Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BEE Fulfilled: Breaking Free

Several months ago, I spent a morning reading scripture in 1 Thessalonians. As I neared the end of this book in the Bible, I read the following three verses:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all
circumstances, for this is God's will
for you in Christ Jesus."

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)~

I remember jotting down on a piece of paper the following:

Be Joyful + Be Prayerful + Be Thankful = Be Fulfilled

On the surface, these verses presented a simple equation on how were are to live our lives in Christ Jesus. But as I pondered on the three components of fulfilling God's will, I realized I often struggle to follow this calling. In fact, I was not sure I truly understood what it meant to "be joyful always." And I knew that my prayer life was sporadic and did not qualify as being continual. I expressed thanks in many situations, but I knew I could not make the claim of giving "thanks in all circumstances."

Shortly after reading these verses, I began a Beth Moore bible study called Breaking Free. I love how God places the tools we need for growth just when we need them. I stumbled across this bible study when searching for another study at my local Christian bookstore. The store employee assisting me pulled this study from the shelf and recommended it to me. Somewhat disappointed that they did not have the study I wanted, I hesitated before deciding to purchase it.

That evening, I sat cross-legged on my bed and began reading the first section of the study. Within minutes, I was fascinated as the study delved into a history lesson about the kings during the prophet Isaiah's time. At first, curiosity about the history components of the study drew me to it each day. But soon a desire to learn about the truths found in God's Word and a yearning to mature in my relationship with Him grew day by day.

During the second week of the study, I discovered one of the reasons I needed to embark on this journey at this particular time. In this study, Beth Moore provides the following definition of captivity:

"A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders
the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her."

It did not take long for me to discover I had been living in captivity in certain areas of my life for some time. During the study, I came to understand that the only way to find freedom from this captivity is through seeking Christ's help.

Each week as I completed the daily lessons in this study, I found my relationship with Christ deepening, and I began to gain knowledge and understanding of how to break free from the strongholds in my life. I have wept more over the last two months than I have in a long time. The Lord has stirred such a yearning within me to know Him better and to be obedient to His commands and callings in my life. Every morning, I find I hunger to spend time with God in His Word and prayer, a hunger that grew from a few random rumbles and growls just a few months ago to an intense need from deep within me.

Each day, I am learning what it means to "be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances." In the weeks and months to come, I hope to further explore the meaning of these three verses in 1 Thessalonians and share the truths God is revealing to me related to them.

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