When the Bible is the Last Thing You Want
I have a confession to make. For years as I taught and facilitated at my church’s women’s Bible study, I was a fake…a fraud! I taught, encouraged and exhorted women on the importance of loving and knowing the Word of God. In reality, my own practice of reading the Bible was nearly nonexistent. I rarely picked up my Bible if I didn’t have a Bible study lesson to complete or a teaching time to prepare for. When I did crack open the pages, I often didn’t know where to start and Scripture seemed dry, distant and empty. I would start Bible reading plans but quickly fall behind. I wanted to know and follow Jesus; I knew that the Bible was God’s main source of communication. I truly wanted other women to be hungry and needy for Truth. And yet still my Bible lay unopened.
Guilt, shame, sorrow…I felt like a failure and a fraud, and I was worried that I would be found out for the lame Christian I was. I knew I had a gift for teaching and studying the Word but also was convicted by my unfaithfulness in doing so.
Have you ever been here? Have you ever struggled with a lack of desire or motivation for God’s Word?
By God’s grace, I knew I did not want to stay this way. I truly believed that I needed the Word of God in my life, and I desperately wanted to want it. That’s a pretty good starting place, I figured. So I decided to buckle down and change. I determined to change my habits and be a better person.
Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but it didn’t work. I needed a heart change. The Lord began to slowly show me that I needed to go to him. I needed to ask him to do what I could not. As I began to pray regularly that God would open His Word to me and open me to His Word, I began to experience the heart change I needed.
Psalm 119:7 “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.”
If we know and love Jesus, this should be our desire. We should be growing in knowledge and godliness. But there are times when we simply don’t desire His Word. I suppose this should not catch us by surprise if we know the gospel. We are sinners in need of a Savior. We need God’s grace to even want His Word. What should we do when we find ourselves here?
Ask God to change your heart. He can do what I cannot. Ask that you would desire the Word, that you would love it, crave it, recognize your need for it. Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to read the Word. Pray for dramatic change for yourself. He wants to give you this good gift.
2. Spend Time Meditating on the Character of Jesus
Part of our complacency likely stems from not standing in awe of Him. As we think on who He is and what he’s done, we will want to read what he has to say to us. Colossians 2:6-7 reminds me how these are intimately tied together.
3. Have a Plan
Commit to it. Know that our hearts may not change overnight, but that our faithfulness will be rewarded. We may have to take steps of obedience before our hearts follow. Pick a Bible reading plan and stick with it. ￼ Your Bible plan can be as simple as reading a short section each day or as ambitious as doing an inductive study on a larger portion of Scripture each day, or something in the middle. Different seasons in life call for different approaches. But no matter where we are in life, we need to be meeting with God through His Word intentionally and regularly. When we do, change happens. Celebrate when the Lord speaks to you and you recognize heart change! Psalm 119:30-32 speaks to our need for God's Word.
4. Surround Yourself With Others Who are Regularly Reading the Bible and Who Want to Talk About It
It makes such a huge difference to hear what the Lord is doing in the lives and hearts of others. It is exciting and motivating to hear what others are learning.
The Word of God transforms our lives and our hearts. Let’s not lose heart. Let’s not turn a cold shoulder to the Bible. As we do so we are turning a cold shoulder to the words the Savior has for us today. Instead, let’s run to him. Let’s discipline ourselves to read and study, and let’s wait in eager anticipation for how we will be changed through it! I'll be right alongside you (in spirit at least!), asking each day for Him to teach me and change my heart as I open the pages of His Word.
Psalm 119:97 “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
The Verity Forum is our spring event on May 7th, 2016. Mary will be teaching a workshop titled "Guiding Group Discussions." You can read more about the Verity Forum workshops on the event page. Downloadable media is now available.