Hi, this is Noel. Today Denise is going to talk about effective motivation for studying the Bible. I am going to help you with Step 1 in Bible study--seeing the facts of a passage by going over a 2nd Example.
You can either read the Lesson or watch the video. To take notes either print out the Lesson, follow along in the book, or use a separate piece of paper to write out the answers to the questions below.
Desire-led or Discipline-led?
The Desire-led approach to motivation says the way to read the Bible effectively is to surface and nurture the Desire God has given you to be with Him, then read the Bible because you want to be a little closer to Him.
Have you ever noticed how much of the Fruit of the Spirit is experiential--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Walking with the Lord affects how you feel. It is not just a theoretical exercise. It effects the quality of your life.
On the other hand, the Discipline-led approach to Bible reading says you can not count on feelings and you should make sure and read your Bible at the scheduled time regardless how you feel. Feelings will follow. Don't make any adjustments to your schedule. Don't make sure the time and frequency match your current Desire. Just keep pushing through your Bible reading times regardless.
It is true that sometimes you will not feel like sitting down and spending time with God at the scheduled moment. But if you uncover the Desire God has given you, and build your Bible reading time around it, you can get through those rough spots with much less Discipline.
Discipline can smooth out the bumps in a road, but it can not build the road.
Although it is not the best strategy, Discipline-led Bible reading can work. You might start out with Discipline, then get caught up with who God is, along the way, and end up wanting to spend time with Him. But there are hazards with the Discipline-led approach.
If you are good at Discipline, it is tempting to get a bit smug about regularly checking off Bible reading from your "to do" list when others can't seem to get to theirs. At that point you are operating independently of God. You don't really need God, you are just proudly performing for Him.
On the other hand, if you are not good at Discipline, you can quickly become disheartened and discouraged because you can't make yourself be consistent.
Surprisingly at that point, I [D] think the disheartened and discouraged person is closer to pleasing God than the smug one. At least the disheartened person knows they need God whereas the proud performer is content to operate independently from Him.
Balanced Bible reading includes Desire and Discipline. But it is important that you lead with your Desire. That is how God equipped you.
Skill Time: Seeing the Facts, Example 2
The first step in devotional Bible study is to see the Facts in the passage. Look at the Bible passage below and write down what you see. There are no wrong answers. If you see something, write it down.
Mark 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and [began] observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
Mark 12:42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
Mark 12:43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
Mark 12:44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on." (NASB)
What do you see in the Bible passage?
Watch the video or check the answers below to compare what you see in the passage with what we get.
Next time, Denise will talk about the example of Martha and Mary and I'll talk about Seeing Facts in the Bible, Example 3.
If you are stuck, reply to this email and ask a question.
Skill Time: Bible Passage (Your list can be different and shorter. More are presented here to help you get the idea.)
Jesus sat down by the treasury.
Jesus is watching people put money in the treasury
Many rich people are putting in large amounts of money
A poor widow came and put money in the treasury
She only put a couple of cents in the treasury
Jesus teaches His disciples about the poor widow
The poor widow put in more than all the rich people