Spiritual disciplines can be hard. That is why we call them disciplines. They can be time consuming and unenjoyable. This is I how viewed them years. For many years I would participate in the disciplines whenever I was motivated by guilt or greed. Guilt because I felt like I needed to be a better Christian. Greed because I thought if I was a better Christian that God would make life easier.
I was missing the point of the disciplines. They are a gift from a God who passionately pursues me. If you are doing the disciplines without deepening your relationship with God, something is wrong. For me, I idolized “easy,” even in my spiritual life. Often, I felt like it was easier to depend on the work of other Christians.
I was like the Israelites in Exodus 20. They saw the Lord’s power and became afraid of Him. The Israelites were so afraid that they wanted Moses to speak to the Lord rather than having their own experience with the Lord. Like them, sometimes I am content learning about God from messengers rather than knowing God personally.
Christ did not die so that I could have a relationship with a messenger. He wants a personal relationship with us. In fact, Hebrews 10:19 says that because of Jesus we can enter the very presence of God with confidence.
The research seems to indicate that too many people are content to know the messenger rather than God, Himself. According to the Barna Research Group, of those who consider themselves to be born again Christians eight out of ten do not read their Bible every day. Reading our Bible is the best way to learn how to deepen our relationship with God and enter into His presence.
Reading the Bible is work, but it is work that is worth it. When you love someone, you would do great things in order to spend time with that person. It is no different when you love God.
So don’t get me wrong. I love listening to sermons and podcasts. I enjoy reading what others have to say about my God. But I cannot allow that to be the only way I interact with God. Learning about God is inferior to learning to love God. Of one the ways to learn to love God is to read His word.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
So stop reading this and pick up your Bible! And then come back, and tell me what you read.