Author Info: A Buffalo native, Natalie Kate "Kate Hill" Hill (of the Modern Nomads) is best known for her unique vocals and indie style. Yet it's her heart for seeing students lives transformed by the power and love of Jesus that makes her a quality leader. She serves on the staff team at American University Chi Alpha. You can connect with her via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

There’s this thing in the church I grew up called Bible Quiz.  It’s probably exactly what you’re thinking, on steroids.  It’s a competition between teams from all different churches where you’re asked questions about the Bible, all ranging in point value.  Some require answers with direct quotes and scripture references (known as “quotation questions”), you can interrupt the question and complete the question and the answer (to beat the other team to it), and the competition is complete with buzzers and strategies on how to hold your hands for the quickest “beep.”  I don’t mean to brag or anything (actually I do),  but my team won first place in the Junior Bible Quiz state competition in sixth grade.  All of that to say, I knew a lot of things about the Bible.

I learned a lot and knew the answers and memorized the facts.  I take great pride in how quickly I can recite the books of the Bible and the 12 tribes of Judah in order.  And growing up in church, people always talked about devotional life, but in my head, I thought I already knew everything I needed to know.  I knew what was in the Bible backwards and forwards, literally.

Online fundraising for Reach the City - 2016

It took me many years to realize how misguided I was.

I think there will always be a season in our lives when we learn that knowing about the Bible and knowing Jesus are not the same thing.  I learned it my sophomore year of college in a season of depression where reciting the 12 sons of Jacob didn’t change the pain or the loneliness.  I knew what the Bible said but I didn’t have a daily relationship with Jesus.  I wasn’t letting the words of scripture come to life and speak hope into my bones.  It took hurting to understand that Jesus wanted to be with me every day, reminding me of who He was to me and how much He valued me.  And that took a daily devotional life, reminding myself of who God was and how the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus of today.

At a certain point, we can’t be satisfied with where we’ve been.

We can know all the facts, but God wants to bring us to a deeper place with Him.  When I got to college, there was knowledge but not depth.  At a certain point, we can’t be satisfied with where we’ve been.  When we spend daily time with God and in His word, we start to delight in His commandments (Psalm 119).  We start to find hope in our brokenness (Lamentations 3).  We start to understand just how much Christ values us (Luke 12).  We can stay where we’ve been or we can want more.  And we can have a fuller, deeper, more rewarding relationship with our savior.

I keep talking about devotional life because I know what it was like to not have it, and I know what it’s like to have it.  And I could get by just fine for a while.  I could explain my religion with a list of facts, and my faith looked a lot like a to-do list with things to check off and things to know.  I think that’s how the majority of self-professed Christians view it too.  

But there’s more to be found.

There’s a God who longs to give us a hope and a peace and to show us grace.  His laws are there for our good, because He loves us.  He wants to show us this every day.  And He just longs to be in relationship with us.  But like any true relationship, it takes work.  It takes showing up each day with all our baggage and saying, “Let’s be together.”

Published on July 25, 2016 • Short Link: