Our church has a monthly meeting where we break into two groups, men and women, and have a time of teaching, singing, fellowship, and prayer. This is different from the various other ministries in that it is not directed specifically to moms or wives or youth or some other focused group.
Each year, the planning committee gets together to map out the 8 or 10 meetings that will happen during the year. I have not been part of this group, but have been a speaker a couple of times over the years.
Mark and I were invited to a cookout at the pastor’s house back in July, not knowing that it was a meeting of the planning committee! As we began to discuss possible topics for the coming year, we settled on looking further into some of those subjects we already know a good bit about, but which seem to be pretty hard to ‘do’ effectively – forgiveness, humility, conflict, fear, respect, gossip (ok, ‘not do’).
We have, I think for a couple of years now, gone through a book which talks about various women in the Bible, lessons we can learn from their lives, etc. and had been actually looking at continuing through that book. This is not a bad approach by any means; I love seeing what applies to my here and now life as I read through, studying some of these people who lived in a very different place and time.
I’m glad for these lessons, and for the rehearsing the truths that so richly abound. Often, however, I find that we know the truths of Scripture, the how we should live, and I have felt kind of guilty when I felt a tinge of boredom as we consider going through them yet again. It seems like we’re having trouble applying these truths, and in our desire to really change, we repeat the lessons again, and again, and again. I’m all for the repetition. Rarely have I ever gotten something down the first time.
I find, however, that I am eager to ask a different question: if this is what the Bible says, and if we love the Lord and want to honor him, what’s keeping me/us from doing it? As I ask that question, it has led me to see that not only do I need help seeing where I’m not ‘getting it’, but also in seeing why I’m not doing what I should be doing.
If forgiving is a clear command in Scripture, why don’t I want to forgive, even after all the books, the Bible study, the prayer? If I am afraid of something, why am I giving in to sinful responses when I know the proper ones? If I am being disrespectful, why do I feel like this is ok, when I know what Scripture says?
So that’s what we decided to delve into in this year’s meetings. I’ll be teaching in October (the 30th), and I’d be very thankful for your prayers. It’s one thing to sit and talk about these things over coffee – where I have most of these kinds of conversations – and quite another in front of a large group (and without the coffee!).