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The Difference Between Bible Study and Communing with God


This morning, I was praying, and I had this revelation (not unusual, happens often with my continual deep thoughts). I don't know how it popped into my head, or maybe it was God telling me something, but I realized:


There is a really big difference between doing your Bible study and actually communing with God.


I suppose that this has been a thought in the making; ever since the breakup, I've been drawing closer to God in a new way. My Bible study isn't just my Bible study anymore, it's intimate time with the Lord. I don't need head knowledge, I need heart healing. I've even started doing "two-a-days with Jesus", as I like to call them. I wake up at 5:20 in the morning to get some quiet, distraction-less time with the Lord, and it may very well be one of the best decisions I've ever made.


But as I've been taking these steps, drawing nearer and nearer to my Creator, the difference between Bible study and communing with God has become ever more distinct. And the more that I inch towards communing with God, the more my heart and my life has been changing.


Bible study, a beautiful thing, one of my favorite ways to spend my time, is essential for every Christian. To dive into Scripture, and understand it, and soak your soul in it is a heart-changing, life-transforming, disciple-making practice. And I love it. Truly. Last year, I asked for a Bible dictionary, because that's what I love. I love words, I love the Bible, I love all the head knowledge that comes with it. But sometimes, we study the Bible in a way that only leads us to head knowledge. Sometimes we limit ourselves so much, confine ourselves in this box, so that our Bible studies are less creative and exploratory and more rigid and routine.


Sometimes, Bible study is more about checking off a box on our to-do list than actually getting to know God and dwelling with Him.


I fell into this trap a few months ago, and every time I dig myself out, I seem to slip right back into it. Especially during my time with Jesus at night. I'm tired, easily distracted. I read my chapter for the day, even took notes over it, and that was that. Prayer is impossible when your heart isn't in it, when your heart isn't open to listening or pouring out. And as a result, I lost my peace and my joy. I was anxious, irritable, and all over the place, to be completely honest with you. I thought that was crazy, it must have been caused by stress, maybe hormones. I was still reading the Bible, so my lack of connection to God simply could not have been the root of my problems.


Wrong.


Bible study is amazing, when you keep God in it. It means nothing if you're just studying to study, with no prayer or soaking in or meditation and contemplation. Bible study means nothing if you're just studying to study, without talking with Jesus and surrendering to Him. We do enough studying during school, don't we?


That's why communing with God is so essential. Bible study is part of communing with God, but it's not the only part. To commune with God is to open your heart and your mind to hearing what He has for you, and also to be willing to surrender all you are and everything you're going through to the Father. To commune with God means to embrace real, wholehearted life-change and committing to the journey of unpacking the wounds and lies you've believed from the depths of your heart to embrace the freedom-filled truths found in Christ alone. To commune with God is to share your burdens with Him, to lay down the struggles your facing and walk through them with the Lord. To commune with God is to meet with Him, to converse and communicate.


To commune with God is to experience genuine joy, unexplainable peace, and true freedom.


Communing with God takes effort, takes opening wounds and fully healing them, takes being present and intentional with the Lord. It takes sacrifice and surrender.


But it's so beautiful, and it's so worth it.


Friends, let's not settle for Bible study. Let's not settle for reading the chapter, taking Instagram worthy notes, and memorizing a bunch of verses. Let's not settle for having the perfect routine, getting into a rhythm, and gaining head knowledge.


Let's surrender, completely, at the feet of Jesus. Let's do the difficult heart work and experience the best heart change. Let's actually talk to God, instead of reading the Bible without any connection to the Father. Let's actually apply what we're reading, allowing it to seep into our lives and show us new parts of the God we serve, and show us new parts of what it looks like to live more and more like Him.


And I believe it all starts with prayer. I believe it all starts with laying our lives down, giving all we are to the Lord. Because when we let go of ourselves, when we let go of whatever we're gripping so tightly, we learn how to wholeheartedly trust and cling to Jesus. And that is the place where everything changes.

 

Friends, learning the difference between Bible study and communing with God has made the biggest impact in my life. It's not all about the head knowledge or the perfectly crafted routine. It's about experiencing a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus that changes you from the inside out in the most beautiful way.

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