Faith

I wanted to leave BSF because I didn’t feel challenged enough

by Gabriel Ong // November 4, 2019, 2:16 pm

BSF challenge edit 1

I’ve been attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for almost two years. With this year coming to a close, I’ve been thinking whether it might be time to move on.  

BSF has still been a good experience for me, but there’s one thing that’s been bugging me. My current group has become a lot quieter than my original one. I’ve started feeling that the discussions are less exciting or provoking than they were at the beginning of my time in BSF. So I felt I wasn’t being challenged, like I had hit a wall. 

When I considered these factors, along with the fact that I’m in a new season (marriage) with new ministry responsibilities, and that free time really comes at a premium, I began to ask God if my season with BSF was coming to an end.

One Monday night, however, I was really struck by the lecturer who said a bunch of things that really sank into me. I’ll paraphrase the most impactful bits.

  • God hasn’t put wisdom beyond us. He says we will find it if we seek it (Proverbs 8:17).
  • Gaining wisdom is a choice; we must seek it as we trust in God.
  • Gaining wisdom is applying it to every part of our thinking and living.
  • Gaining wisdom comes from a relationship with God, seeking and trusting Him who is wisdom.

Wisdom. It’s something we pray for all the time. And it’s something we know that’s good and worth asking for. After all, like any good Christian, we’ve read King Solomon’s story, which tells us wisdom is the best quality even kings should ask for.

So while wisdom is great and all, the question on my mind of late has been this: How much do I really want it?

When I heard that, something clicked inside me. I instantly realised that wisdom is about hunger. And in crystal clear 4K vision I saw that the problem wasn’t with my group’s quietness, or my reduced free time in attending BSF. These are genuine reasons, but what was really driving my “just bail” mentality was my lack of spiritual hunger.

Hunger drives us to pick the meat off the bone. 

In preparing for that week’s BSF session I had glanced over verses 4-6 in Proverbs 2 (ESV) without fully understanding what they meant.

“if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…”

I wish I would desire God’s Word like that! Because here’s the thing. If I was truly spiritually hungry, I think it’d be a lot harder for me to say things like, “the sermon wasn’t good today, I didn’t feel fed”. Hunger drives us to pick the meat off the bone. 

And if I was truly spiritually hungry then I think I would spend less time complaining about not being fed and more time productively finding ways to gorge myself on the Living Word. 

Hunger, upsized: My first taste of fasting from food

I know it’s possible for a spiritually hungry person to be genuinely frustrated at not being fed. All I’m saying is, I wasn’t that guy. I just called out things that weren’t working and complained about stuff so I could build a case for leaving. And then I folded my arms.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

As I sat in my pew, listening to the lecture, I took a moment to be very honest with myself. And I admitted to myself that I wasn’t that hungry after all.

I’d rather be at home watching Netflix or playing through Season 18 of Diablo 3. And those things are fine, but simply admitting I’d rather do those things allowed me to weigh clearly the opportunity costs of not going for BSF.

Maybe in your case it’s midweek fellowship at church or a prayer meeting you’re not sure about attending. But for me when I looked plainly at all the options of what I could be doing, and what I would gain or miss out on, I came to the conclusion that it’d be pretty stupid to give up one source of wisdom without replacing it with another source.

Unpacking the basics: Why and how do we read the Bible?

That’s not to say we can’t ever quit a Bible study group or skip a prayer meeting. Without being legalistic, you can leave or take a pause if there’s a valid reason or if God says your season has come to an end.

Honestly in my case, the reasons were invented by myself and God has not told me to leave. So if I gave up this one source of wisdom, I’d simply be replacing it with human entertainment, which was what I really wanted. 

We need to see what our life is made up of. If you’re a visual person, it helps to write down or draw out what your life looks like currently.

If you’re basic like me, just go with a pie chart. Then you’ll be able to see what’s really consuming your time. Is it dance class? Games? Gym? Additional, optional CCAs in school?

We owe it to ourselves to see what we’re devoting all our hours to. I suspect your reaction will be similar to when I opened up my Steam profile years ago and saw that I had sunk in over 500 hours into a Warhammer game. 

I’m really preaching to myself here, but we all need to at least know how much time we’re giving to something. That enables us to decide whether it’s even worth it, and whether we’ll stop or stick to it. Life is short, and we can’t afford to waste (too much) time doing things that have no meaning or eternal value.

This Monday is the last BSF session for the year, and many are bound to be thinking of their commitment for 2020. I guess I’ll end with this question: What do you really want out of life? We owe it to ourselves to be honest about this because our lives will take the shape of what we’re chasing. We need to see if it’s all worth it.

I’m a deeply imperfect creature – one already steeped in entertainment – so I’m choosing the paths that will take me closer to God. I believe chasing after God on paths like these will help me cut more fat out of my life, so there’s more meat on the bone. And I think that’s a life of substance worth building.

THINK + TALK

  1. If you were to draw a pie chart of what consumes your time, what would your life look like?
  2. Are there any changes you need to make so that it more accurately reflects your priorities?
  3. How much do you desire the Word of God?
About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.