Someone asked me recently about reading the Bible when you feel nothing.
You sit down early in the morning, Bible in hand, coffee at your side. The world is asleep. Maybe, you’re still asleep. You wish you could get another ½ hour. Your eyes… they feel so heavy… You stumble your way through your daily reading. You try to jot down a note or two… pray… get your heart oriented for the day. You finish, and you feel… nothing.
You are still tired. No amazing revelations of glory. No deep sense of God’s abiding presence. No spiritual flashbangs or burning bushes.
Did anything really “happen” during your reading? Did the Bible make any difference? Why should you even continue when it just feels like you’re going through the motions?
Anyone ever feel like that?
Let me suggest a few reasons why we keep reading
IT’S A WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGING MY DEPENDENCE ON GOD
Regardless of what happens, reading God’s word is a statement that I need God; that I cannot survive on bread alone; that I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or clever enough to navigate this world apart from God. In God’s economy, only the weak survive. Listening to God through the Bible and his Spirit are clear ways of saying “I am weak. I need you God.”
GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO SEEK THEM
Hebrews 11:6 says, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” MSG
God responds those who seek him. Not those who feel him, or get warm fuzzies or feel spiritual electricity coursing through their being. When we read the Bible, we am expressing faith that God will meet us as we seek him.
READING SCRIPTURE IS PRIMARILY A PLANTING ACTIVITY
Psalm 1:3 describes the people who read and meditate on God’s word this way: “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Trees grow slowly. If you look at a tree, it doesn’t look like it’s growing. Fruit only appears in a specific season and often not until the tree has reached a certain age. When you plant a seed, you have faith that you will eventually see the results.
Reading God’s word is often like planting seeds. We don’t see the fruit of it immediately, but eventually, we see it. If you ever wonder why some Christians seem so mature, it’s usually because they’ve spent many hours planting the seed of God’s Word in the soil of their heart.
Growth is slow. Fruit is slow developing. But it will happen.
GOD’S WORD PROTECTS ME
Going into the world without the protection of God’s word is like going into battle without any armour. It’s suicidal. The world, the flesh, and the devil are eagerly looking for opportunities to rip us to shreds: to deceive us; destroy us, lure us into traps; to absolutely ruin our life. The Bible says that the devil prowls about like a lion, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, even like an angel at times.
The word of God protects us against the siren calls that beckons us. It shines light into the dark corners so we can see that the stuff which looks so attractive is actually destruction. The Bible is a lamp to our feet, a beacon in dark places, a shield, and a sword.
TAKE UP AND READ
There will be many times when I don’t read the Bible. When sleep or sickness or general laziness prevents me. But I know I can’t allow that to continue for long. My growth depends on it. My safety depends on it. My very life depends on it.