Do you feel guilty when you think about reading the bible? When someone asks you – “so hows your bible reading going?” – what do you say? Do you feel guilt and shame rise up in you because you know you haven’t read it for weeks, maybe months? I wonder why that is? What compels you to read it in the first place and what stops you? Who makes you feel guilty when you don’t? Who told you that you should and what reason did they give?
Dan Hames has written a great article on three reasons why you don’t read your bible, here it is in a nutshell:
1. You don’t have time
2. You think the bible is about you
3. You think your bible reading is for God’s benefit
The first one doesn’t really count. Honestly it doesnt. If you have time for TV, facebook, looking at blogs, going out, shopping etc then you have time to read your bible – we make room for what we want to do. Having no time is not an excuse – let’s be honest here, you just don’t want to read. And let me be honest, there are times I don’t want to read it either because I find it boring, irrelevant and a waste of time. Yeh I am being honest. Why do I think those things? Because of the other two points that Dan Hames has mentioned. Its boring and irrelevant because I think the bible is about me and when I open it and if I don’t see me there then I think its boring and out-dated, in fact it gives me no sort of guide on what I should do today and what type of job I should get. It doesn’t give me any horoscope type predictions on my life – what happens if mars meets venus at a coffee shop and spills latte over the red carpet, what does that mean!! Tell me: Where am I in this story?!
In this bible you gave us, you are missing the main character – me! please change this so that I can read more about me in this story… Ok? thanks…. Amen.
Well here is the thing, we arn’t the center of this story. From Genesis to Revelation its all about the Fathers son – its all about Jesus. He is the focus of the story. Yes the Old Testament is about Jesus and it brings me joy to tell you that when you read the OT you can see Jesus in the scriptures and it’s not just about morals and strange laws. Why not open your bible and pray that you would see Jesus in what you are reading. It’s not a “where’s Wally”, it’s a story about the chosen seed, offspring, saviour, deliverer, redeemer, husband, king, and lover… the thread of the OT is woven from Jesus, with Jesus and to Jesus.
Where do you feature you may ask? Well if you are going to appear anywhere your character is the rebel, prostitute, outcast, foreigner, grumbler, sinner, disobedient one. Yeh you don’t start out that great. But that’s you and me. But look what happens to those people when they trust in their champion and saviour – they are brought to new life, they are saved, they winners with their champion because he has won it for them. This story isn’t about me, it’s about Jesus. Lets take our eyes off ourself and onto him. Lets see him in scripture and I tell you that you will delight in scripture much more – because the bible isn’t a great “how to guide” and it was never meant to be, we are meant to read it so that we may see more of Jesus who reveals His Father to us. That is wonderful.
And so reading your bible isn’t for God’s benefit. Really it isn’t. It’s for your benefit – to feed you, point you to Jesus and warm your hearts. God isn’t keeping tabs on your bible reading. If you are reading it because you think you have to or God will be displeased with you, then you will only read it out of guilt. As Dan Hames says:
“”In this context the Bible is given to us as a gift to feast on, rather than a project to complete before judgment day. We will find we go to it to savour and enjoy, and when we miss a day we might feel hunger pangs, but we could never feel guilt, fear, or condemnation. “
Come and feast on the wonderful banquet that is on the table in front of you. Come, taste and see. Come and see Jesus and find that he is wonderfully fulfilling, warming our cold hearts. Thats what I need every day.