Today I was reminded why it is important to keep the Word of God fresh and central in my life.
My son received a gift certificate for a free meal at Olive Garden from the library’s summer reading club. We don’t go out to eat much so he had difficulty remembering which restaurant Olive Garden was. He tried to guess a few places we had dined at before, but what came out was absurd.
“Oh, is that the restaraunt where I played that one game? I remember that when I came in, I had to jump over a sewer hole or something and then there was this ball and I had to whack it.”
He’s been allowed to play arcade games while we were waiting for a table a couple of times, so I asked if that’s what he meant.
“No, this was no video game. I really did those things!”
His daddy and I began to suspect this was nothing more than a case of tall tales. We were certain we had never gone to a restaurant where we had to jump over a sewer hole. If we had, we would have promptly turned around, walked out, and called the health inspector. We also would have remembered.
I started to formulate a lecture in my my mind about being truthful and the difference between pretending and lying. But then I recalled that a few years ago we had eaten at a restaurant with an outdoor mini-golf course, and there had been a little flooding near one of the holes.
“Did you walk on paths and hit the ball into holes, son?”
“Yes! And I remember on the last one I had to hit it into a log!”
That sounded like mini-golf all right—but that was so long ago. He was three when we did that—he’s seven now. It is remarkable that he had any recollection at all, but the recollection he did have was pretty warped. Some details he remembered accurately, others had been distorted with time, and others had escaped his memory entirely.
So how exactly is that related to Bible reading?
I have times when I just don’t feel motivated to read the Bible. I have read through it so many times (at least the parts I really enjoy). I basically know what it says. Creation. Sin. Covenant. Love. Justice. Cross. Faith. Grace. Mercy. Power. Application. Wrath. Restoration. Just how often do I need to go over that stuff, anyway?
I know, I know. God’s word is living and active. The Holy Spirit can illuminate truth for me in a new way when I reread even familiar passages. But reading regularly is not magical. I am not guaranteed sudden, profound wisdom. And it’s not as if God takes my spiritual maturity and understanding away if I don’t read for a while.
But I think I do begin to lose my “edge.” Details and concepts get fuzzy or forgotten.
I stop seeing the application of God’s word for each day’s unique experiences. It just isn’t fresh on my mind.
Instead of being reminded on a regular basis of the many aspects of God’s character, I focus on certain ones, forget others, and start approaching life with a pretty skewed view of God. That’s never good for a relationship.
Satan is not afraid to misuse scripture to tempt, confuse, and deceive. I become vulnerable to his influence unless I regularly re-acquaint myself with all the major, recurring themes of the Bible.
We just forget things, or we at least forget their relevance. God knows that about us. I think that’s a large part of what communion is all about. I also think that may be one of the reasons God chose the written word to reveal Himself to us. We can keep coming back to it. It’s a gift, not a duty.
If I don’t take advantage of it, my perspectives on God, life, relationships, and spirituality can become very distorted. I just might end up thinking that I remember God once telling me to jump over a sewer hole and whack a ball or something.