PRETTY BIBLES < "NOT SO PRETTY" OBEDIENCE

Dear Bible Journaling Community, DON’T COME AT ME. lol. I know you, too, care more for obedience to the Word than making your Bibles look pretty. Well, I pray you do and personally know some women who have bigger Bible Study accounts and are very Godly women – they also love color coordinating study notes and pretty Bible pages.

That’s okay! I am not saying it’s one or the other but I do think we should talk about this.

There is a massive trend in BIBLE JOURNALING.

Pictures and videos are all over Christian social media pages of Bibles colored in, highlighted with specific colors, sticky notes, washi tape, and even images painted or colored onto the pages – highlighting some Scripture or theme in the Word.

I sometimes wonder if unbelievers look on and see pretty images of our Bibles and think “how cute!” or “I wanna do that!” and so they start in on Bible Journaling as a hobby and not because it’s the very living water we exist on, as Christians.

Because being Christians is not pretty. It’s actually the opposite.

I’d say obedience to the Word of God is “not-so-pretty.” It’s not attractive to the unbeliever. It’s not self-empowering but self-denying. It’s not self-motivating but ultimate submission. It’s not “living your best life” but “dying daily.”

 “I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:31

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” – Romans 8:36

How does that sound? I mean, really?

To be a Christian – you die…daily. Not a physical death but to the flesh.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” – Philippians 3:8

“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:22-24

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2

Not to mention all the hate and persecution that we are promised to receive as new creations in Christ Jesus, Lord.

  • In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.2 Timothy 3:12
  • If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.John 15:18
  • Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
    because of the Son of Man.Luke 6:22
  • Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.Matthew 5:11
  • “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”Mark 10:29-30

Every single one of the apostles was KILLED for Christ, except for John – who was left on an island.

This is the road of being a Christian. It’s not supposed to be ATTRACTIVE. It’s not supposed to be what the flesh wants. In fact, the flesh wages WAR with the Spirit. In fact, those who are in the flesh are not INDIFFERENT to God – nope, they are HOSTILE to Him.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.Galatians 5:17

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:7

Our Bibles can be pretty. We can have them be super organized, in chic cases, and have the nicest tools to make Bible study fun, exciting, and enjoyable – HOWEVER, it is the OBEDIENCE to those Scriptures that matters.

SATAN KNOWS THE BIBLE. Remember he quoted Scripture to Jesus Himself in the wilderness. And yes, Jesus answered back with Scripture but it was HIS OBEDIENCE to those passages that defeated satan.

“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice.”- James 1:22

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE!

Ladies, are we putting the Word into practice?

Are we denying the flesh? Being sanctified by the Spirit? Are we sharing the Gospel? Are we being imitators of Christ…truly?

1 Peter 2:21
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”

“for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16

I don’t think Peter and Paul, Stephen and Silas would say being a disciple was attractive – was pretty. BUT THEY WOULD SAY IT WAS WORTH IT. There is a JOY in following the Lord, in even SUFFERING for Christ, that only a Christian can experience.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. – Colossians 1:24

 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1

Romans 5:3-5 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Peter 4:13 

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

The point here is that, AGAIN, while Bible study images are fine – may we be VERY careful that we are actually living them out and not just sharing pictures for selfish reasons/intents.

Let us not believe for even a second that we can TRULY emotionally manipulate people into salvation with Christ by presenting “COOL CHRISTIANITY.”

Christianity is not a community to join to have something to be apart of.

No, Christianity is something you become apart of ONLY WHEN you are regenerated by the grace of CHRIST ALONE, you die to self, and are perfectly JUSTIFIED in HIM.

This isn’t a club. It’s a calling.

And it’s a calling that will cost you EVERYTHING.

The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. – LUKE 14

PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO BY STEVE LAWSON

It makes me cry.

JESUS IS LORD.

He is not a mascot.

He is LORD.

And following Him will be laying down your own life, being crucified with Jesus, and then being raised with Him into NEW LIFE.

It’s not pretty to the world standards.

But it is EVERYTHING. HE IS EVERYTHING – everything perfectly beautiful, marvelous, and worthy of praise and glory!

It is the ONLY WAY – HE is the truth, the way, the LIFE.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple…

In the same way, any one of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14

2 Corinthians 5:15
and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Before we pick up pretty highlighters, may we PICK UP OUR CROSS – a gruesome, brutal, graphic instrument of DEATH AND FOLLOW JESUS!

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