A friend and I were talking recently about how difficult it often is for people to fit reading their Bibles into their schedules. I think we make time for the things which matter to us, though, so I don't always think time is the problem. Priorities maybe. Spirituality permeates every aspect of our lives, yet it often is the least-developed part of us. I read a book one time about the spiritual well-being of children and the author talked about how parents find time to take care of the physical, educational and sheltering needs of their children; while the spiritual needs tend to get neglected. If a child breaks an arm, parents find the time to take him/her to the doctor and then later to rehab if that is necessary.
I know this firsthand, my son broke one of his arms five times and his other wrist once. The doctor/hospital/rehab visits were time-consuming and tiresome but we went faithfully seeking healing for him. A broken arm is painful and easy to see - and quite necessary to tend to immediately, of course. My point is - as busy as I was I found time to take him in to the doctor and get that problem taken care of even though it wasn't in my schedule. Good parents take care of those needs for their children. Spiritual needs should receive at least the same or MORE concern and attention. And we cannot help others with their spiritual needs if we are not taking care of our own.
We are born with an unsatisfied spirit and a deep longing to know God. People mask it, ignore it, neglect it, deny it and try to fill it in a lot of different ways but still it is there. In this post-modern society we are expected to deny Truth and seek peace with everyone at the expense of losing faith in anything, especially God. We rush to the doctor to fix our broken health right away, but allow broken spirits to flounder desperately. I once knew a person who had such deep sorrow in her life; it made my heart ache to talk to her sometimes. She asked many questions about God, but was afraid to give him a chance because everyone in her life scoffed and scorned Him - and her experiences with Christians had been filled with judgment and left her feeling defensive. I pray for her restless soul still. If only she had had parents or others in her life who had invested in her spiritual health - and taught her to do the same - her life could have been so different!
Pretty much if you have had any connections with Christians or experiences in the Church, you have heard it is important to read your Bible. That can become a vaguely guilt-producing knowledge which is relegated to the back of the mind until life feels desperate or perhaps on the rare occasion a few minutes of time open up and a Bible is nearby. But I don't think people should feel guilty for not reading their Bibles. What they should feel is a sense of loss and wonder at what they are missing out on.
Over twenty years ago I made the decision to set aside a portion of each day to read God's Word. It required a lot of discipline at first. It was easier to love God, go to church, and listen to Christian radio than it was to get into the Bible. There were even some books in the Old Testament which bored me. But I was determined I would read a little bit every day until I had read through the entire Bible, no matter how long it took. Most of the time I read one chapter each day, but sometimes I found myself in the middle of something and I continued on.
My Bible-study plan was two-fold. First, I would read God's Word, and second, I would pray about what I read. The prayer part was not difficult for me - I already took time each day to pray. Adding Bible study to my prayer life brought new depth to my prayers - a benefit I did not expect. I pretty much had been in a rut, praying for the same needs over and over again. But when I read the Bible I discovered people prayed for things which never occurred to me - like talking to God about my enemies or praying in faith for Him to open new doors and do new things in my life. God is NOT boring - and following Him should never be boring.
If you are bored in your walk with God then it is time to shake things up and look for something new He has for you. I am convinced we miss out on much of what God has to offer us because we don't explore our own lives from a spiritual aspect. Owning a home, raising nice kids, and going to church every Sunday are good things - but they are not the Earth-shattering, life-changing experiences the God of the Bible promises. It was easy to nestle down in my blessings and comfort zone and let mediocre reign.
As I immersed myself consistently in God's Word, somewhere along the way it ceased to be an item scheduled into my agenda and it became a lifestyle. And the more I knew, the more I realized I was scratching the surface of faith. I became afraid of complacency and frustrated with myself for how much I loved my worldly things. My prayers were contradictory because I wanted to be wholly the person God made me to be and discover fully the life He had for me, but I was terrified at the thought I might have to give up my material possessions to find that life.
How could I live if I didn't have my house? What would people think of me? I rarely asked for help from others. How could I possibly ever do that? I was the one with the confidence, the blessings, the answers - if I lost everything how could I possibly be an example of hope for others? Such misguided ideas, as if owning worldly possessions and having money are the ultimate signs of a healthy spiritual life! They certainly don't offer peace and comfort in times of sorrow and need. They don't care if I am lonely or afraid or if my feelings have been deeply bruised. My stuff is just stuff and I tried to convince myself I believed that.
Then I lost everything.
Everything, that is, except my faith. Everything except a faithful God Who provided and comforted, led and loved me through some of the darkest days of my life. I am convinced if I had not known so well the promises God gives in His Word I would not have survived that time. And I would not be where I am at this time. I am literally watching Him perform miracles daily and this is just the beginning. He is going to transform lives and change families, because that is the kind of earth-shattering God He is. I discovered all of this simply because I opened up my Bible every day and read. I urge you to make it a priority and give it a try.
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