I’ve spent the last nine months studying the book of John surrounded by some of the most incredible, God-fearing, diverse women and here is some of what I learned, chapter by chapter.
1. Light—the really bright, pure kind—is scary as hell because it isn’t a spotlight on the good, but a floodlight that illuminates everything. But staying in the dark so as not to let your mess be exposed is a lot like keeping the lights off in your house when there is company so they can’t see what a shambles your home is in. It’s weird. It’s unnatural. We weren’t meant to reside in chaotic darkness. Flip on the damn lights and let the Lord help you tidy the place up.
2. Jesus doesn’t perform mediocre miracles. He didn’t turn water to apple juice, He turned water to the best wine imaginable. It’s time we, as disciples, start asking for miracles that are as fantastic as the one who works them.
3. All the knowledge in the world cannot equal or replace intimacy with Jesus. Understanding the call of Christ doesn’t mean more information, just more conversation with the One who knows all things.
4. When we allow the world to assign us our identity and we live within the confines established by culture, we miss out on opportunities to serve Jesus by serving each other. Instead of referencing society for cues on right and wrong, let’s reference the God of all things.
5. In the event that God asks us if we want something, our response should be the answer to the question, not a statement of its impossibility. If we focus more on the obstacles around us than the power in front of us, we might miss our opportunity to get up and walk.
6. When Jesus lays His hands on it, my meager offering is enough to be a part of the Kingdom Story. Alone, I have only enough for myself. With the touch of God, I have enough to feed everyone around me. The provision of Jesus is not determined by how much we have but how much He has. Which is everything.
7. All who believe and accept Christ are an extension of the miraculous and unparalleled power He carries. When I drink of the “Living Water” of the Holy Spirit, I am empowered to do as Jesus did.
8. My secret sins are no less ugly than the public sins of those around me. But this does not justify either, whether secret or public. Jesus—in His grace—calls us to higher standards of living. We stand not condemned but transformed.
9. God’s goodness is displayed in the joy with which He heals His kids. People tend to fear this kind of power, though, and thus they choose not to believe or even to condemn those touched by Divine Power. We mustn’t be discouraged by this unbelief. I would rather be healed and exiled than living in blindness, never having been inconvenienced by the transformative power of Jesus Christ.
10. Sheep recognize their shepherd’s voice by listening constantly and growing familiar with it. If I cannot hear my Good Shepherd’s voice, it isn’t necessarily because He isn’t speaking. Often when we cannot hear the voice of God, it is because we haven’t spent enough time with Him to recognize His voice when He calls for us.
11. The heart of the Creator of the Universe is moved by the heart of His people. In God is all strength and, despite His strength, He weeps. This is compassion and the call of believers: to allow the emotions of the world to penetrate us in such a way that we are inclined to just and righteous action. Our courageous softness displays His mighty power.
12. We are not defined or dictated by the expectations of humans; rather, we are identified and glorified in the pureness of our love for Jesus. Those around you may cringe when you worship but Christ is sitting firmly in front of you, basking in the sweetness of your uninhibited love. Worship is simply the overflow of a love too full to remain contained. Let it flow over.
13. Sometimes we need to just shut our damn mouths and let Jesus do His thing. We don’t always understand—can’t always understand—but we serve a God who always does. Trust Him.
14. We have the power—nay, the responsibility to do every single thing that Jesus did and more. The source of the power He possessed lives inside us, called the Holy Spirit. When we call on the power and authority of the throne, we glorify the God who gives it. I will bring glory to my Father, the King of kings, by working miracles in His name. There is power in the name of Jesus.
15. In Christ, we have life and abundance and purpose. Apart from Him, we have nothing.
16. Jesus says quite plainly that, once filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples would be cast out of the synagogue because they would no longer fit into the box that Jews were expected to fit in. However, this would not hinder the deep and unshakeable joy these men would carry. Have you been outcast because of the Holy Spirit power in you? Take heart! Jesus Christ overcame this troubled world.
17. Jesus didn’t come to take His people out of a troubled world but to give them power and protection within the trouble. If you find yourself in a dark place, consider yourself not lost, but sent. Adversely, if you find yourself surrounded by nothing but fellow believers and good fortune, it may be time to seek out more companions to whom you can reveal Jesus. Our hearts should be clean but our hands should be dirty.
18. Peter screws up. As a matter of fact, Peter screws up over and over and over and over again. Despite all that failure, the will of God is still accomplished. Our imperfection cannot thwart God’s sovereignty.
19. It is easy to be shocked and repulsed that those whom Jesus had loved and healed and ministered to stood amongst the crowd, violently demanding His crucifixion. Yet, when we’ve met Jesus and remain in our sin, there we find ourselves, amongst the angry mob, shouting “Crucify Him!” Gracefully, quietly, lovingly, Jesus allows Himself to be murdered gruesomely. With all power and control, Jesus finished that which we could not and buried the sins of all humanity. Your sins have been buried with Christ. Leave them and walk with your savior.
20. In our humanity, we don’t often recognize Jesus if He doesn’t look the way that we expect Him to. In His Godliness, He needn’t bend to our expectations. Yet, He reveals Himself to us so that we can know that He is God and He is alive.
21. Jesus redeems our failures. He reclaims our broken hearts. He reinstates our dreams. He recreates our lives. Jesus cannot fit in a tomb or a gospel or four gospels, but He fits perfectly into our lives.
All praise, glory, and honor be to the God who sent us salvation through His son, power through His Spirit, and life through His Crazy Love.
Want to meet Jesus is new and deeper ways? Bible Study Fellowship is a program that delves deep into the Word and welcomes anyone seeking more, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. It has been a pivotal factor is transforming and maturing my relationship with God and, therefore, my life. Find more information or a class near you by going to bsfinternational.org or, as usual, you are more than welcome to contact me with questions.