Do you ever feel like you study God’s word but it does not change anything? I do. Sometimes I even feel cheated. Other times I just beat myself up because I feel like I am obviously not studying enough or correctly. I am realizing that knowing things and experiencing things are different.
Jesus said “You have your heads in your Bible constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.” (John 5:39-40 The Message Translation)
Knowing who God is and who I am because of Him is foundational. From that flows my thoughts, behaviors, and how I see others. When things are not quite right I can usually find some faulty belief that is driving things out of control. Most coaching I do with others focuses on this foundation as well. The Bible is a huge part of this process. Scripture tells us many truths about who God is and our identity. Knowing these truths leads to freedom. Scripture even tell us that truth sets us free. Jesus is that truth. At times though, I realize I stop with knowing truth. Sometimes I get stuck there. I am definitely not experiencing freedom when I am stuck.
I can focus and focus on truths told in scripture but still feel defeated. I can complain about how I know them but my life is not different. I am still just getting up, doing the same thing every day, going to bed and then getting up and repeating it all over. There are days that I do not even remember what I did. I put myself in auto pilot mode and “live” life. I pray and beg God to help me believe these truths I know. Lord, help me see things differently. I know there is more to life than what I am experiencing. Scripture tell me so. However, it does not seem true. I tell myself that if I just continue studying and trying to make myself believe, things will change. In the meantime, I just feel defeated.
The scriptures are important. They do give me truths. They give me facts. They tell stories from long ago that paint a picture of God for me. Sometimes I get so hung up in knowing all the details of the picture that I fail to actually see the picture. I fail to enjoy the picture. I am in the forest checking off one tree at a time thinking that once they are all checked it will click and come together. Just like laundry, the trees are never ending. If I wait until I get them all checked off to look at the forest I will never see the forest.
I have turned my relationship with Jesus into a task. I can not see His beauty played out in my life while focusing so hard on trying to learn how I am supposed to see Him. This is true with any relationship. When I just know truths (or try to know them at least) and do not see them played out then I am going to continue to complain. Nothing is going to feel different.
How I approach God looks different when it is based on knowing a truth verses believing and experiencing a truth. Romans 8 tells me that I am free from condemnation and that I cannot be separated from the love of God. I can approach Jesus only knowing this truth and still be scared. Usually that prayer is full of begging for forgiveness, promising not to do it again and begging for Jesus to help me. When I step outside of knowledge and approach Him based on trusting Him then I am able to approach Him ready to receive the gift of forgiveness He has already given me. I am not scared that He will never forgive me unless I say a specific prayer. I am able to talk with Him about what is really going on inside of me that caused me to sin in the first place. I am not even focused on the actual sin itself because I am focused on His love for me and His loving, listening ear. I am letting Him hande the sin! I am able to experience the forest of His love. I will flip flop between both trusting only in the knowledge of Christ and trusting in Christ. He will continue to love on me and be patient with me when I flounder.
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