Tonight I sat down to read my Bible, and I really had no idea where to start. 1 Peter caught my eye this week while I was flipping to another passage, so I turned there and starting reading.
Before I go on, I feel like I should be honest with you. I've always struggled when it comes to reading my Bible faithfully. I've tried to consistently have a quiet time, and after a few days or weeks, I fall back into my normal routine. When I do read, its usually not for the right reasons. I'll read for a one-on-one meeting so I won't look bad or disappoint the other person. I'll read when I'm preparing for a Sunday school lesson or for D-group. Other times, I read just to say that I did, and I'll come away from it with nothing. I've got a desire to be in the Word. I truly want to dive into the Scriptures everyday and see what God has to say to me. I want to seek His will and His guidance. I want to attain wisdom. I want to say that I have honestly spent time with the Lord everyday. Unfortunately, I'm a human and a sinner. I let the everyday things of this world get in my way. I'll make excuses. "It's late, I need to go to bed." "I'll read it later on today." (It's probably not to hard to guess that it never happened.) I've been praying that God would give me a pure desire to read His Word. I want to read it for the right reasons. I want to grow. I want to be able to recall Scripture when it's needed. I want God to transform my life through it's power.
The last few months have been somewhat interesting for me. I wouldn't say they've been difficult, but looking back, they haven't been very easy. Around everyone else, I acted like everything was great. I didn't really open up about it to anyone. Occasionally I would mention stuff in passing to a close friend, but I would spare any details. My mom suspected something was up, because she's a mom...they have like, 12 senses. Honestly, I feel like the root of my problems was the fact that I am not in the Word daily. I've been going it alone for the most part, with the occasional prayer and quick read here and there. Last semester, I felt quite a bit of pressure. BCM president. Dental school interviews. Waiting after the interviews. A new relationship. I felt like I had a lot of expectations to meet, and I tried to do it by myself. I would give in to my temptations without a second thought. As you can guess, it got to me. I really needed a break and welcomed Winter break with open arms. I was getting burned out with the BCM, people were annoying me, and I would get frustrated easily. I didn't like what I was feeling. However, I did keep praying that God would help me. And I know I had a lot of prayers being sent up on my behalf. (Thank you.)
In the last few weeks, things have started to change. The sermons that Pastor Jason has preached in the weeks since I've come back to Bowling Green have spoken directly to my core. God has used those sermons to refresh my focus. He's renewed my willingness to serve, and has given me a greater sense of urgency to share about my Jesus. The incredible part is that I have felt the change. My temptations have been less of a struggle. My attitude about everything has been better. God is working through so many situations in my life right now, and I love it. And this week especially, I've had a greater desire to read the Word as it is meant to be read. And that brings me back to the beginning...
(Sorry for the tangent...just felt I needed to share.)
So as I was reading 1 Peter, I kept coming across verses that I had read before, but they actually meant something this time. I have read most of 1 Peter, but I'm not sure that I had read it in its entirety, much less in one sitting. Tonight, I couldn't put it down. It was incredible. I wanna share some of what I got out of reading tonight.
I love in verses 1:3-4 where Peter describes our inheritance: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you..." Imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for me. That is so good to know. God's gift of salvation to me is like my inheritance; those same words can be said of it. It is so good to be reminded that no matter how often I screw things up, God loves me and has saved me. I have an eternal life with Him and nothing can change that.
I also love verse 1:14: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." This reminds me that the things that have tempted me and caused me to sin in the past are no longer who I am. I am called to be holy, and those things are who I used to be. God is holy, and I should strive to be as well.
There are so many good things in this book, but the last one I want to mention comes from verse 5:10: "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." If anything speaks to what God has been doing this past week in me, this is it. Looking back over the last couple of months, I've been suffering. Granted, I wasn't suffering horribly, but it made things...harder, I guess. I didn't realize it at the time, I just knew something wasn't right. I read this verse tonight, and it all clicked. I haven't been letting God into ALL areas of my life. This past week, God has been restoring me. He's been confirming me. He's been strengthening me. And He's doing all of this to establish me as the man He wants me to become. I know that there's a lot that God still needs to work through in my life, as does everyone else. But seeing and feeling how He's been moving in me this week has been so incredible and encouraging. Please continue to pray for me, because God's work is never done. Our God is so good!!