Today I’m finishing my interview with Sunshine, who worked through The Beatitudes Workshop. (You can read part one here.) The Workshop Sunshine is talking about is currently half off, as is the newly released second half of the study, this week only!
Q: How do you avoid falling into the “checklist” trap, also known as “just try harder to be a better Christian,” trap that can come from Bible study, especially for us “list makers?”
Sunshine: Okay, I had to think about it because that is what I always do, make a list, create a plan, try harder. However, this study isn’t your typical Bible study. I didn’t walk away feeling like “I am so precious and I am able and I can do this, I can really shine for God” that a lot of people are preaching and teaching today. I walked away with a deep conviction of I can’t do this, but He is calling me to walk this out. Even on my best day and giving what I would consider my best 100% effort, there is no way I could accomplish even the first Beatitude. I cannot try harder to become poor in spirit. Then when I realized Jesus taught these Beatitudes in the order He did because one flows into the next and into the next…it is an overwhelming sense of “I can’t do this.”
But God can.
This is where the analogy you offer with the cup [in the workshop] is so powerful. It shows what will happen if I plow on my own path and continue to try to do this on my own, versus when I come to the source and I allow Him to fill me up. This study is unique also in the sense that it does not seek to flatter and build up the Christian. It holds up the Word of God and beckons you to repentance and shows you the way Home.
But just because there isn’t a checklist or “try harder” approach that will work when responding to the study, there is a sense that my life needs to change, drastically. A course correction needs to take place. For me, this conviction reminded me of my lack of prayer, meditation, worship etc, in my life. The only work I need to do each day is to put myself in front of Christ. This means getting into His Word first. First thing when I sit down here at my desk with my coffee in the early, quiet hours of the morning, get into His Word before anything else. And then to return to it often throughout the day (index cards, posters, memory verses). And then pray, pray, pray.
I like to write letters to God (my mom taught me this) and it is (for me) such a great way to pray and respond to His Word and this is where I ask Him to work these things into my life, to teach me and explain to me what I don’t understand. And this is where I lay my burdens down and also where I practice and rehearse His faithfulness. Often times, each week, the only response I can give to the lesson from the chapter is to pray. That is humbling. Especially if, like me, you are a checklist kind of girl (I LOVE checklists, bullet journaling, and making plans, etc). But at the end of each week’s lesson there was not a sense of “Oh! I can do this______” to fix it. There was and is a sense of turning to God and asking Him to work and then paying attention because He is faithful to show up.
I hope this conveys the monumental blessing this study has been and continues to be in my life. Thank you so much for creating the workbook questions – especially the second page of questions that asked how Jesus wants us to live in light of what we just learned – in our habits, hurts, responsibilities, etc. I was surprised by how hard this page was, especially the question of in my hurts, because often it meant dying to self and that is HARD. I don’t think we talk enough about dying to self here in America, not even in our churches, studies, and prayer groups. However, the most difficult and humbling moments in this study came about when I saw how often I defend and become offended and each week I had to confess that (still confessing that) and allow God’s Word to clean this out and then count myself dead to that.
Thank you Sunshine, for all your time put into doing the workshop and then answering questions for me and others! Your thoughts above are echoed by my friends and others I have heard from who have worked through this amazing sermon study by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones!
If you’d like to join hundreds of others who have undergone the spiritual scalpel of the Doctor,
now is the best time!
The Beatitudes Workshop is here,
and Part Two that will finish your journey through the book is here.
Both are half off for this week only!