I say that a lot. If the students with which I work were to write down the things that they heard most often come out of my mouth, that would probably be one of the phrases at the top of the list. However, I don’t say it for the reasons that one might assume: I don’t want to guilt anyone into the idea; I’m not being legalistic; and it’s not because I work at a church.
It’s because of a subconscious thought that’s been in my brain for a while now and was recently articulated by an author and a pastor:
How can you love or trust someone you don’t even know?
Well, duh. Right? But what does that have to do with reading your Bible?
I’m going to assume for a minute that something is true, so humor me and nod your head in agreement? Mmmmk. Thanks! The truth is that there are probably thousands, if not millions, of us Christians – individuals who accept how much God loves them and that they need a Savior because of their sin, claiming Jesus as Lord – who don’t know God as well as we would prefer. Yes, I said “we” and “us,” me included.
I am not doubting faith, relationship with God or saying that anyone is not a Christian. Hear that loud and clear. Please.
Because of my job and a big percent of the friends whom I interact regularly fall into the “Christian” category, I hear talk about how people want to know God more, about how people want that “feeling” of loving God more, like what is found at big worship events, and about how people want God to tell them what to do, wisdom and guidance. Why, if one has put their life in the hands of Jesus and is infused with the Holy Spirit, is there such disconnect? Where is the knowledge of the relationship, the love for the Creator and Master of the Universe, and the wisdom to know how to follow the one who is leading?
I wonder if it’s because we fail to know God? We fail to know God because we fail to take advantage of the greatest resource He has left for us: the Bible. As American Christians, we like to collect Bibles of all kinds: study Bibles, leather Bibles, engraved Bibles, different translations of Bibles, paperback Bibles, Duck Tape Bibles, pocket Bibles, Bibles for men, Bibles for women, Bibles that have maps, Bibles that have extra inspirations penned by editors at publishing companies, Bibles with pictures, Bibles in the original Hebrew and Greek (that most of us can’t understand but feel smarter them having them on a bookshelf at home) and any other flavor you desire to choose at a Christian bookstore. The number of Bibles at our fingertips is a little ridiculous. It’s ridiculous because we don’t read them. We don’t. We flip through and find a sentence that makes us feel good or has an example that we can apply to our lives in a minute, but we generally neglect to read the rest of the chapter, book, verse or story because it’s too long or too boring or too irrelevant. So we think.
If our relationship with God were compared to any relationship we had with a person in our life, it would be embarrassing. We don’t listen to our friends in soundbites. We don’t call family members and not ask about the story that lead up to a major life event. We don’t not ask questions about the past when it comes to people we love the most. We don’t talk the whole time (OK, yes, I know I talk a lot…it’s OK to laugh). We don’t not get to know those people.
But then why do we not get to know God? Why do we not spend time reading about what He’s done and what He’s going to do – the greatest story of all times. It’s been around for thousands of years. Scholars spend decades of their lives attempting to prove it wrong and often fail. Translators find remarkable consistency between the oldest scrolls found in Israel and today’s copy that sits on our shelves collecting dust.
When talking with my friend Tracy two weeks ago about a book that we’re reading together, we came across the sentence that suggested that for one to love God more, one has to know God…and that for one to know God, one must read the Bible.
I get paid to read the Bible. I get paid to teach the Bible. I’ve read the Bible. I had started to have a been-there-done-that feeling. It was sad. I was feeling disconnected. I didn’t really want to read my Bible from beginning to end but have recently been at a loss for what to read in the big book, but after considering the sentence in that book and having heard a pastor say a similar thing the pervious week, I started reading Genesis. I’m not sure what I’ll discover or how long it’ll take, but it’s an important, conscious, logical decision. I want to love God more. I want to trust God more. So it’s good to continue to get to know Him more and to be open to what He wants to teach me without my own agenda of what I think that I need to learn. Dude, I’m reading my Bible.