Look to Jesus Pt. 1
These past few months the Lord has really been drawing me into a more profound love and fellowship with him in the Scriptures. For the majority of my life, I have always loved the Bible, I've loved studying it personally and academically, meditating on it, and of course, preaching from it. Yet in some ways (especially in the past few years), there was (but not only) a functional and strictly spiritual discipline aspect to this, which aren't inherently problematic, in fact, I could use much more discipline in this area, but that is beside the point of this post.
A few months ago, my life and my job were tossed into a significant transition, naturally revealing my inadequacies and personal ineptitudes, revealing my increasing need and dependence on Jesus. What a grace. What I noticed about myself in that time, was how quickly I turned to other voices to tell me about Jesus: sermons (Ray Ortlund of course), podcasts, theological books, prophetic words, close friends, mentors, etc. But not necessarily Jesus.
Of course, these things aren't bad things, on the contrary, they are God-given graces! However, we can become content with hearing what God is saying to the people around us, yet never dig in and hear what he wants to say to us at the moment, at the very times and places of our lives that we need him most.
As a pastor, it has been alarming to me how few Christians have a daily time of prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Yet, we live in an age where anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, feelings of emptiness and incompleteness in life and calling are at an all-time high.
My question to myself and to whoever cares to read this, is this, are we turning to God himself, or are we satisfied hearing what others have heard from God, all the while, remaining perpetually unsatisfied?
Your dissatisfaction, your hunger, your longing for more, is entirely God-given and a glorious invitation to receive afresh of the grace of God, and I'm convinced the Bible must become a predominant source of life for your soul.
In Psalm 119 David writes,
"For I find my delight in your commandments, which I love." (vs. 47)
"Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day." (vs. 97)
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (vs. 103)
David, a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), loved, delighted in, and meditated on the word of God. It fed and nourished him. God's word was enjoyable, sweeter than honey. God and his word was not merely something to be turned to in the midst of a storm, as some sort of magical fix-all potion, or temporary emotional boost. He loved God, and thus, loved God's words and ways.
We must return to this. Many of us are spiritually starving, and there is a feast before us that we are neglecting. Eugene Peterson, in his book, "Eat This Book" writes, "Christians feed on Scripture. Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don't simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus' name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son."
The Bible, as Eugene writes, is meant to “enter” into us, it is like food for our souls, penetrating every part of our life, producing the very holiness, love, and wisdom of God in us. It is meant to impact us and change us. We are meant to delight in the words of Scripture, not just simply read them or listen to them; and for those who delight in them, mull over them, read them prayerfully, the promise of God is that they will be like well-rooted trees, with lasting fruit (and good fruit!). Even when our lives feel chaotic, unsafe, and insecure, for those who have allowed the scriptures to nourish and sustain them, they will be spiritually strong and secure (Psalms 1:2-3).
Friends, look to Jesus. Make time for him, meditate on him and his ways daily, and let his word nourish and comfort you. Because, who are we kidding, our other attempts aren't working, are they?
Some great resources and suggestions:
1) Read your Bible, and just start small if you have to. Start with one chapter in the Gospels and one Psalm every day.
2) I have loved using the ACNA Daily Office given to us by Rookie Anglican and Anglican Pastor. Available Here: http://anglicanpastor.com/rookieanglican/dailyofficebooklet
3) Eugene Peterson's "Eat This Book"
4) The Bible Project videos.