Happy Friday, beautiful friends! Today we're going to switch gears a bit and talk about something vitally important: our devotional lives. We all know that as believers we are called to be in the Word so we can grow in our faith and be equipped to face whatever life may bring. But do you ever feel like you're stuck in a devotional rut? Like you don't know what to study or what book in the Bible you should read through next? Developing an individual devotional plan can be challenging, especially if you're involved in a church Bible study or small group already. So what can be done to help you develop this spiritual discipline and inspire a topic of study? Well first and foremost, PRAY! Nothing significant ever happens apart from prayer, and if you're wanting God to speak to you through His Word, ask Him how He wants to grow you and He won't fail to point you to the Scripture that will accomplish that! Below are 10 poignant devotional/Bible study topic ideas that you can delve into either in your personal quiet time or with a few friends! Let's talk about them!
As women in the digital age, we naturally struggle with comparison. This has only been exacerbated by the continual rise of social media. We compare our clothing styles, lifestyles, parenting styles, schedules, and more to the women we know in our personal lives or even the ones we don't on social media. Comparison is the thief of all joy because it detracts from who God uniquely made us each to be. The study "Authentically, Uniquely You: Living Free From Comparison and the Need to Please" by Joyce Meyer is a wonderful study that encourages us as women to embrace who God made us to be. It teaches us how to break free from the struggles of comparison and people-pleasing so that we can live in the fullness of joy that God intends for us. If this topic speaks into your life right now, I encourage you to check out this study!
I think our association today with idolatry is a strictly Old Testament perspective. We tend to think of idols as being graven images, statues, or shrines. But what about today? Idols are more than just physical, and they are much more subtle in our world today. Dr. Vernon Whaley, renowned worship leader and author, defines an idol as "anything that is a substitute for or supplement to God". With that view in mind, we can make an idol out of just about anything in our lives, even if we're not aware of it. We can unintentionally idolize our families, our churches, our politics, our jobs, and so much more. Are there things in your life that you are allowing to substitute God's place on the throne of your heart? How about things in your life that you are allowing to be seated alongside God on the throne of your heart? Ask God to search your heart and reveal those hidden idols. A great study to delve into the topic of idolatry is "More Than Anything: Loving God Above Everything Else" by the Daily Grace Co. In this 5-week study, you'll see idolatry explained in Scripture and learn to identify the ways it exists in modern culture, learn to seek fulfillment in God alone instead of the temporary things of this world, examine your heart, and learn to love God above all else.
3. The Redemption Arc
In Christian culture, we use words like "redemption" and phrases like "I've been redeemed" often. But what does it truly mean? Where did redemption begin? The study "The Story of Redemption" features 4 volumes that take you through the entire Bible within a year with reading 3 chapters a day. Volume 1 dives into redemption from Genesis to 2 Samuel and discusses the story of Scripture, the Old Testament, the Law, the Mercy and Grace of God, and Salvation. Volume 2 covers 1 Kings to the Psalms and discusses the same key themes with the addition of Wisdom. Volume 3 covers Proverbs through Malachi and discusses themes such as Wisdom, Prophecy, God's Mercy and Grace, and Salvation. Finally, Volume 4 covers Matthew through Revelation and discusses the themes of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, Salvation, the Church, and the Holy Spirit. The volumes can be read individually at separate times or straight through for a year-long study. In it, you'll learn how every book and chapter in the Bible points to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and how Scripture works together to tell one beautiful, continuous story of redemption.
4. The Holy Spirit
Jesus said that after He ascended into Heaven, we would receive another Helper who would be with us always (John 14:16). This "Helper" is the Holy Spirit; the very presence of the Living God dwelling within each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our intercessor, our Teacher, our Friend, and so much more. Through Him, we have the life more abundant and free that God desires for us to have, but how often do we settle for less than God's intended best for our lives? Though every believer has the Holy Spirit within them, not every believer fully embraces the Holy Spirit and avails themself to His power. In the book study "Don't Miss Out: Daring to Believe Life Is Better With the Holy Spirit" by Jeannie Cunnion, you'll learn who the Holy Spirit is, how He works in our lives, how He has worked throughout Scripture, and how you can submit your life to Him in order to live a Spirit-led life. This is the study we've been walking through for our Ladies' Bible Study here at Fruit of the Vine and trust me, it will change your life!
5. The Continuity of Scripture
Do you ever struggle to connect the Old Testament with the New Testament? I know I used to. Upon first glance, it seems that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament when in fact, He is the same. Hebrews 13:8 clearly tells us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever". So why the disconnect? The Bible must be understood as one continual story pointing to one central theme: Jesus Christ. Every genre of Scripture and book of the Bible points to the person and work of Jesus Christ. In the study "Amen: The Story of Scripture from Eden to Eternity", you'll learn the different genres of Scripture, the meta-narrative of Scripture (Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration), the unchanging nature of God, and practical tools for everyday life application.
6. God's Silence
We all know that God is omnipresent and always with us. Scripture promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). But do you ever feel like God is silent? Have you ever found yourself praying and felt like you were going unanswered? In those times it can feel like God is a million miles away when in fact He is closer than your very breath. Here is an unchanging truth: God's silence does not equal abandonment. Often, God will become silent to teach us to lean into Him, seek His presence continually, and truly learn to listen for Him. He is continually working providentially in all things to accomplish His purposes for His glory and our good. (Romans 8:28). In the 3-week study "Esther: Seeing God When He is Silent", you'll learn to find God in the book of Esther, to identify the ways that God is working in your life even when He seems silent, to trust in God's faithfulness to fulfill His promises, and to stand courageously for God right where He has planted you even if you don't understand His plan.
I hope that these devotional/Bible study topic ideas inspire you and help you choose a plan for your personal devotional life. Spending time being immersed in the Word of God and allowing Him to speak to you through His Word are the most important and fruitful things that you can do to grow in your walk with Him. If you're searching for a way to enrich your personal devotional life, it is my prayer that God leads you to exactly what He desires for you. May your roots grow down into Him and may your life be the proof of His love at work within you!
Madilyn at Fruit of the Vine