This year's conference was focused on the Bible and I really appreciated the reminder from Joshua Harris on the first evening that we do get to chose our response to the Bible. We can rip our clothes in repentance upon read the word (as King Josiah did), we can burn the words (even simply through neglect) as King Jehoiakim did, or we can eat the words with delight as Jeremiah did (Jeremiah 15:16). As I considered my own response to the Bible, I had to admit that I don't have the kind of delight that Jeremiah expressed and I don't often respond in repentance as King Josiah did. I certainly don't want to say that I'm like King Jehoiakim, but that's the only example that is left.
What do we do if we don't have the kind of response the the Bible we wish we had? Is it something that we can change? To some degree, the answer is no. We can't by an act of our will change our feelings, so our response to a realization like that could be discouragement. However, there are some things we can do.
John Piper reminded us that "The fight for faith is a fight for joy in Christ (treasuring, being satisfied in and delighting in Christ". We are to fight for what we desire. This desire can come through our repenting of our own attitude and asking Christ to give us a proper desire for Christ and His Word. My desire to spend more time in the Bible was strengthened anew as I meditated on the family group devotions verse:
2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.This is a verse that I am familiar with - I've read it and memorized it so I know it, right? Well, this weekend I really kept thinking about the last line "thoroughly equipped for every good work." I've lost the focus that the Bible is really there and is sufficient to equip me for ever good work that God has for me. Sure I read the Bible - I'm about half-way through it already this year. But, my purpose has been more to read because that's my goal and I like to accomplish goals, or since I know it's something good to do. My reading has not been because I know that though the word, God will equip me for the things he has for me.
I've been challenged again to simply do the basics. I want to pray more, read and study the Bible more, and memorize and mediate on verses more. These are not new things. In some ways a person could well wonder at my desire to spend time and money on a conference that doesn't do more than remind you of what you already know. However, I am so thankful for the opportunity I've had to attend New Attitude and be reminded of the truth of the Scriptures once again.
I also enjoyed the community groups and family groups. My group included three girls from Canada, one guy from the UK, two guys from Maryland (one who didn't make it in the picture) and me (from Alabama). We didn't have a lot of time to spend talking since most of our family group time was spent in individual devotions, but I was glad to get to know each of them. It's great to see there are Christians all over the word who desire to know Christ more and are working in their own areas and local churches just as you are in your own.
If you didn't make it to New Attitude this year, take the time to download and listen to the messages here. If you struggle with negative talk that contradicts what the Bible tells us we are, I would especially recommend CJ Mahaney's message on God's word and our feelings. And if you ever have the feeling that God probably doesn't actually love you, please listen to CJ's message God as Father: Understanding the Doctrine of Adoption in God's Word. All of the messages were well worth listening to, and I intend to listen to them again while traveling this summer.