And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some but encouraging one another, and the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Time is precious. Psalm 90:12 tells us that we must learn to number our days. As relational beings made in the image of God, we are made for community. Choosing the best opportunities for communion with others often comes down to counting the cost and assessing the value of the investment of our time. Because we know that time is precious, we can find ourselves wrestling with matters of time, productivity, and perspective. Let’s look together at these common hurdles to joining a Bible study.
The Struggle with Time
Is there a perfect time to join a Bible study? With the notion of a “perfect time” is often an undertone of an unrealistic expectation of a point of arrival. Have you noticed that, as we wait for one busy season to come to a close, a new busy season seems to begin? This leads me to wonder: Do busy seasons have endings and beginnings, or is this just life? In a world saturated with high levels of distraction and speed, we truly need space to process and discern with one another so that we may encourage one another and be encouraged! We need accountability to learn to number our days. We need accountability so that we can remember that he governs our lives for his purpose and his glory. We can trust his perfect timing because he already knows his precise purpose for our days.
The Idol of Productivity
Is Bible study productive? When we are in bondage to busyness, often the thing behind the hustle is our desire to feel productive. Reflect on these questions:
- Is my investment of time producing fruit, or is it just evidence that proves I am being productive?
- Why do I need to feel productive?
- Is my productivity fueling my identity in Christ, or am I finding my identity in my works?
- Am I living for his glory or my glory?
- Am I attending to the kingdom, or am I desiring attention from others, accolades, or promotions?
Pausing, processing, and participating in communal conversation may feel unproductive according to the flesh. It may even seem selfish. Saying “yes” to a Bible study may mean saying “no” to more hours at work, to sharing more time with family, or to serving elsewhere. Yet sharing time together, delving into God’s Word, praying together, and learning from others with the same aim is fruitful. Hearing from others in different seasons and circumstances often has exponential impact on our productivity in all our spheres of influence and domains of life. In community, we “stir one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). We can trust him to produce in us and through us according to his desire.
The Power of Perspective
Is an assumption clouding my perspective of Bible study? Reflect on these questions:
- Am I allowing a previous experience to jade my view and harden my heart toward new opportunities?
- Do I even know what to expect or the questions to ask as I consider joining a Bible study?
- Am I feeling isolated due to living a life of self-sufficiency?
- Does truly growing in dependency on Christ and healthy interdependency with others make me cringe? If so, why?
Life leaves impressions on our hearts that form our perspective. So, it is important to keep our motives and reasoning in check. This is why prayer and accountability are so vital to our well-being in Christ. In this space, we wrestle with the risk of being hurt or rejected if we are vulnerable with a group or person. As we grow in our security in Christ—”chosen, holy and beloved” (Col. 3:12)—we increase our ability to grow together in fellowship with others. This is a process built into his design for our good and his glory. We can trust him to form our perspective and take us deeper in his love with one another.
If “neglecting to meet together . . . is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:24), then meeting together must be the alternate habit we pursue. Habits become habits through much repetition. Habits only grow with a healthy rhythm of intentional practice. Do you need a new rhythm? Are you lacking the habit of shared community centered on the Word of God? Perhaps a Bible study is the regular habit the Lord will use to settle your heart into his restful rhythm in the midst of the business of life.