Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Friend...The BIBLE.

Do you remember your first BIBLE?  I sure do.  I won it in a Sunday School contest when I was eight years old.  It was a pocket New Testament.  I still have it. 

I couldn't wait to carry it to church every week.  Eventually, that little New Testament was replaced with a bigger BIBLE.  I remember feeling a sense of pride with being able to find our pastor's text with the rest of the congregation. It took a while to remember which books were in the Old Testament and New Testament. (Sometimes, I still get a brain freeze when looking for "Amos.")

I can still see my pastor holding up his big leather BIBLE in the air - with his name embossed in shiny letter - and preaching up a storm!  He told us that the BIBLE was and is the LIVING WORD of GOD!

  • Question: Do you believe the BIBLE is the LIVING WORD OF GOD?
  • Question: Do you believe the BIBLE has the answers to all of our questions?
Honestly, the BIBLE was a book that I found full of mystery.  I knew it contained God's principles but somehow it wasn't something that I fell in love with until later in life. For a long time, it was more of a source to help me with the problems I was dealing with at the time.  I later came to realize that the community of people I was raised with USED the BIBLE more than they LOVED it. So did I.

I don't think I just speak for myself when I say that we are guilty of handling the BIBLE like an OBJECT, depending on our situation.  We treat it like either a sword or a piece of fine china. But do we treat it as if it's ALIVE?  (Read Hebrews 4:12)

I'm not trying to find fault with how I was raised or the way the people I grew up with treated the BIBLE. I will say this...they DUG DEEP into the Word of God...sometimes just to find supportive Scriptures to reinforce certain standards...but nonetheless they stayed in the Word!

Time has brought a chance in the way I perceive the Word of God.  Time has also brought me in contact with various Christians who all have their own perspective about the BIBLE. Some people approach the BIBLE with fear or intimidation. Others analyze it like a textbook or they read it like a novel. Still others speak of it with great admiration...with or without actually spending time with it. I remember one time watching a person be nearly afraid to even touch their BIBLE for fear that it was going to burn them and they had to tip-toe around it like they were afraid of offending it. :)

No matter how you view the BIBLE...the real question is...DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH IT?  Not a relationship with an object...but a relationship with something that is LIVING!

YES...LIVING!  I believe the BIBLE is ALIVE!

The BIBLE is more than just another book on a shelf. It is alive and desires to be KNOWN! The best way for me to describe it is to say that you have to view the BIBLE as having a PERSONALITY!

Before you stop reading this blog, please understand what I'm saying. I believe the BIBLE desires to be known. It dares us to chase after it, pursue it and immerse ourselves within it! The more you read it, the more of a craving you have to read it more and more!  You find yourself desiring to spend time with it, getting to know it with all of it's mystery!

Sure, we could study it and analyze it but the BIBLE, like a person, is not something that you can analyze and comprehend fully. In the same way that a person isn't their Facebook profile or their resume, the BIBLE isn't merely an object.  When it comes to knowing a living person, it can take years, if not a lifetime, to truly know and understand someone. It takes dedication and loyalty - and even conflict. And even if we're willing, the best of intentions can still push people away from us. 

Every try getting to know someone, but come off as too eager? It can often lead to relationships that are lopsided or off balance.  Getting to know someone's true self takes mutual respect and trust.

Knowing a LIVING BEING is not a science. KNOWING is not merely data-gathering. Truly knowing a living being takes TIME and PURPOSE and RELATIONSHIP. Becoming familiar with the life inside of someone is a complex process! And while the idea of approaching the BIBLE as a living thing might seem like a strange concept, there is something sacred available to us when we give the Scriptures room to be ALIVE!
  • When we encounter beautiful passages, we can LOVE them back—knowing that God is in them and SPEAKING through them.
  • When we wrestle with confusing texts, we can let ourselves feel uncomfortable, yet still TRUSTING.
  • When we encounter hope, we can CELEBRATE alongside our Scriptures.
  • When we read of acts of justice, we can be INSPIRED to IMITATE our BIBLE.
  • When the words pour out like tears, we can sit alongside of them and offer comfort.
  • When we read the red letters, the words of Jesus, we can FEEL gratitude to each page and recognize each letter as a gift from God.
Your Bible is not just a book. It is your friend. 
It is the kind of friend who will be waiting there no matter how much time passes. 
  • Do not use your friend. 
  • Do not manipulate your friend’s words. 
  • Do not label or treat your friend like an object.
  • This friend has seen lifetimes come and go. 
  • It has seen God step into and through reality. 
  • It has seen blood spilt and blood sacrificed for thousands of years.
  • Our friend is wise. 
  • Our friend speaks in whispers through the One who authored it. 
  • Our friend has emotions and layers.
  • Like most living things, it wants deeply to be known. 
When we read God's Word, what is taking place is more than just a one-way "study" from PERSON to OBJECT. Instead, God's Word is indeed living as God moves it to work in our life—and makes us more like Him.