Until the Bible reads you, you haven’t begun to read your Bible.
When we look at what’s happening in America, all the division and angst in a nation with more churches and “Christian” resources than we can shake a stick at, we may be witnessing the cumulative effects of mere Bible reading and church attendance. I think what we’re witnessing in our nation is, in part, the effect of confusing Bible knowledge with Bible application, from the least to the “greatest” of us. There is a huge difference. Maybe by reading a little more you’ll make the shift – and your entire life will positively change.
“The primary purpose of Bible reading is to interact not with a book, but with its Author, God.”
So many of us merely read our Bibles in what’s known as a “devotional” time. So did the Pharisees in Jesus’ day – and not one was selected to be among the twelve apostles. Is there a lesson in Jesus’ overlooking them? I think there is.
If you find your Bible reading is leaving you high and dry, and that you walk away feeling unsatisfied, it may be a sign that you’ve forgotten what it’s really about. The primary purpose of Bible reading is to interact not with a book, but with its Author, God.
THE BIG ASK
Before you read the Bible, ask God to read you through it. What I mean is this: don’t confuse the purpose of the Bible reading as something designed to change only your thinking. It’s a book designed to change our motives and our living. Yes, it begins with our thinking, but we have to use our minds to make sure it doesn’t stop there. Bible knowledge is only as good as the Bible we apply, personally.
If you find your Bible reading results in you knowing more about how other people should/could change their lives, you’re missing a large piece of the puzzle when it comes to walking with God. And, walking with God is the whole reason why each of us has access to a Bible in the first place.
Always start with the big ask. Ask God to read you as you read the Bible. Ask him to reveal sins, weaknesses, shortfalls. Don’t worry, that’s not where it will end. Isn’t the objective of your life to be strong and courageous, to reduce the sin and shortcomings in your life? Of course it is. But the only way for that to become a reality is if you invite God to address them.
Ask God to read you as you read the Bible, and your entire life will begin to change.
The real follower of Jesus is constantly on guard against what Jesus called the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). What is “hypocrisy”? It’s wanting people to follow a hollow example. It’s telling people to do something you aren’t doing yourself.
“’Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ This is how Jesus taught us to pray – but it’s not just a prayer. It’s a battle cry for anyone who wants to really follow the King.’
Could one of the reasons our nation is in the predicament it’s in be because we, the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14) aren’t being who we should be? Ask yourself the following questions and see if you need to make changes in your thinking and life:
- Have you been waiting, even subtly, for someone else to be the leader God is calling you to be?
- Are you flying solo, as if you’re the only leader God has raised up?
- Are you humbly, faithfully working alongside of other people for the advancement of God’s agenda?
- Do you receive input well, or do you resist it?
- Are you a good example of what it means to be a real Christ follower? What if you were the only example of a real Christ-follower out there? Would people be so convinced it’s the right thing to do that they would want to join you in the pursuit?
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is how Jesus taught us to pray – but it’s not just a prayer. It’s a battle cry for anyone who wants to really follow the King.
THE FERTILIZER OF GOD’S WORD
Have you noticed that there are a lot of specks in our world? There are a lot of planks, too. The specks will get taken care of in proportion to our dealing with our own planks. Imagine how God will use you to change the world, if only you are willing to invite him to change yours.
Jesus said, and still says, in Matthew 7:5 “. . . first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In order to have the Bible read you, you must be willing to apply its truths to your own life – and you must be sold-out toward this end.
“That’s when the peace that surpasses all understanding comes – but it comes after, not before, the war has raged.”
Stop reading the Bible as if it were just a book to make you feel better. (Yes, we often do feel more at peace when we read the Bible). If all that happens when you read the Bible is you feel better about yourself, it’s not reading you. I often feel worse about myself when I read it at first – because through it the Author shows me my faults, sins, shortcomings and deficiencies. But that is exactly what opens the door to my transformation That’s when the peace that surpasses all understanding comes – but it comes after, not before, the war has raged.
Let God point out the planks in your life, and in the overflow he’ll use you to remove the specks from the lives of others. It’s always worked this way. It’s just that so many in America seem to have forgotten.