Friday, October 9, 2009

An Acquired Taste

Some time ago I got to go to Sunday school with my niece. Boy what an experience. I am sure it is more common than I know but here were about 60 young people, and me, in this black room with stage lighting and a rock band. Wow. There was a really energetic worship time, thankfully the words were projected on screens in the front, and there was actually one song that I could get into. Then an enthusiastic young fellow got up to deliver the word for the day. He had some really good points to share. Basically he was encouraging us to develop good habits. He used the word HABITS as a memory tool to help us remember the habits that were important. Apparently this was the 6th lesson in the series. I remember “B” was Bible reading, “T” was money (tithing), and “S” was study. I have thought a lot since then about the Bible reading and study parts. Really be honest with yourself. We have heard over and over that we should read and study God’s Word, but we have made many false starts and we determine that we will do it and for a few days or a few weeks (I’m sure some of you have made it a few weeks) we go along fine. Then we forget for a day or two and then a few weeks go by and we remember that we forgot to be reading God’s Word. Then we feel really guilty and promise to make up for lost time and, “I will read 10 chapters a night for the next week.” I don’t even get the first night done. It’s enough to make you begin to doubt a lot of things.

How do I develop faithfulness in this beginning area? This is important! What is my problem? Maybe the second question should be first.

Have you taken a really serious look at yourself and then tried to see who and what God is? There is a pretty big difference there. Maybe I should say an inexpressibly huge difference. In most cases, when I look at how I am, God is the way the other side of opposite. We have gone along for many years deciding for ourselves what is good and what is not. And we have done OK. At least that is how it looks to us. Now this is true for all of us whether we have been a Christian for a week or several decades. The problem is that because of sin all of my own thoughts are based in sin and I need to get my mind fixed. It is my nature that when anyone or anything tries to help me see things in a way that is not in agreement with the way I naturally think, I get bored really fast with that program.

God’s Word is full of God’s thoughts and naturally they are contrary to my natural thoughts. So until I begin to get a new mind (Romans 12:2) God’s Word is going to be contrary to my thoughts, and therefore boring to me. This prompts me to think that this may be some of the reason so many of us want to develop doctrines that have nothing to do with how God wants me to act, speak and think. We, each one of us must develop a taste for the Word of God.

God’s word and the things of God are an acquired taste. But how do I acquire that taste? I can only tell you what has worked for me. First I must see how wretched I am. I must say with Paul “I am chief of all sinners.” This does bring me into intense need. I desperately need help to become of any worth at all. Those who are poor have no trouble asking for help. I must beg God for the help to receive his word. When I humble myself and plead with God, He is very merciful to help those who cry to him for help.

If you read Hebrews 11 you will notice several stories of faithful people who did great things ‘by faith’. I need faith that motivates me to action. Noah worked for over a hundred years building the ark. He had faith that motivated him to action and sustained him in spite of everything he could see. When I see my need and I pray for grace to receive God’s word, then I must act. Only need will move me to action. Once I act, God will help me receive the things that I need. Some may not like the fact that I say I must act before God will move. But I can only say how God has worked with me.

As I have read the word in a spirit of need, hoping that God will help, He has been faithful and his word has become living and I have gotten hope and help.

There are many ideas about how to read when it comes to what sections and how much at a time. I personally have tried a few. Right now I am concentrating on reading the Gospels. I try to read 1 book a week. Often I don’t manage it but I am regularly reading at least 1 or 2 chapters daily. This is usually helpful and if I am in a good spirit (poor in spirit) I get something to work with in my day. Some use one year Bibles, and others use devotional guides. Whatever you do be sure you are reading God’s word and not just some other mans thoughts. Other people’s thoughts are helpful, I hope, but they are not the Word of God. The Spirit of God is active in His Word as nowhere else. I need God’s word desperately, and so do you. And we have very easy access to it so please do not neglect this vital resource of life.

I am your brother learning faithfulness
Rick

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