We all sat watching the clock, counting the seconds. Finally we saw the clock change from 2:59 to 3:00. It was officially the 1990 summer vacation. Summer represented freedom. I had no homework, no school lunches, and no more spelling tests for the next several weeks—but what I did have, what I had been excited about for months, was a family vacation from Texas to Washington, D.C. We all piled into our minivan and hit the road. My parents had planned out a trip that would take us to every college my oldest sister wanted to see along the way. We took more college campus tours and ate at more college cafeterias than I thought imaginable. Finally, we found ourselves in D.C. My dad, who drove 100% of the time, didn’t tell us to hop in the car and aimlessly start driving; he had a plan. He knew where he was going. He had a thorough, mapped-out plan to make sure that we got to our final destination safely.
The same is true in discipleship. You need a well-thought-out plan to get you from point A to point B—in your journey as a maturing disciple of Jesus Christ. The foundation of Bible Studies for Life is based on the results of the research conducted in the Transformational Discipleship study. In this study, eight major areas of growth were consistently found amongst developing, transforming disciples. Romans 12:1–2 speaks to the renewing of your mind, truly relearning how to think in light of the gospel. In this series, we will look deeper into each of these eight attributes. The first one up: Bible Engagement.
It makes perfect sense that an individual being transformed to think more like Jesus would spend a significant amount of time in Scripture. But it’s more than that. It’s a deep longing to seek and find the truths within Scripture, discover these truths, and apply and implement them into our daily lives—where life and the gospel intersect. It is in our deep gratitude to the gospel (salvation) that a transforming, maturing disciple desires to lead an obedient lifestyle. In Michael Kelley’s book Transformational Discipleship on the subject of Bible Engagement, he states, “The lives of those who are developing spiritually want to live within the wonder of their transformation.”
Practically, these steps to maturity can be very simple: open the Bible, read, and study. On the road to maturity, application of the Scriptures becomes more challenging: confessing sin, obedience, and studying extra-biblical sources like commentaries, history books, or even podcasts to enhance what you’re learning in Scripture. The Bible is the roadmap to our lives. Too often, we decide to journey down the path of development without a clear plan. We would not treat our summer vacations like this. Every turn and change is carefully thought through. Bible Studies for Life provides a planned discipleship model for every believer to mature in their spiritual walk.
What would happen if engagement with the Bible took place in your church? How would your congregation act differently? How would their relationships alter? How would the giving of their time, money, and resources change to have a more kingdom focus? How does your community change simply by a few gospel-focused individuals? It worked for 12, and it can work for you. Focusing on Scripture brings new transformation that only God can provide. Churches that understand that the gospel is what changes people’s lives are churches that have transformational discipleship happening within their walls and in their communities. This individual, personal development seen through the lens of the gospel is earth-shattering.