Monday, January 24, 2005
They call it the "terrible twos" because of the new challenges a toddler presents as they hit that two-year mark and they issue their first declarations of independence. But we're not getting many "terrible" reports about our two-year-old granddaughter. If there is any terrible, it's being eclipsed by her "terrific twos." One exciting thing about two is the incredible word explosion that goes on. Our little princess knows so many words now, and she's really a talker - which is certainly a strange mutation in our family. Sometimes, she seems to know not only the words, but even some pretty important meaning behind the words. She's been known to sit down right next to her daddy as he's reading his Bible with her Bible open, as well. And she knows what that book is called. She says "Bible." But more and more now, when she picks up her Bible, she says two words that she knows go together, "Bible ... Jesus."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Person Behind the Words."
Those words are always supposed to go together. Because ultimately our Bible reading isn't supposed to just be about a book. It's about a person. It's about Jesus. Much like when I used to read love letters from my wife-to-be. I read those same words over and over again, not because there was new information, but because I wasn't just with a letter. When I read what she wrote to me, I was with the person who wrote it until I could be "with" with her in person.
That's how it's supposed to be when we pick up God's love letter to us - the Bible. We're not with a book. We're with the person who wrote it to us, and that changes everything. Sometimes we get into the rut of thinking, "Well, it's my Bible reading time again." And frankly, we're not all that excited about it. It's like our Christian duty. And all too many times, the Bible just sits there as we run through all the "real important" other things we have to do.
When you read God's Word, it should be something like the picture God gives us in Luke 10, beginning with verse 39. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Martha has invited Jesus to have dinner with her and her sister, Mary. The Bible says, "Mary ... sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made." Martha pipes up and criticizes Mary for not running around like she is. But Jesus says, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her." Jesus wasn't condoning laziness. He was applauding the priority of loving Him over serving Him - of spending time with Him over doing things for Him. Yes, our love will result in serving and doing things for Him, but it has to be anchored in spending time with Him.
Your Bible reading time needs to be the time each day that you "sit at the Lord's feet, listening to what He says." David called God's Word "the law from your mouth" and he said it was precious to him ( Psalm 119:72). You read the words of the Bible as if Jesus is sitting across from you saying those words to you, because those are His words to you.
So when you go through a day without time in God's Word, it's not the Bible you're leaving there - it's Jesus. The Bible doesn't care if you show up. Jesus does. That's why you need to make your time with Him and His Word, the highest priority of your personal schedule - the sun around which all the other planets of your day must revolve.
Jesus wept over His people one day and He expressed His sadness about the number of times He wanted to have time with them but, in His words, "you were not willing" ( Matthew 23:37). I wonder if He's been saying that about you. It's time to recover your time with Jesus from the margins of your life and put it back in the center. Put Him back in the center. And when you pick up His Book, remember - "Bible ... Jesus."