Friday, April 11, 2014


Temptations come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.   What sorely tries one person is a piece of cake for another.  In the spirit of "Screwtape Letters," it might be said that Satan has no problem with any one of us reading the Scripture as long as we are reading it for the wrong reasons.  Trust me.  As a preacher of some four decades, I know how easy it is to be tempted to read the Word with the wrong motive.  No only do I know how easy it is to do it, I also know how easy it is to justify it.  Most preachers stay immersed in the Word.  It is impossible to preach or lead Bible groups without spending time working with the Word of God.  The problem is that preachers like me are often tempted to use the Bible work necessary for preaching and teaching as a substitute for reading it for personal spiritual growth.
It is a bad trade to make.  But, it is a not just something with which preachers struggle.  Sometimes we read out of duty.  Christians are supposed to read the Bible every day, so we make sure we get in a few verses before turning out the lights.  Reading the Bible out of duty is not exactly the same thing as reading it in order to hear what God is saying to us in the present moment of our life.  We often forget that when we hold the Bible in our hand, we are holding something which has the power to change our life and even the world around us.  Reading it through such a lens is bound to take us to a different place than the place duty takes us. 

Some say it does not matter about the reason.  Better to read the Word than not read it at all.  After all, some Word may penetrate the heart that surprises us.  There is no argument here about such happening.  But, it is also true our motive in reading the Word will somehow shape the expectations we carry with us to it.  And the expectations we take with us to our time of reading the sacred pages can become like prayers upon our lips which God not only hears, but honors with both revelation and epiphany.

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