How is your time in God’s Word? Do you study the Bible with intensity, consistency, and passion? Many Christians struggle with spending time daily in God’s word. A lot of times it is because we have the wrong attitude when it comes to reading the Bible. Which of the following five people sounds like you?
1. Justifying Janet
Janet reads God's word just to make themselves feel good about whatever decision they have already decided. If they want a tattoo, they go to the Bible to see if its ok. If they want to drink alcohol, they find verses that prove their point. If they want to date a person whose not a Christian they scrounge around finding any evidence in God's word that makes their own oppinion seem right. Janet’s approach to God's word is disastrous because she is not conforming herself to God's Word, she is making God's Word conform to her.
2. Legalistic Larry
Legalistic Larry opens the Bible because he feels the pressure of his Pastor telling him he needs too. Larry is the kind of guy who will become filled with motivation at the beginning of a new year, pick out a Bible reading plan and force himself to do it day in and day out. Larry treats the Bible like an item on the “to do” list he needs to check off each day. He has no desire to hear from God or to know God better, he is merely reading his Bible because it is the right thing for a good Christian person to do. He reads his Bible out of guilt, not joy. And in the end Larry will become very good at reading his Bible forcefully and rigidly and thus become proud and arrogant, or he will struggle and feel worthless.
3. Out-of-Context Oscar
Oscar opens up his Bible and finds some verses that he loves and enjoys. Oscar has a very minimal knowledge of God's word and comes back to a few verses that he knows and uses them over and over again out of context. This is the person who uses Philippians 4:13 as proof that God is going to let him win his Football game. Oscar tends to love the encouraging verses all the while ignoring the ones that asks him to do difficult things like, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mt 16:24) , "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”(Mt 10:37) No, Oscar doesn't read any of these verses, he will just stick with the ones on his Christian Coffee Cup.
4. Passionate Penny
Penny gets really excited about reading the Bible for short periods of time. She will go to a conference and hear some awesome speakers and get really excited about reading her Bible when she gets back home. She will dive into the Bible throughout the day for about a week. Then the passion and excitement from the conference wears off like a druggy coming off a high, and pretty soon the Bible is back on the book shelf collecting dust. Penny has no consistency or discipline to keep going when it is tough, so she waits around till the next conference where she will get excited again about her relationship with God and studying His word.
5. Academic Anthony
Anthony is the guy that loves knowledge. He loves to study and analyze the Bible. He is a proud expert on Bible trivia and can list off all 12 tribes of Israel in alphabetical order, by the Hebrew alphabet of course (English is for lazy Christians). Anthony knows all the background information about the Bible and he will not hesitate to tell you everything you want to know about the author and structure of a book in the Bible. He uses big words like parallelism when discussing Hebrew Poetry all the while failing to allow the text of scripture to change his heart and his mind. Anthony's pride and arrogance in academics has put a wall around his heart and keeping the Holy Spirit from working as he studies the Bible. Although Anthony knows a lot about the Bible he doesn't really know the Bible. Anthony sees the Bible as a textbook to study and analyze, but never truth to be applied.
Which of these five people are you most like? Which one do you most relate too? So often we approach reading the Bible like these five people. As a Christian we need to regularly study God's Word through prayerful reading, meditation, and application. Why? Because through God's inspired word, we get to know and savor our God and King. We get to see who God is and what he has done through his son Jesus Christ. We get the opportunity to hear from God as he speaks to us, convicts us, and restores us through the consistent washing of His word. Be weary of reading your Bible like one of these five people mentioned. Be like the wise and blessed man in Psalm 1 whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." (v. 2).
Take Delight in God's Word today and spend the remainder of your life meditating on His word and may we say, "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (Ps 119:10)