Imagine a friend who you knew as well as you know yourself. After spending all your time together through the years you got to know everything about them. Their deepest secrets, their highest highs and every rock bottom they ever hit.
A friend who has you on speed dial because of how dependable you are. You know what they want, but better yet you understand what they need. Basically a best friend.
But imagine this. This is the type of friend who will never forget your birthday because they never knew it to begin with. The kind of friend who has never bothered to learn anything about you. Not your middle name, not where you're from, not your disposition, not even your likes or dislikes.
They hang around you, they run to you for help, they open up to you but they never let you put a word in. They just aren't that interested in you as much as they are in the things you represent, constant love and support.
In short, the relationship is terribly uneven. If there's something that just sucks it's non reciprocation. Like, I know love can't be 50/50 but 98/2 is just painful. Some people will never value you as much as you value them, and that's okay, but sometimes there's just people (especially family) who at the end of the day, you just feel exploited by.
Our relationship with God cannot be described with words like reciprocation or exploitation because it is uneven, designed for our total dependency to be on Him. Neither can we ever love God as much as He loves us. He is love itself. It would be like trying to swim faster than a fish. Running faster than a cheater. Not that it should ever stopped us from swimming fast, or loving Him.
Reading the Bible isn't just for the benefit of shaping your world view as I wrote last week. But even more importantly, reading the Bible, is for getting to know the God we love. For ourselves. To build a relationship reinforced by our deep knowledge of Him.
We cannot make it even, but we can love Him with all the capacity we have, little though it may be.
We can love Him with all our mind: (Joshua 1:8) read the Word, keep it on your lips, keep it in your mind, day and night.
With all our heart: (Psalms 119:14) not just to read it, to delight in it. To feel excited and giddy like a first date. It is like reading a letter. Like getting that lengthy caption on your birthday or a long emotional text in the middle of the night. It is heartwarming stuff y'all.
With all our soul: (Matt 4:4) To yearn for it. To be unsettled when you don't read it. Not out of guilt because you've broken routine, but out of your need for it. To realize that the Word of God is life. To tap into the streams of living waters.
With all our strength: to devote ourselves to it. To wake up as early as David or stay up late reading, meditating and go out of our way to Do the word (Matt 7:24,25), even when His teaching is difficult, unsettling and throws us way out of our comfort zone.
So here's a few practical insights on reading the Bible.
Pray to God to open up your heart to His word. To give you a hunger to know Him and a resilience to keep going. Invite Him to be part of it, that you may see Him in every scripture, that His joy will fill your heart when reading instead of it being a painstaking chore. That the Holy Spirit will walk you through each verse and still show you the bigger picture.
Pray before reading and pray all the time too. You could even fast as you pray for this. It isn't easy to stay consistently reading your Bible. You need all the Spiritual help you can get. So pray.
2. Consistency is key, but if you fail one day, don't beat yourself up. Make a plan for the next day. Get right back to it. Don't wallow in guilt, make deliberate changes.
3. To help with consistency, set a time and place. You don't want to make this decision every day, you'll end up never deciding some days. Set a time according to your schedule.
4. Start comfortable, something you're sure to keep up. It is better to have 15 minutes every day and love it other than plan for an hour and fail or feel burdened. The plan is to delight in the word, not labour under it.
If you get to the point of struggling, STOP, remember why you're doing it and make an appropriate plan. I5 minutes per day is about 90 hours in a year. Start comfortable, then make your way up.
Hope you found Part 2 helpful guys. I'm learning so much about the Bible and about reading it. This series is growing me too. It has sent me to research, and I've been truly blessed this past week. I'm sorry I can't really fit everything in these posts. At the end of the series I'll make you guys a list of all the resources I've been tapping into. I hope you're all doing your own digging as well.
Thank you Sharon, Violet, Linda and Irene for your comments last week. Thank you Fin for calling. Thank you Mom, Kevin, Mush, Dvoice, Paul, Enoch, Nelson, Atera, Paula, Eda, Rachel, Aunty Linet, Masai, Malkia and the entire KUSOL CU. Thank you Peter Ishe and Nkem. Cynthia Nyakara, I'm so grateful. Thank you to everyone. I am literally overwhelmed with the response each week. I can't believe you guys are still reading this stuff. Thank you eeeeevvvvrrryone. If I haven't mentioned you, please scold me. I really really love all you guys.
See you next week with Part 3. If you haven't, check out Part 1 from last week.
Be light. Be salt and make Jesus proud!