Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Boored with Reading the Bible?

Okay, we all know that we should read the Bible regularly in order to be "good Christians." But have you ever asked yourself Why Doesn't Anything Happen When I Read My Bible?

This is what Andrew Farris said on the subject:
"There are probably a number of reasons for this, but one that I have consistently come back to is that most times I don't feel anything when I read my Bible. Nothing seems to change. I still fight my same old battles with lust, pride, selfishness, a foul mouth, and so on. "This is the Word of God," I tell myself, "so why don't I notice it doing its work in my life?" Why doesn't anything really happen when I read my Bible?

I was lamenting this to a close friend a couple weeks ago and he quickly responded with something that has been rolling around my mind ever since. He told me that expecting that kind of instant gratification comes more from our culture than from true Christian spirituality."
That is a good insight.

When the Reformers, the Puritans, and strong believers of past generations read the Bible, they did not expect to always directly "experience God" as they read it. They knew that sometimes reading and study can just be drudgery, not a spiritual high. But they did it anyway.

Why? Because they saw the goal as getting the Word into their minds and hearts for future use by the Holy Spirit. They knew the truth expressed by Psalm 119:11: "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." They knew what athletes know- training and exercise away from the field, as painful and boring as they can be, pay off in the game. They knew what soldiers and Marines know: that drill and practice with weapons and tactics pays off in quick response in the stress of battle.

Reading the Word of God will not always be exciting and meaningful - at the moment. However, the long-term benefits of hiding the Word in our hearts have been consistently testified to across all the generations of Christian history. Maybe if we (if I) practiced more discipline in this area now, we would be better prepared for times of pressure and stress down the road.