Need Your Soul Revived?
Need your soul revived?
I used to hate reading. I would have rather done anything in the world than sit down and read a book. The idea of devoting focused time on some sort of reading material seemed so B-O-R-I-N-G! I would think, "Give me a video game or a movie, some music or a football, but please don’t hand me a book! Unless, of course, it’s punishment, and you want to torture me."
Of course, this negative attitude made some classes in high school rather tricky because I was often required to write papers on certain books that I had “read." To circumvent my displeasure of reading, I skillfully learned the art of interviewing my friends about the content of a book before a paper was due (Relay kids, don’t follow my example here. I hadn’t met Jesus yet!).
Now I L-O-V-E to read. If I had my choice of any leisure activity, it would most certainly involve time invested in a book (probably on a beach, too, and most- definitely with my wife and kids close beside me).
Question: What in the world changed my point of view?
Answer: I met Jesus -- that is to say he revealed himself to me. The night I met Him I discovered thatHe… had authored … a Book (John 1:1-18; 2 Timothy3:16).
I can still vividly remember opening a copy of my pocket New Testament shortly after I was converted. I began reading in Matthew, voraciously soaking in every word and underlining words of life in red ink like a ravenous scavenger.
Though my conversion sparked a love for all kinds of reading, there is one book that has remained constant in my daily life: The Bible. Since the day of my conversion, i have never stopped reading it. It's hard to believe that I'm on my 14th trip through the Old and New Testaments, an it has never grown old.(Note: Pocket New Testaments fall apart when carried in your pocket daily - poor design if you ask me!)
Looking at the copy of that tattered and taped-up pocket New Testament always reminds me of the miracle of my regeneration. It also reminds me of the value of Scripture.
So, what’s so special about the Bible, and why should you read it regularly?
Simply put, Scripture teaches and our experience confirms that God’s Word is not like any other book in the world: it is a living book, breathed out by God Himself (Heb. 4:12-13). The Word of God is inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative and sufficient for life and godliness (Psalm 12:6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). God’s word is necessary for us to understand the way of salvation. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:14;17), and God promises to accompany His Word with saving and sanctifying grace (Isaiah 55:10-11; John 17:17). So reading is a form of feasting for the Christian soul. If you need your soul revived this year (as I know I do!), hear again the psalmist’s declaration: “the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” (Psalm 19:7).
Whatever your sentiment has been in the past on the topic of reading, I want to encourage you to make it your prayer and earnest pursuit that in the present, this year will be one in which you are devoted to the word of God.
Scripture teaches that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Since our souls are nourished by every word of Scripture, and we are to live by every word of Scripture, why not make a plan for reading every word of the Bible?
There are many Bible reading plans available to help you with this goal. Several of these plans are available on our website, and it’s never too late to start (don’t wait until 1/1/13!). My personal favorite plan is The One Year Bible which guides you daily (and quite manageably) through an Old Testament and New Testament reading, as well as a reading from the Psalms and Proverbs each day. I have found with this plan that if you devote 15-20 minutes a day, you will very easily read through the entire Bible in one year.
Our church is built on the Word of God, and we want to be people of The Book. This year, may we all this year give ourselves to soaking in the Word of God and, as a result, may we all “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18)!