A Transition In Pursuit: Finding Truths and Applications
In the summer of 2013, my friend Hannah and I really felt like God was telling us to start a small group around a Bible study we would create ourselves. If that wasn’t daunting enough, we also both felt led to study Isaiah.
Looking back it seems pretty crazy. In fact, most everyone who heard we were studying Isaiah got a very strange look on their face -- a cross between incredulous disbelief and slight awe.
If you don’t know anything about Isaiah, it is long (66 packed chapters) and it can be hard to understand (it is all Old Testament prophecy). So a majority of that year, I would read a passage within Isaiah and would figuratively (sometimes literally) throw up my hands and pray the very honest prayer: “Lord - I have no idea what this is saying.”
But, true to His nature, every single time I pursued and studied His Word, God would reveal His Truth. Straight from an Old Testament prophet and into my heart, I found innumerable applications for my life.
How is that possible? How does God use something written so long ago to meet me where I am today? How is God’s Word a place where I can know Him, see myself, and learn how to follow Him?
I think it takes a transition in pursuit.
Last blog, I talked a lot about learning to use Bible study tools - strategies and skills anyone can use to engage with scripture. Whether it was making a list or looking up cross references, each one is important to help gain understanding of Biblical text. That is where we all have to start.
But there is a risk if you stop at the pursuit of simple knowledge. Anyone, believer and unbeliever alike, can read scripture and grasp it’s meaning and learn something.
The goal of God’s Word is transformation. Ultimately God is communicating Truths about Himself and His character that are intended to be life changing for us - an understanding of knowledge that then applies to our lives. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of this:
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
So the pursuit of knowledge has to be fleshed out into a pursuit of applying God’s Truth to our lives so that we can be transformed. As we study, using whatever tool or skill, God will reveal big ideas about Himself, His character, and us. Those are our Truths, and it is up to us to gather them as we study.
Then as we focus and meditate on His Truths, God will lead us to take those big ideas and apply them to our own lives. As we look into the mirror of God’s Truth, we will begin to see ways we can be more conformed to God’s character and will.
And the fruit of this transition of pursuit is a changed life.
I was reminded afresh of this while studying Romans this past Fall. In chapter 2, Paul is admonishing the church in Rome about judging the people around them. And in verse 11, I was struck by a very important Truth about God and His character toward all of us:
“For God shows no partiality.”
Basically that means God is completely impartial with respect to us. We are all equal in His eyes. So I can trust that He doesn’t compare me to anyone else. He just sees me.
God is impartial - what a big Truth. But how does that turn into applications for my life? How does this Truth change me?
The biggest application I took from this Truth was about comparison. I don’t know about you, but I waste quite a bit of my day comparing myself to others. I think this issue is pretty pervasive among us as women. We watch our inadequacies amplify as we see the success of a woman at work or the outward appearance of a girl at the store or the spiritual discipline of a friend in small group. It’s a downward spiral from there. Honestly, at least for me, comparison never puts me in a healthy place.
But in God’s economy comparison seems to have no place. He shows no partiality. So, why do I compare myself to others? Why do I take stock of everyone around me comparing them to myself and each other? If God doesn’t do it, if it isn’t part of His character, then why do I?
This one small verse in Romans changed my thinking this past year. As I studied God’s Word, He showed me another piece of who He is and I felt convicted to change my own thought patterns and behavior in light of it.
That is just a tiny snapshot of the Word being living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword for me. I truly love studying God’s Word because of epiphanies like this truth in Romans. I love the pursuit of knowledge from God’s Word. I love better knowing our Lord and His Truth. I love getting a changed life.
*For a more thorough explanation of Truths and Applications see our Resources page.
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook