Saturday, 23 August 2008

Getting to know God

This is the second part of an assignment for my Trinity@Night class, Head, Heart and Hands: The Christian Life. For the first installment, read here.

The topic is: You have been invited to give a talk where you are sure the audience will include Christians who believe what you believe but also people from a wide variety of denominations as well as some non-Christians. The topic that has been assigned to you is this: The Impact of the Gospel on the Daily Life of a Wife and Mother.

One way of examining the implications of the gospel is to consider what we do with our head, our hands and our heart.

As Christians who have a relationship with God, we need to get to know God better. Think back to when you were first dating your husband, or on your honeymoon. How did you get to know your husband? You had conversations and listened to what he had to say. The same principle works with God, except we don't listen to His spoken words; rather, we read His written Word, the Bible.

The Bible is full of stories, sermons and psalms that help us understand who God is and what He is like. The first implication of the gospel, therefore, is that we will open our Bibles regularly, hopefully daily. As we read, we ask, "What does this bit of the Bible teach me about God?"

For those of you who find Bible reading and study difficult, I have a few practical suggestions.

1. Don't expect to read the Bible like a novel or a text book. It's not! The Bible is a collection of books. Some of them tell of historical events or give advice to God's people. Others are anthologies of poetry or prophecy. Some bits of the Bible can be read easily, others need to be taken slower to make the reading worthwhile. If you're looking for help to understand how the books all fit together, come along to next month's talk, The Bible Overview.

2. Choose one book to read, and read right through it, a bit each day. If you're just beginning to read the Bible on your own, you could start with Luke, which tells about the life of Jesus. Then try Acts, which tells what happened next. After that, you could tackle one of Paul's letters to Christians, such as Philippians or Colossians.

3. Don't think just because you've read that bit of the Bible once, you shouldn't read it again. You wouldn't have one conversation about your children with your husband and never discuss them with him again! Even if you've read through the Bible many times, God will still use His Word to teach you more about Himself.

4. Don't think you can only read the Bible on your own. I learn things about my husband when he talks to other people in front of me. In the same way, you can read the Bible together with others, or listen to other people talk about what they've learnt from the Bible. We have many Bible study groups at this church, and you are welcome to join one. Each Sunday, our church minster gives a talk examining and explaining a chapter or two from the Bible. Just don't let these become your only way of getting to know God. There's no substitute for intimate conversation!

[Righty-ho then, that's another 483 words and I'm only half way through. Without the practical hints, though, it's only 148 so I might just have to squash those four points into twenty words each and I'd be right on target. For further instalments of my assignment/talk, please check back at my blog over the next few days.
You will have noticed I am trying to include mention in my talk of outside resources. I highly recommend The Bible Overview, as a three session course, a single talk or even just as a workbook. I learnt for the first time how the whole Bible fits together when this was presented to all the new students and their wives when Jeff first began Theological College. Jeff loves to use it with teenage Sunday Schoolers, so you can see its utility for diverse groups!]


mom24 said...

This is great - clear and concise in my opinion! I love that you use the analogy to a conversation as this reminds us that we are to be RELATING to God, not just reading a book that happens to be His.
B.T.W. I need to be more consistent in this myself. I have allowed days to go by without His Word in my life at times... :-(

Sharon said...

Of course! As I wrote this, don't you think the Holy Spirit was (well, I was going to say "Kicking my butt" but perhaps there's a more spiritual way of putting it...) prompting me of this very same thing?

One of the hugest benefits of doing these T@N courses is that they both provoke and encourage me to live a life that is more consistent with the things I believe. Which, incidentally, is what the next part of this "talk" is going to be about.

~ Sharon