By Lee Stewart
I’ve been in church for a lifetime, so I’ve spent countless hours being fed the Word of God. But this year I asked myself how much I really valued it. I wondered if I was putting my theology where my life is or was I just a person who says one thing and does another. What if my life was saying, “God’s Word is exhaustible rather than alive and active. I know enough to function well. I value myself more than God’s Word. I value my digital world more than God’s Word. I value the words of other Christians more than God’s Word. I value my comfort more than God’s Word.”
I knew I wasn’t saying those things with my mouth, but what if my life was saying them anyway?
What if I deleted all my words and merely recorded my behaviors and held them up to a microphone? What would the message be?
Here are some things I noticed about my non-verbal commitment to God’s Word:
I went to Scripture how I wanted to, which meant I didn’t see the importance of reading every word. I treated every other book differently from the Bible. I read other books from cover to cover, but I read the Bible in selective chunks. I also loved Scripture as an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional aspect of who I was, but not as an authority over me. Scripture will not always be gentle with us. It will confront as well as comfort because it’s a full-orbed testimony.
I also went to Scripture when I wanted to, out of desire and not discipline. I do not think we have to go to our Bibles at a prescribed time and read it in silence with picturesque coffee cups, windows, and blankets, but I also don’t think we have to wait for our feelings to prompt us. Throughout the day we do plenty of things out of discipline and without waiting for feelings or solitude.
I also went to Scripture with some irrational reservations. Have you ever met anyone who was a diligent student of the Word, but also a person you did not respect very much? Or maybe that person seemed more interested in reading the Word rather than applying it. We tend to expect more from the disciplined students of the Word and especially from the ones who teach it. I was afraid I would be a person who knows God’s Word, but is farthest from it. But that’s like saying you’re afraid to be hospitable because some people throw boring parties. Or you don’t want to do a good deed because you’re afraid you may end up with a bad motive.
I also worried that if I got too disciplined about my Bible, God would quickly test me on it or put me through a trial of some sort. What if it was a deeply painful test and all I had to cling to was His Word? Part of me did not want to know the untapped power of His promises. But I realized this meant I did not believe they would sustain me in the first place!
I’m not sure how weird it is to think this way, but there you go.
Well this summer, I stepped out of my comfort and out of my resistance. I finally began the journey to read my Bible from cover to cover and honor it in its entirety. I started in the New Testament and then went from Genesis through Malachi. Some books were harder to get through than others. Some parts were violent and graphic. Some parts were abstract. Some parts were so interesting I flew through the pages. Sometimes I got bogged down, but God met me on every page.
Along the way I had so many questions, even as I pressed into so many deep truths. I knew I wanted to read it all again! The whole experience changed me and I wish I could put it into words.
The Bible is true, living, and active, and we will never exhaust it. You can dig for a lifetime!
The Bible is true, living, and active, and we will never exhaust it. You can dig for a lifetime! And don’t forget it’s also a great piece of literature. It really is the GOOD book!
If you have an Instagram feed or something else that seems to feed your soul more than the pages of your Bible, then take that to God and ask Him to change your appetite. Ask yourself what you really believe about the Bible. Is it valuable to your daily reality and your personal time? Do you value it as God’s gift to you or do you think of it as a chore?
It might seem that with all the demands placed on your hands and your body each day, you can’t possibly engage your mind in such a big book. But really you can’t afford NOT to. Just start somewhere, anywhere you can, at whatever pace you can. Develop a craving for the Word by choosing the Word. Pick up your Bible even before you want to. May 2020 be the year of transformation for each of us. Let us shove our theology up against our lives and beyond the point of comfort. Let us press on to know the Lord. Let us press on in view of His mercy.
Lee is the wife of Josh and the mother of three. She’s a pianist, a baker, a runner, and a recovering perfectionist. Motherhood, to her, often means finding beauty in the minutiae and grace in the big picture. Writing helps her find those things a little faster. Lee believes God’s truth seeps into everything from the duty of a simple laundry load to the making of little disciples. She loves being a mom because it takes her through deep waters and plenty of silliness, all in a day’s work.