In my last post I talked about spending time in God’s presence and hearing a Word from Him. Maybe you got the impression that I don’t encourage the reading of Scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe that daily time in the Scripture is absolutely essential for a strong spiritual walk. Nothing can replace that.
But in the same light, by redefining the term Word of God in Scripture, many have totally ignored intimate time with the Lord. They seem to think that reading the Bible and then praying for God to meet their needs is enough.
The fact is that we need intimacy with our Lord. Here’s how Jesus explained it to the Pharisees.
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
As important as the reading of the Bible is, it doesn’t replace quality time with the Holy Spirit. We need both to mature in Christ.
Think about it this way. A soldier stationed in Afghanistan loves his wife and regularly writes her letters from the field. He shares his heart with her – what he’s doing and feeling, how much he misses her and things he looks forward to doing with her when he returns.
The wife loves and misses her husband as well. She reads each letter over and over, imagining him speaking directly to her. Now that she has a collection of these letters, she spends time every day reading them. It comforts her.
When the husband’s tour is over, he returns home to the embrace of his wife. This was the hour they’ve both been waiting for. They’re together again.
But there’s a problem. The next day the husband wants to take a walk in a nearby park, hand in hand with his wife. Does she agree to this? No.
She tells him that it’s her habit to take a couple of hours each day to read his letters. She doesn’t want to stop doing this simply to walk outdoors. The husband is confused and sits on the couch, waiting for her to read his letters and to have the time to be with him.
Does this sound far-fetched? In real life it does. Normal people don’t act that way. Or do they?
I hate to say it, but that’s the practice of many believers. We have access to the intimate presence of Christ. Yet we’re content to merely sit and read His letters to us.
We must read the Bible to understand the heartbeat of God. But there’s more to it than that. Don’t just read the love-letters. Spend time with the Lover of our souls. He’s patiently waiting for our quiet time together. It’s at those times that I receive things that are for no one else but me.
Take the time to hear from the Lord.
Question: Why does it seem easier to read Scripture than to spend time with the author?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014