Pastor's Pondering


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Reading for Growth

by Duane Mabee on February 8, 2018
Do you regularly read the Bible for your own spiritual growth?  Don’t read into that question any sort of finger waving rebuke.  That’s not what this is.  As I think about the people I respect the most spiritually, one thing seems to be consistent.  They all enjoyed reading the Bible and it showed in their lives.  They read it because they wanted to know God better.  As they read the Bible they allowed it to speak to them about their own lives.  They read it prayerfully, stopping to talk with God about anything that stood out to them.  Reading the Bible wasn’t a grim task imposed on them by some outside force or perceived guilt.  It was a chance to communicate with their best Friend. 

One thing that made the early church a great church was that the people in it actively pursued spiritual growth for themselves.  Acts 2:42 says “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers,” (ESV).  It doesn’t say, “the apostles’ forced them to…”  The people eagerly pursued the things they needed to grow spiritually, and they did it with “glad and sincere hearts” v. 46. 
Good relationships are built on open communication and trust.  What is true of human relationships is also true of our relationship with God.  We learn to love and trust God more, the more we openly communicate with Him. 
If you are not actively reading the Bible for your own spiritual growth, I encourage you to take a step in that direction today.  Again, don’t see this as a finger waving rebuke.  Don’t take on Bible reading as a grim ritual you have to force yourself to do every day.  See it as an attempt to get to know your Friend better.  A good friend doesn’t make you feel guilty if you can’t call every day for a specific amount of time.  But, a good friend does want to stay in regular contact. 

To help get started, I suggest you pick a translation you find comfortable to read.  I can make recommendations if you would like.  If you don’t have a good translation, let me know.  I have some I can give you.  Pick a book of the Bible that interests you and you feel you can get something out of.  Don’t start with Leviticus or even Revelation.  Start with one of the gospels or pick Acts and read along with the sermon series.  Read an amount that works for you.  The goal is to get to know God better, not to read through a specific number of pages.  Pray about what you read.  You can pray simple prayers like, “Lord, I think You wrote that for me.  What do you want to say to me through it?”  Or, go as in depth in prayer as you know how. 

I encourage all of us to eagerly pursue spiritual growth for ourselves, starting with devoting ourselves to reading the Bible.