In this six session video-based bible study, Lysa TerKeurst encourages participants to trade going through the motions for the spiritually exciting life for which we long. Below is an excerpt from her book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Also, make sure to watch the free first session of Lysa’s study toward the end of this post.
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I had a close friend who loved the Lord with every fiber of her being. I not so affectionately referred to her as my “Bible friend,” because she got on my nerves with her constant Scripture quoting. No matter what issue someone had, she was ready with a verse to help.
Have a headache? She had a verse for that. Break up with your boyfriend? She had a verse for that too. I would have dreams of her chasing me around ready to whack me on the head with her very large Bible.
But something about her made me want to remain friends with her. Though her Scripture quoting could be annoying, something about it was endearing, the purest form of honesty. In addition, she modeled what it meant to live the Word and not just quote it. There was a stark difference between religion as I understood it and what she called her relationship with God.
Though she had no idea of the junk I was dealing with, she was tenderly responsive to God’s promptings. One especially dark and tearful day, I received a card from her. It would have been my due date. The day I would have been welcoming a new life into the world was filled with feelings of death, darkness, and hopelessness. I knew as soon as I saw the handwriting what would be in store for me if I opened the envelope… another Bible verse.
Sure enough, Jeremiah 29:11 was beautifully scripted across the front of the card: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”
I wanted to toss the card aside, but something kept me focused on that verse. I read it over and over again. It was as if my name had been inserted there. “Lysa, for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Lysa. Plans to give you, Lysa, a hope and a future.”
How could this be? This statement stood in such stark contrast to my flawed perception of being identified by my circumstances. This verse painted a possibility that the God of the universe loved me not for what I did right but simply because I was His. A child for whom He had great things planned. I didn’t have to be the child of a broken parent; I could be a child of God.
In that moment I didn’t know how to properly accept Jesus. I didn’t know the right Scriptures to turn to. Even if I did have a list of verses to pray through, I wouldn’t have been able to find them in the Bible. I didn’t have all the answers, and I knew for certain I had not been “good enough.” But something deep in my soul was stirring with assurance that this message was from God Himself and His words in this verse were truth.
Even an atheistic heart like mine couldn’t run from this truth. When God made me, He left His mark deep inside. His fingerprints covered my soul – no wonder His truth resonated within me. I simply couldn’t deny it.
There was just one word I knew must be uttered in response to the God of the universe, pausing in this moment just for me. “Yes.”
Wrapped in that yes was the acknowledgment that God did exist, that He loved me, and that I wanted Him – not a religion – in my life in a way I’d never had before. I wanted so much more with God.
It would take me many years to completely define and understand everything that yes meant. The initial yes was a step toward God. A step out of the darkness that blinded me. A step toward the light of truth. A step toward my true identity that wouldn’t shift or fall apart under life’s strains. A step toward becoming “Lysa, a fulfilled child of the one true God.”
Interestingly enough, the rest of that verse shook my soul to attention:
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:12-13
The words “I will listen to you” and “you will find Me” made God seem so personal, so touchable, so interested in a relationship with me.
Me? The child of a father who didn’t want me or love me is loved and wanted by the mightiest of kings, the Lord of all lords, the God of the universe, my heavenly Father!
Living Beyond The Christian Checklist
I want my life with Jesus to be fulfilling. I want my beliefs to work no matter what life throws at me. I want to be so certain of God’s presence that I never feel like I have to face anything in my own strength or rely on my own perspectives. My strength will weaken during hard times. My perspectives get skewed by my emotions.
I want total security no matter what happens. In other words, I want my relationship with Jesus to be enough to keep me sane and together and still fully devoted. Is this possible? True fulfillment no matter what?
Fulfillment means to be completely satisfied.
How might our lives look if we were so filled with God’s truths we could let go of the pain of our past, not get tripped up by the troubles of today, or consumed by worries about tomorrow?
Sound impossible? It is impossible when we try to make it happen on our own by doing more good Bible study girl things. Praying, reading the Bible, doing another Bible study, going to church, and being nice are wonderful and necessary. But just going through the motions of these activities will not fill our souls. They must be done with the great expectation and heart cry for God to lead us into a deeper and more life-changing connection with Him.
Ask a group of Christian women what makes them feel fulfilled and chances are they’ll answer you with things that they do. But true fulfillment is never found in seeking to do enough, be enough, have enough, know enough, or accomplish enough. “Enough” is elusive, always just slightly out of reach. Many of us know this, but still we continue the same patterns of trying to be good Bible study girls – hoping that if we do it long enough, fulfillment will somehow fall within our grasp.
It is my prayer that reading this book will help you to discover two things:
- a more meaningful connection with God, and
- a truer fulfillment from letting your relationship with Him transform every area of your life.
Though it may seem a pretty lofty goal, will you pray for them with me: “God, will You help me to have a deeper connection with You and find truer fulfillment as You transform every area of my life. That is the cry and desire of my heart.” You might even want to add these four simple requests that go right alongside having a deeper connection with God:
- God, I want to see You.
- God, I want to hear You.
- God, I want to know You.
- So that I can follow hard after You every day.
Colossians 3:1-2 encourages us,
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Setting our hearts and our minds on God and letting His truths change us, rearrange us, and redirect us will help us not just to know the message of Christ – but to live it out!
Play Session One of Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl
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Have you had one of those Scripture quoting friends? Are you one of those friends to someone who doesn’t yet know the Lord? Are you praying for that deeper connection with Jesus, to see Him more, know Him more, hear Him more? Join the conversation on our blog below! We’d love to hear from you about finding true fulfillment in Jesus!