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When No Observation is a Big Observation

In our Quench Bible study Glorious Grace, Lara and I teach a simple inductive study method utilizing 3 key questions.

  • Are there any truths?
  • Are there any promises?
  • Are there any commands?

We do give some specific things to look for depending on the passage (truths about God the Father, or truths about the author, etc.) but they all go back to these three main observation questions.

It seems as if we have received the most criticism with this study than any of our previous. It may be that ladies are just more comfortable and feel more freedom to speak their minds, or it may have something to do specifically with this study.

We want to be told what to do, I get that. And, I know that it is frustrating when you are not quite sure if you are doing something correctly. Lara and I intentionally leave out a ton of commentary because we want you to experience God’s Word for yourself. We are confident that God speaks through His Word and if you are faithful to be in it, you will hear from Him.

The first half of Ephesians may have been frustrating for some, as there have been some days that we have looked for the “answer”, specifically for commands, and there is nothing to be found.

I really hope that those who have had a harder time with this study have made it this far, because the commands are about to blow up your journal. There has only been one real command given in Ephesians in all of chapters 1-3; the command given is to remember in Ephesians 2:11-12. That’s it. Instead, Paul has spent all this time speaking truths into our lives and even prays that we get it — that we can have the strength to understand the depths of God’s love for us.

Too often we skip into Ephesians 4-6 “doer” mode before we have a good handle on what God has done for us, and who we are in Christ. If we live our lives in the do’s and don’ts of Ephesians 4-6 without grasping the incredible truths of Ephesians 1-3 we are in a great danger of becoming self-righteous doers instead of obedient worshipers.

Sometimes those two look the same from the outside, but internally there is a much different experience. Doing the “do’s” of the Bible when done out of an obedient overflow of our love and worship of God brings joy, peace, and the abundant life Christ promised us. Yet doing those same “do’s” out of a have-to mentality, or in order to achieve some status with God only leads to weariness, frustration, and distance from God.

So, I think the fact that there has been very little to observe by way of commands in this first half of the study is actually a HUGE observation in itself . . . one of the most important observations of the book.

Have you noticed this shift in Ephesians before? Have you experienced the abundant life that comes from obedient worship? What about the frustration of trying to achieve holiness on your own? I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments.

3 replies
  1. Ann Smith
    Ann Smith says:

    I’ve learned through my walk with God, that we don’t have to do “things” to try to get God’s acceptance or to get God to love us more. God loves us despite ourselves. Our motivation to want to do things should be because of that love He has for us. Romans 5:8ann

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  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I’m so thankful to you and Lara for introducing me to this way of studying God’s Word. I admit “Command Thursdays” are my favorite, and I like to know and meet expectations. That’s why I so appreciate spending time in a passage and looking first for the truths and promises found there. Otherwise, like you say, I may skip them altogether in my quest for “just tell me what to do!”

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  3. Our Family for His Glory
    Our Family for His Glory says:

    This is one of the things I loved about studying Ephesians this past summer. As if Paul was intent on showing us the glorious greatness of God and all He has done in and for us first, before anything else. Maybe so that we wouldn’t miss that it is through the power of God’s Spirit and his astounding grace that we find ourselves longing and learning and striving to walk and live and breathe in a way that honors Him. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your heart, Katie.
    ~Jessica

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