Thursday, December 27, 2012
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I'll bet you didn't know that Christianity is like suntan lotion. Huh? Neither did I until I was speaking at a conference, and I took my oldest son with me. He was about 12 or 13 I think. (My poor kids had to listen to their Dad speak so many times.)
Well, we were on our way home on the plane, and all of a sudden on this long trip from the West, my son said to me, "Hey, Dad, you know what? I finally listened to a lot of your talks this time." Let's see, was that good news/bad news. Well, I don't know what he was doing before. But he said, "You know what? I've figured out that Christianity is a lot like suntan lotion." Of course, I immediately said, "Oh yes, I've often thought that." No, I didn't. I said what you would have said, "What?" He said, "You know, if you put a big, old blob of suntan lotion your arm, it doesn't do you any good until you rub it in."
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Rub It In."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Joshua 1:8 where we have God's formula for success. "Do not let this Book of the Law..." Obviously we're talking about the Bible here. We have a lot more of it now than Joshua did, but it's the same book. "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth: meditate on it day and night..." By the way, that word meditate is used in Hebrew to talk about a cow chewing its cud. So, chew it over and over again. Why? "...so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Now, you get what God is saying to Joshua? I think it's His message to you and me today. The purpose of reading is not just to know something. It's to find something to do. When Jesus was talking to the 12 disciples about going out in the Great Commission to disciple people all around the world, He said, "Go and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Don't just tell them what there is to know; teach them to do it.
James 1 again says that the Bible is like a mirror. When you look in a mirror, you're supposed to change something because of what you see there. Right? The one reason there's such a gap between our beliefs and our behavior is because we won't in my son's words, "Rub it in." We have these great big blobs of spiritual truth all over us. We've been hearing it forever. We went to church a couple of times this week, we've got this guy that keep coming at us on the radio, we've got Bible studies, we have our own personal Bible study. The problem is that we tend to go for information rather than transformation; for application of what God says. It's one thing to read the Bible; it's another thing to let the Bible read you.
God's interested in what difference His Word is making in you today, not just whether you can pass a Bible quiz. What did you read today? What are you doing differently because of it? When God says meditate on it, what does that mean? Does that mean you stare into space blankly, kind of an Eastern mysticism thing? Not at all! You think about something you read in the Bible until you have made a connection between what you read and something you're going to face today. That's Christian meditation. It's not focusing on nothing; it's focusing on what God said and then you've meditated when you've connected that there's something you should do with it today. I think you ought to keep a spiritual journal and write down every day, "What did I read today in my own words? What did God say today and what am I going to do differently because God said it?"
If you're in a position where you teach God's Word to people, even if you're just a parent doing that, make sure you always answer the unspoken question I think people are asking, "So what? Okay, it's true. So, what do you want me to do with it?" By all means answer that question for yourself. Look, have you gotten a little lazy as you hear God's Word; as you read God's Word, just sort of accumulating more Bible information? That leads to boredom, it leads to powerlessness, and the illusion of spiritual life.
Those Bible blobs? They're not going to do you much good until you rub them in.