When I was a Freshman in High School I completed Confirmation in our Lutheran Church. Confirmation is a two year class that went over the Bible, who God is, and what we believe. I started this class as a sassy eighth grader, and completed it as an angsty teenager. My poor parents.
I recall sitting in the car with my dad driving home from class asking him 'why do I have to do this, it is all extra homework that I don't want to do'. He is just as stubborn as me, and would scoff and shake his head telling me 'you just have to do it'.
When Spring came and the coarse was coming to an end, each student had to pick a 'Confirmation Bible Verse' to write a short essay over. We would read this essay in front of the church on Confirmation Sunday. I prayed over my bible the weeks leading up to that Sunday and opened directly to my verse.
I sat down with my pen and paper and wrote my essay on this verse God had clearly led me to. I was confident in my pick, even when my mom rolled her eyes and asked 'are you sure you don't want to pick a verse from Psalms? Something more up lifting?'. She was embarrassed by my pick because she thought it was a not so subtle jab at all the nights I complained about going to class. Ironically it was not, but the teenager in me was satisfied that she thought I would take the time to look up something so perfectly fitting.
I love my confirmation verse, and I've seen the meaning behind the verse change for me over the years. 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Imagine a barely 14 year old speaking on this verse in front of the whole church. I wish I had kept the entire essay, but all I remember is the ending sentence of my speech. "At the end of my life I want to be able to say: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Tiny Shift #8:
I struggled with Confirmation because I misunderstood the intention of the Bible. I was under the assumption it was a rule book, telling me exactly what I should or shouldn't be doing. It seemed oppressive and stifling, 'how was I supposed to follow every single rule?'.
For a long period I lived my life with little regard to God's Word. I prayed and I believed in God, went to church, but side stepped the Bible whenever possible. I didn't want a reminder of where I was falling short of God's expectations for me.
Then I entered a study that taught me all about God's goodness, how much he loves and cares for us all, and how his Word contains loving boundaries to keep us on God's path.
I imagined a meadow with a narrow path lined by a fence. It was not a high chain link one with barbed wire on top, it was a low standing fence made of wood logs and posts. A gentle boundary that added to the beauty of God’s creation.
Before, I was so wrapped up in the Bible being a rule book, I never thought of it as boundaries for us to live within. I was trying to keep on God's path all on my own, asking for forgiveness frequently and never considering God's word as something to help me keep on his path.
The Bible is God's Word speaking to us, gently telling is where God's boundaries are in life and asking the Holy Spirit to keep me within those boundaries.
It is not me, but the Spirit keeping me on God's path. I am fighting the good fight, I am staying in the race, I am keeping the faith. Not by my own actions, but through the Holy Spirit working within me.
Prayerfully consider what your view of God's Word is. Do you see yourself as a rule follower for God? Or do you see yourself as living freely within his boundaries in your life?
Pray for God to change your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you his wisdom.
Let the Holy Spirit work within you. Notice when you read the Bible this next week, are you seeing some scripture in a different light?