January 1, 2013
Many of you are making New Years resolutions right now. So often I see people say, “I want to read my Bible more.”
I have stopped making this my resolution. For one I know I will never get to that point where I have attained this goal. I no longer believe that if I climb the spiritual ladder of reading the Bible everyday that my life will be less chaotic than it already is.
I have met countless Christians in my lifetime who tell me they need to attend church more and feel guilty when they skip services. They want their family to attend Sunday School, but they have many excuses. They tried to read the whole Bible in a year, but never made it past Leviticus. They thought about joining a Bible Study, but they have too much on their schedule anyway.
Normal, loving people who want do good. They live moral lives and reach out to other people. I can relate because I have been there too. I daresay my Christian school upbringing emphasized the moral code (don’t drink, have premarital sex, do drugs, go to church, read your Bible, pray etc.) more than what it means to know God and have a relationship with Him. I honestly don’t think I figured out “the relationship part” until college when my anxiety and depression spiraled out of control and my feeble relationship with the Lord was the only thing keeping me afloat.
Are we chasing after a moral code or are we trying to know a God who loves us that he made the sacrifice of His son?
Hayley Di Marco in her book The Fruitful Wife says:
“When we are willing to believe, we seek to understand. And when we seek to understand, we look to God’s Word for that understanding. When we move through this progression, we begin to discern what pleases God, and as we discover what pleases him, we begin to want it more and more.” (134)
Face it. If my goal is simply to read the Bible because it is a nice thing to do and it is going to make my life happier, I am going to lose my motivation quickly. I am going to be more inclined to tune in to facebook or watch another episode of Glee.
Julie Ann Barnhill says it best when she talks about trying to read the Bible in the trenches of mothering little ones in her book, “She’s Gonna Blow.”
“I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do—this goal of reading and studying the Bible in the middle of motherhood. I would guess that your first inclination is to read anything but the Bible. I understand, trust me..at one time I had more than ten magazine subscriptions and probably picked up that many more off the rack while waiting in line for the grocery store! I was an information junkie, craving empty calories of junk-food trivia. It was much easier to grab a dose of Regis and Kathie Lee in between morning baby naps than to discipline myself and study the Word of God…But I’ve learned the hard way that it is simply impossible to grow in faith if the only source you’re tapping into is cultural junk food.” (138)
When you seek the Lord in his Word, you quickly understand that your faith is not simply this thing you hold on to that makes you into a better person. Instead you realize how broken you are. How desperately you need to be healed. How you cannot imagine walking alone without the guidance of your Lord and Savior. How you have this capacity to love other people even those who turned against you. How every single decision can be brought to the Lord in prayer.
You look at church attendance, Sunday School, Bible Study, youth group, prayer meetings differently. All the sudden they aren’t obligations, guilt factors, or things to cross of “a to-do list.” You yearn for them.
I think we get so comfortable with having a watered down faith. We excuse ourselves for not seeking to know the Lord because everyone else seems to be living this way. I have been there. I have had weeks, months, and even years in this state of mind. And I have been in the ministry my whole life. Never think that we in the ministry have it all together.
So I would say my New Years resolution is to continue to walk with the Lord and seek to know Him more. And really it’s not a News Years goal, but a lifetime resolution.