Women Wielding The Word: Glenna Marshall

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“The fight to live life connected to the Scriptures is not done to be loved by God but because we already are.” 

Glenna Marshall

Are you reading the Bible to make yourself holier, to earn God’s love? Are you afraid God loves you less on days you don’t read the Bible?

Sharing stories of how God has impacted our lives encourages us and builds our faith. It’s one of my favorite things to do! The Women Wielding The Word series is meant to be an encouragement to you. I’ve asked other bloggers to share what their time with God looks like and how the Bible has impacted their lives.  

Glenna shares her story of reading the Bible out of pride and legalism, and then the transforming power of the Gospel to turn God’s Word into the sustenance of her soul.

Remember He Already Loves You

I used to think that regularly reading my Bible would make me a better Christian. It didn’t happen often, but I felt a bit of pride when I remembered to read a chapter of Scripture before bed at night. “This is what Christians do,” I would say to myself while quickly skimming a random psalm before turning out the light. This practice would make me better, I was sure. Holier. Wiser. More loved. Isn’t this what Bible reading is supposed to do?

When it Comes to Love, You Can’t Beat the Gospel

I spent many years trying and failing to read my Bible consistently before I realized I was doing it to earn God’s favor. I thought I could wring more love from Him if He knew I was reading my Bible more. On the flip side, I was afraid He loved me less on the days I didn’t read my Bible. This poor motivation propelled me through many cycles of starts and stops. I waffled between pride and guilt all the time. It wasn’t until I entered a prolonged season of suffering that I realized I didn’t really understand God’s character at all. I needed to read the Bible to know Him, not convince Him to love me more. His love was already certain.

God’s love for me was displayed at the cross where Jesus died in my place for my sins (Rom. 5:6-8). His love is strong because it doesn’t hinge upon me but on His faithful character (1 John 4:10,19). His love is evident in His forgiveness of my sins (1 John 1:9). His love is obvious in that He is committed to sanctifying me (see Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8: 29-30). His love is secure in the gift of the Spirit who is the guarantee of my eternal inheritance with God in heaven (Eph. 1:13-14). You just can’t beat the gospel when it comes to love. I can’t do anything to better my stance before God who has already given me the righteousness of Christ. No, I didn’t need to read my Bible to convince God to love me more. I needed to read it to remember He loved me already.

No Empty Word But Our Very Life

I don’t fight with the starts and stops of spiritual disciplines as much these days. My days are built around prayer and studying the Word because the season of trials I endured a few years ago revealed that there is no other place to go to for comfort, truth, and correction. Like Peter asked Jesus, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The words of the Lord will always be the answer to my sin, grief, anxieties, and fears. 

When we build our life around regularly opening our Bibles and seeking the Lord in prayer, we are acknowledging that we believe that God’s Word is no empty word for us but our very life (Deut. 32:47). His Word is powerful, true, and relevant. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, so it is an act of both loving obedience and comforting joy to train ourselves to default to the Scriptures on a regular basis. It is no empty word for it is God’s very revelation of Himself to us.

Being in the Word each day isn’t about earning the title of God’s favorite daughter. It’s not about earning anything. It’s about saturating our lives with the truths of Scripture so we can rest in the work of Jesus at the cross. It’s about unloading our anxious hearts before the Lord and letting His Word direct our thoughts. It’s opening our Bibles and saying, “Who are You, Lord? Help me to see you rightly. Expose my sin. Help me repent and walk in holiness.” The fight to live life connected to the Scriptures is not done to be loved by God but because we already are. 

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Glenna Marshall

Glenna Marshall is married to her pastor, William, and lives in rural Southeast Missouri where she tries to keep up with her two energetic sons. Glenna is the author of The Promise is His Presence: Why God is Always Enough (P&R, 8/1/19). You can connect with her at glennamarshall.com where she writes about suffering, biblical literacy, and God’s faithfulness. 

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Read about other “Women Wielding the Word” in this series here.

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21 thoughts on “Women Wielding The Word: Glenna Marshall”

  1. Praise the Lord for His life breathing words that we are blessed to be able to read anytime!! It hurts my heart when I hear of those that have to hide in order to read God’s Word. It was also through a time of suffering that I found how much reading can drip his love deep into my heart, feeling it to my core, transforming and healing me continuously!! Thanks for sharing such a great testimony of Glenna.

  2. So true, Glenna! That’s where our true motivation should lie–in God’s love for us and not in earning His love. I think so many people miss this and struggle to make their time with God happen on a consistent basis. It has become the best part of my day now after many years of understanding this secret and this joy! Thank you for sharing and for Jana highlighting your wise words! I’ll be pinning!

  3. What true words and a great reminder that reading the Bible is not a have to do chore but an intimate way to interact & hear from the living God. There have been many times lately that I have gotten goosebumps while reading the Word and I long for quiet moments to read the Bible.

  4. Glenna, this is glorious truth, and I need to be reminded all the time that the gospel impacts on every single part of my life. God will not love me one bit more if I read the Bible every day, but if I miss that time in His Word, I miss hearing about his faithfulness and love. Thank you for leading us toward a grace mindset!

  5. I absolutely LOVE that quote Glenna, “The fight to live life connected to the Scriptures is not done to be loved by God but because we already are.” SO TRUE! This is a great post. So practical. Thanks for sharing and thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements! Tweeted & Pinned.

  6. I love this: “When we build our life around regularly opening our Bibles and seeking the Lord in prayer, we are acknowledging that we believe that God’s Word is no empty word for us but our very life”

    It is in the opening of the Word that we are boldly declaring faith in Him.

  7. I loved reading the Bible, I read and write, study even more now. Not to be holy, we can only be that through Him, like being righteous, nothing we do makes us better, He has to. Reading through the eyes of His Spirit, you find new and deeper meaning, no matter how much you have read it before.

    • That’s one of the things I love about God’s Word, Rebecca. It’s impossible to read it and study it too much. There’s always something else to be gleaned! It never gets old.

  8. What a helpful post! I, too, want to be saturating my life with the gospel! And not using my Bible reading as “one more thing” to earn God’s favor. Thank you for the encouragement!

  9. What an honest post. If us Christian Ladies our being honest with ourselves, I’m sure we’ve all read the Bible to earn something. It gives me so much peace to know that I don’t have to earn God’s love. I already have it!

  10. Love this! Praise God that we don’t have to do ANYTHING to earn God’s love! I just love soaking in His presence not because I have to in order to earn his love, but because there is no other place I’d rather be! Thanks so much for your encouraging words of truth!

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