Reading God's Word When You Don't Want To
I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it: I’m not always excited about reading and studying God’s Word.
I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. On my very bad days, Bible study feels burdensome to me, and my heart is motivated more by duty than worshipful joy.
When I hit these periods, there are three things that I require myself to remember. They have helped me and I think they’ll help you too.
1. I remember God’s grace.
One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is Isaiah 55. This chapter gives us visual picture after visual picture of God’s amazing grace, and because it does, it’s not surprising that the crescendo of this chapter is a visual picture of what the Bible is able to do in us and for us.
You will never find joy in Bible study until you understand that reading God’s Word is not first a call to duty, but an invitation to receive a wonderful gift. Your Bible is a gift of God’s grace that is able to do what no other gift can do—change your heart and your life. Scripture really does have to power to turn thorn bushes into cypress trees!
You will never find joy in Bible study until you understand that reading God’s Word is not first a call to duty, but an invitation to receive a wonderful gift.
2. I remember Jesus.
Reading God’s word is much more than reading dusty, abstract theology, becoming familiar with ancient religious stories, or getting principles for daily living. You will never have joy in your Bible study unless you understand that it’s God’s invitation for you to commune with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In John 5, Jesus’s claims are questioned by people who are purported to be experts in Scripture. Christ says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).
Open your Bible and what do you encounter? Not a thing, but a Person, and His name is Jesus. Reading and meditating on your Bible is God’s means of welcoming you into daily fellowship with your Brother, Friend, Savior and King—Jesus.
3. I remember to remember.
I’m so prone to forget God, forget His grace, forget my identity as His child, forget that He supplies all that I need, forget His unstoppable sovereign plan, and forget His eternal kingdom. And when I forget God, I to put myself in His position and make my life all about me; my will, my feeling, my plan, my wants and my needs.
Putting myself in God’s position always leads to spiritual dissatisfaction because the world was not created to do my bidding. So I need to be reminded every day of God’s awesome glory, his gracious presence in my life, and my special identity as his child. His Word was given so that day after day I would remember.
So, tomorrow, when you don’t feel like opening your Bible, remember God’s grace, remember your friend and brother, Jesus, and remember how quickly you forget. Pick God’s Word up not with the burden of guilt or as a call to duty, but because it’s a gift given to you by a God of amazingly tender mercy and grace.
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