I’ve been a Christian since I was seven years old, but I didn’t start reading the Bible until my post-College years. Rev. Malone Gilliam remarked in his sermon today that many people treat the Bible like it was an instruction manual to a car. When we have trouble in our lives and we aren’t running on all cylinders, we take our Bible out of the glove compartment and look for answers to what is causing us anxiety, like unemployment, sex, or money. We consult our Bible concordance and expect to find a list of actions to take to get back on track and we fervently start doing them.
There was a popular book 10 years ago by H. Jackson Brown, “Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life.” Some people treat the Bible as “Life’s Little Instruction Book” hoping that it will cure their problems and make them happy again. Instead we need to read the Bible in a new way: as a historical account of God’s personal relationship with us.
In the Bible we learn how God thinks, feels, and acts in real-life situations. We know that Christ weeps at the death of his friend Lazarus, God sends Nathan to confront David with his sins, and He sends Paul to warn his church at Corinth of false idols. Just like with close friends, the more we know about God and his son Jesus, the better we relate to him and understand how he acts in our lives. When we spend time in the Word, we get to know God so well that we start completing God’s sentences in our everyday lives! We become more Christ-like to honor our friendship and to show God our love and obedience.
The French writer, Antoine de St. Exupery said: “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
I pray that when you read the Bible, you won’t just learn how to “build a ship”; instead you will feel God’s friendship and long for the endless immensity of God’s love.
Blessings, my friend,