There’s nothing like having high expectations of yourself and raising the bar. And one of the areas in my life that I have started to refocus on is spiritual growth.
Admittedly, it all started in 2008 when Dr. Taylor challenged me to become a “Virtuous Woman”, according to Proverbs 31. Now THAT is a woman I am very happy to imitate. Following on from that, she challenged me to become “wise”, so I started reading a chapter of Proverbs each day, to increase in wisdom. I was reading a lot of John Maxwell, on leadership, and each of the other books I read seemed to take me back to the Bible. (Why is it that the good authors on leadership are all from churches?).
Eventually, that lead me to reading other books of the Bible and then to start reading Bible study books. I got hooked, somewhere along the line, on Elizabeth George and her book “A Woman after God’s own heart”, referring to David being a man after God’s own heart.
In her book, which I finished some time last year, she challenges each woman to choose 5 topics and over the next decade become “an expert” in those 5 areas.
So, I’ve chosen 5 topics that caught my attention, principally because of Proverbs and also in part because they are areas that I simply feel I don’t understand.
- The fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom, according to Proverbs). Who is God? What does it mean (in this day & age) to fear him? What is “fear”?
- An intimate relationship with God: which is really 2 topics – Prayer and speaking to God; and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- The tongue – blessings and curses, the control of the tongue, the power of the tongue for good and for bad. What we build up and what we tear down.
- Women – how do I reconcile the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 with what Paul says about women in 1 Timothy 1: 11-12. Throughout most of what is written by Paul, he makes mention over and over to the fact that women “caused” the fall of man and were lead astray, and lead man astray. (Unfortunately, Eve wasn’t the only woman to do this – Sara did so with Abraham, giving him Hagar to have a child, as well as other examples in the Bible). But, how do I reconcile this model to follow in Proverbs with other parts of the Bible. What about Deborah?
Anyway, by 2020 I want to be an expert in these 5 areas of the Bible. So, when reading my Chronological Bible I am paying special attention to everything about these topics, and I am accumulating a library of books that study these topics. And trying to get a little further ahead each week in reading and studying about them and how they fit into daily life.
One of the other things I’ve learned about is tithing, and since for me “time is money”, I am tithing not only my money, but also my time to study. So, setting aside about 2 1/2 hours each day for prayer (practicing prayer) and study. And all sorts of different study aids and guides to keep me motivated and moving.