"Read the Bible. I'm serious. Enough with the excuses, enough with the clichés. I know you're busy; I know its hard; I know it seems boring; I know you don't believe it all (since when do you read only what you believe); I know you have a headache; I know you need to know who won the game; I know you want to know how MSNBC is going to interpret Hillary and Barack's antics; I know you feel like working out; I know watching American Idol is easier; I know that you don't have TiVo yet; I know that dinner doesn't make itself; I know that you have a reservation; I know that you're late for an appointment; I know you're tired and would probably fall asleep anyway; I know you have to get to work; I know you don't know where to start. But I know you want to; I know you're curious; I know you crave it; I know you can't get through your day without it. I know. Just read it."
If this is a battle for you, I encourage you to check out the recent sermon series by Andy Stanley, entitled Text. You can listen online for free - 3 sermons entitled 'Ding', '2G2BT', and 'RYB'. It's real practical and real helpful. You won't regret it. A highlight for me was the four things that happen to Andy Stanley when he doesn't spend time in the Word.
- He magnifies the weaknesses of others, and overlooks his own - no personal responsibility
- He evaluates the world as if this is all there is - no eternal perspective
- He closes his hands on his possessions - no selflessness, no trust
- He holds on to anger - no forgiveness
Just to let you know where I'm at, I decided at the beginning of the year to read through the Bible cover to cover. I know this isn't the best plan, because, among other reasons, Leviticus is brutal. But I'm trying to read it through the lens of God's sovereignty. Asking, what does it mean that God is sovereign in creation? In sin? In suffering? In redemption? What is the narrative of the Bible saying about what God is doing today? Who are false teachers? What does it mean that God's Word is living and active? What does it mean that I should be perfect, as my Heavenly Father is perfect? What does it mean that unless I repent, I will likewise perish? What does it mean that the sufferings of the present time are not worth being compared to the glory that will be revealed in us? What does it mean that the creation was subjected to futility, in hope? What does it mean that God is working together all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose? What does it mean that He is able to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy? What does it mean that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ?
Well, I'm in Exodus, and God is not disappointing me in the journey. I'm behind the pace, and I haven't even gotten to the aforementioned book of Leviticus, but it's worth it. I don't know where I'd be without it. Maybe in a gutter somewhere. Or maybe stuck in the fantasy world of American middle-class prosperity and consumerism with no hope. Same difference, I guess.