Committed to the Holy Scripture. I so often hear people say, I can’t read my bible, it is boring, I get nothing out of it, I need someone to explain it. And the truth is, I understand all of this, because I have been there. I have read it for the sake of reading it, and felt I was getting nothing out of it. I still ask and email questions about the scriptures all the time, and sometimes to read and meditate on the scriptures is just a sheer act of discipline .
But here is what we know, when we read the Psalms, the parable of Jesus, the Words of Paul, and that the scriptures should bring life to us. The truth is, we can never have a missional heart, which is the heart of God, if we are not ingesting his word. If His Word is not a priority, we cannot learn his ways, his thoughts, his will, his character, his desires, and his love. We must be committed to drinking from the Word Jesus has given us.
In Mark 4 Jesus uses 3 parables back to back that have to do with seed. In the first parable, the seed is pointed out to us to be His Word. In the second parable the ‘seed’ that has been planted begins to grow and yield a harvest, but one who planted the seed doesn’t really get it, it just happens with seed planting. The parable is about the seeds that have grown, or the word that grows us, and us being grown are back out affecting the world. I realize this is talking about the kingdom and how the kingdom works, but the truth is before the Kingdom works through us it begins to work in us, and so this parable can be applied to us in the area of being committed to the Holy Scripture:
1) We must first be committed to filling our minds and hearts with the scripture. We must read over it, over and over, memorize it, speak it, think about it, meditate on it, flood ourselves with it, we must saturate ourselves with it. The thing about this, is when we plant seed in the ground we don’t see the affects at first, and same goes with the word of God (but I have learned the more you read it the quicker you see the affects), but when it is a new thing, it is much like a seed that seems to stay under ground for awhile. And all the while it’s sending out roots that we can’t see, because it happens so gradually. We begin to love the things God loves, we begin to have a heart for things we have never had a heart for, we begin to know things we have never known before, and the truth is, it seems so subtle that rarely do we recognize that it is due to the seed we are filling our lives with.
2) Then the seed begins to break above ground, and we begin to recognize the fruit of scripture, we begin to read our Bibles and get things out of it. We begin to read passages that we have memorized in the past that really meant nothing to us, and now all of the sudden they are enlightening us with life, and all we did was plant the seed, and water it with a relationship with Jesus and obedience to his word, and the scriptures begin to be illuminative of what they really are.
3) Then we being to grow amongst weeds as strong trees casting shadows of God’s grace, mercy, truth, and hope. We begin to understand the deeper things of scripture that makes us stronger and wiser which opens us up to more depth, which produces more wisdom and more strength, and the cycle continues on.
Here’s the thing, we long for number 2 and 3. It is much like working out. If we all knew we would have fantastic results on day one, we would all go, but the fact that we all know it will take at best about 3 months to see any sort of slight difference deceives us that it isn’t worth our time. A missional person or a person who wants to live life on the mission of God and realizes that it is impossible to do it without being fully committed to His Word. We usually give it a book or two, a month or two, and then once we hit Leviticus we burn out, but can I ask you to do one thing: Remind yourself of the first two parables in Mark 4. We are promised that the seeds will produce a harvest, we are not promised that it will happen over night, but it will happen, we will grow in wisdom and truth. We will know God more, and we will love people more, but it starts with being committed to the intake of the scriptures. If at this moment, you find the scriptures boring, yet you are willing to be obedient to Christ and take in his word and obey it, it WILL produce a harvest in you and through you for the advancement of God’s mission.
PASTORS, this is for you. I believe this problem, and that is what it is, a problem starts with us. We are responsible for teaching the Bible to our people. We are also responsible for teaching our people HOW to study the Bible. We live in a country that has done a wonderful job at producing ‘dependent’ Christians. They don’t lean on God for understanding, they lean on us – that is a problem. Our messages, sermons, talks, preaching, whatever word we want to use should inspire people to want to love the Word of God, versus inspire of them to just wait on you to tell them what they mean. Can we teach our people how to fish versus just give them the fish, and then go way out there on a limb and trust the Holy Spirit with them?!