A few weeks ago, I met with a mentor of mine at my favorite little local coffee shop when she asked me what she could pray for. I told her that I was ready for God to do something HUGE in my life. I asked her to boldly pray that God would teach me something radical that I needed to learn.
The next week, I was shaken. My prayer had been answered.
I want to share a quote with you that I found on Instagram. I was mindlessly scrolling through my stories around 10:30pm one night (as we often do), not expecting to find anything that would actually catch my eye, or, frankly, change my heart.
I reread the above quote about 12 times that night. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the next few days, and I haven’t stopped.
This was the radical thing I was ready for God to do. This quote pierced my heart and shook me to the core.
As I thought about and prayed through this quote over the next weeks, it changed just about every aspect of my life — how I interact with others, how I talk to myself, how I love the Father, how I see Jesus, how I listen to the Spirit, how I pray, my attitude when going to church, how I read the Bible.
A bit of backstory in my Bible reading — I started reading the Bible really on my own during my senior year of high school. Since then, I have attempted to keep up with my devotional time, but it honestly never really stuck. I would go weeks reading the Bible and praying everyday, yet I would then go weeks without reading the Bible and praying everyday. It was a dangerous cycle that continued no matter how much I tried to do things differently.
About a month and a half ago, my boyfriend and I took on the challenge to read through the entire New Testament in 90 days, which requires us to read 3-4 chapters a day. This was quite a daunting task but one that we were both ready for. The first week was easy; I was excited for what God was doing! As the days went on, I got busy with other things and would get several days behind in the reading.
I have a bad habit of viewing the Bible as a “self-help” book rather than words straight from the Father, saturated with His glory and love. There would be days that I would read a chapter or so and feel like I got absolutely nothing out of it. I could read through some of Jesus’s miracles and think they were cool, but that was about it. Like, how is the fact that Jesus fed 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish or turned water into wine supposed to help me in my life?? Those stories don’t necessarily give me the “warm-fuzzies.” I would get frustrated and start to get really discouraged to the point that I would get back into that low part of the cycle mentioned above and go weeks without reading or spending time with the Lord.
But that’s just the thing. I was too focused on what I could get from it and specifically how the words affected me.
Obviously, Jesus feeding the 5000 with little or turning water to wine is not going to affect my life directly; I can’t travel to the other side of the world, find those 12 extra baskets of food or that miracle wine, and eat or drink of it. Those things aren’t here anymore. So of course, I would get discouraged and frustrated when I “didn’t get anything out of what I read” with that perspective.
However, when I went back and read those stories and more with this fresh perspective, focused on His glory rather than making my own self feel good, everything changed.
The Bible, including those miracles, are for the glory of God – not me. Spending time with the Father is not supposed to make me feel good all the time. Yes, there is so much joy in His presence, and that feels good, but that’s not at all what it’s about.
Think about it. We are literally in the presence of the Creator of the universe, a God who made all of the giant stars and galaxies and clouds and animals and plants that all work together perfectly, yet he cares for little ol’ me. He even knows how many hairs are on my head (Matthew 10:30). He knows all of my inner parts and knew me even in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). He orchestrated every detail of my life — things that I don’t even know about yet. It’s all for His glory.
Since when is the gospel all about me or you? There has to be more to it.
I believe that there is; it has to be all for His glory and honor.
This perspective has literally changed my heart. God is slowly knocking down walls I didn’t even know were there and has allowed me to continue to see how good He is and how much better He is than even His beautiful creation.
It influences decisions I make, how I treat my friends, how I talk to my boyfriend, how I love myself, how I spend time with the Father, and so much more. I am excited to see how God will continue to change my heart through this new perspective, and I pray that it encourages your heart as well.