His Saving Grace, like it's just, so-whatever. I find myself going back to verse 19 in chapter 1 of Ephesians where Paul writes: I pray you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.
Because, if I begin to understand just how incredible this really is, perhaps I won't ever take it for granted again.