by Pastor Bob Myers
I want to be one of these people, and I chase after it intentionally each day, each morning. Sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding.
What am I chasing after? Knowing and being shaped by Jesus.
People who have a deep spirituality and show an acquaintance with Christ are the greatest treasures on earth. They don’t have prayer lives as much as they have lives of prayer. They don’t just read the Bible, they experience a fresh sense of the love of God on their hearts regularly and they experience and encounter the face of God as they read the scriptures. They are forces of renewal and life wherever they go.
One of the things that helps me pursue this is to spend time in scripture to start each day.
This task has become more accessible through a free, new, app that you is called http://bibleinoneyear.org/ Pastor Nicky Gumbel, known to many for founding the outreach course ALPHA, and his wife Pippa, provide application comments that are fresh and brief and help keep the focus on living a Christ-centered life.
Don’t get tied up by the schedule. When you miss a day, either pick up where you missed, or move forward.
As I immerse myself in the scriptures, I try to pay attention to two fights Jesus had with the Pharisees over scripture. I don’t think I would have chosen to pick those fights. I mean, the Pharisees believed the scriptures devoutly.
Whenever Jesus picked a fight, it’s a fight I will certainly encounter in my own heart. The first fight was to accept the supremacy of the Bible over all human traditions. In Mark 7 Jesus indicted them for making God’s Word void in order to hold fast to their traditions. In reality, they should have done the opposite. They should have rejected their traditions and held fast to God’s Word.
Only through the scriptures can I escape the delusions, conceits, and the walls of enculturation that hold me captive. Scripture helps me detect if I have a sacred cow that is not scripture. Wherever that sacred cow exists it needs to be ground into hamburger. Scripture has to form me so I can escape cultural Christianity.
This is true for individuals and for churches. We must never consider anything but scripture sacred. Not our buildings or our by-laws or the little man-made boxes that we inevitably create over time.
We can’t have cows loitering around Covenant. Cows consume a lot of grass, leave a lot of messes, and generally can’t be kept around without dominating the landscape and requiring a lot of maintenance and attention that should be directed elsewhere. Turn these cows into hamburger and they can be kept in the freezer where they belong… If allowed to roam freely, they will take over.
I have to take seriously the fact that Christ preached against religion and religious traditions much more than he preached against immorality.
Do you have any sacred cows that you need to fire up the grill for? Ask the Lord, “are there any boxes and bonds that you want to free me from today?
Jesus also chooses to fight a second fight with them. He warns them of not elevating the Bible to a place that only God has. This fight is found in John 5. Jesus accuses the Pharisees of searching out the scriptures in an academic, “head-knowledge” kind of way. He rebukes them for missing the point. They wrongly thought the scriptures gave life. They made knowledge of the scriptures the end not the means.
The scriptures do not give life apart from leading us to the Life-Giver. They contain the prescription for what ails us, but the scriptures are not the medicine, Christ alone is. We value the scriptures. They paint for us the very portrait of Christ. But through the Holy Spirit, Christ steps out of the canvas and meets with us. The scriptures only profit us if they lead to a growing, intimate, acquaintance with Christ, a growing personal and experiential knowledge.
The Bible is uniquely designed by God as a testimony to Christ to persuade us to go to Him. The Bible is a means to the highest end. The scriptures are designed to bring us into the arms of God. They are designed to help us hear Him speak to our lives.
Whatever you do, do something intentionally to get yourself alone with Christ to start each day, silencing the other voices, and opening your heart to hear what He has to say to you. I make it a regular prayer after reading the scriptures to ask, “what do you want to stay with me today Lord?” and “Is there anything else you want to talk to me about?”
The friendship (or secret counsel) of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant. – Psalm 25:14 (ESV)