A casual approach to Scripture leads to shallow love
God took pains to preserve this amazing book over thousands of years. When we humble ourselves before it’s pages, that’s when love can deepen. The Bible was written because we are broken, and in need of what it offers. We are beggars approaching wealth, undone and without hope unless He opens our minds and hearts to the mysteries found there. As C.S Lewis penned it, ours is a need-love. If we forget for one minute that it’s any different, then we have lost our advantage in the battle to get into its pages. We can’t afford to casually pick at it like cotton candy. It was made to devour and rigorously apply.
A bold affair with it deepens love
A while ago I was on a train seated by a slight elderly woman who held a Bible in her lap, and whose eyes were closed, lips moving in prayer. She spent the entire commute glancing at the pages, and then praying with eyes shut against the clamor around her. Are you that bold when it comes to reading your Bible? Do you take it with you to school, work, or recreation? Do you treasure this book enough to identify your life with it? Do you camouflage the cover so it looks unassuming, or are you bold in this tryst with God? Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” How about you?
A surrender to it consummates love
The Bible calls itself a living text. (Hebrews 4:12) It’s what sets it apart from any other published literature, and makes it a tool in God’s hand. Mr. Greengrass, an old friend of our family and butcher by trade, taught me to love its pages. One day we studied this verse together. “When I get a side of beef into my shop, do you know the first thing I do,” he asked? “I shock my head and blinked a couple times. “I get my sharpest cleaver and…”whack” I cut it down the bone, open it right up to see what’s inside. That’s the only way I can tell if the meat is diseased or not.” He went on to explain that the word of God is like that, a living book, sharper than any two edged sword…“revealing the deepest motives of the heart.” When the Word has revealed our truest self, and we have repented, then love’s consummation brings the healing, perspective, grace and truth into our lives that can come from no other source.
To obey it shows the world His love
Just as Christ died outside the city, so the writer of Hebrews urges us to “go to Him,” outside the gates and bear His reproach. If we obey what God tells us in the pages of His book, we will follow Him there. It is not an easy read, not a comfortable bedside companion. The Bible calls us out of our comfort to suffer the way He suffered, and to identify with His life, death and resurrection. It places the burden of separation from the world squarely upon our shoulders. We have no lasting city. In this way we share His message with integrity, out of lives radically consumed by love, to a world starving for what He offers.
Mr. Greengrass enrolled in a five-year correspondence course at age 80 because he wanted to understand the Bible more deeply. He graduated from Moody, and to this day, they still talk about him. The last time we were together, I noticed a portrait of him in cap and gown, smiling like a monkey walking the isle, and showing off his degree. He died nine months later, and took his first breath in heaven; I imagine in awe of the presence of God. I wonder if with his second breath he asked where a Bible could be found. I like to think so….