Through the inconsistencies of life it’s reassuring to know we serve a God who is the epitome of consistency. We go through seasons when reading the Bible and spending time in prayer comes easy and naturally. These are cherished moments that you can’t wait to spend with God each day. In contrast, there are seasons when spending time with God feels like a chore. Young, passionate, on fire for God believers might be surprised that any follower of Christ would ever go through anything like that. But, the truth is, all believers at some time in their walk with Christ hit ruts, feel lost, or feel vulnerable to the world.
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” ~ John 10:10
I catch myself living life not reading my Bible or spending time in prayer yet I rely on God’s strength to get me through situations and get mad when things aren’t going my way or the storm is just not passing. This semester has been one of those seasons. I’ve been so depended on myself to get through the daily grind and know I need to rely on God, but how? It’s a question I struggle with regularly. How do I rely on God’s strength and not my own? Isn’t He the all-powerful, all-knowing, loving creator? Yes. He is most definitely those things. He’s also begging for intimate relationship with His creation, namely us. He wants us to not just rely on Him when life is flourishing, but more importantily when life is hard and everything feels like its falling apart. One of the best ways I have been able to put this into context is understanding that we find strength and guidance form Christ through reading our Bibles and praying. Being in the Word shows humility and dependence. This is not easy. I’m currently in a season of life that it’s been hard to even open up my Bible daily. And honestly, life has been very bland and blah – In grave contrast to the summer when I devoted time daily to prayer, quiet time, journaling, and reading my Bible. Life was so crazy freaking good. Because God was consciously a part of my daily life. Now that I’m going through a time of struggling with being in the Word consistently my eyes have been opened to how powerful and life giving it is to be disciplined in our walk with Christ. It’s just like any relationship, it takes time and hard work to get to know each other and love each other on a deeper level.
What does it mean to show humility and dependence through reading the Bible?
Not only reading the Word but studying, questioning, and talking about it shows humility to God that you understand and believe that you cannot do this thing called ‘life’ on your own. When we humble ourselves we are saying that it’s not our way or the highway, but believing and having faith in God that there are better things in store when we become less selfish. Humility is realizing you can’t do anything in your own power. We are called to be strong and courageous because the Lord is with us. He wants relationship with us and a major key in relationships in knowing each other. God already knows us, He knows us better than we know ourselves. And yet He yearns for us to continue to want to know him more. How do we get to know him better? Through reading and meditating on Scripture.
“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
By reading the Word we show dependence on God. When we try and take matters into our own hands things get messy. I know I can rely on God for anything, but it all comes back to the relationship thing. The only way for us to really depend on God is to form relationship with him and that comes through reading the Word. His words are Life. No wonder I feel so empty when I’m not disciplined in spending time reading the Bible. I’m not feeding myself Life. As humans we depend on food to live out our physical lives here on earth, in the same way we depend on God for spiritual life through reading the Bible.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Matthew 5-7, also known as The Sermon on the Mount. These are some of the last verses in which Jesus gives some scary truths about what it means to truly be in relationship with Him.
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?” Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it did not collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who build his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” ~ Matthew 7:21-27
Having a foundation in my faith and seeing how faithful God has been in my past makes the stormy seasons of life less terrifying, because I have built my house on a rock. My faith is secure and I have completely surrendered my life to Christ. I know that I won’t collapse under the pressure of the storm but that I’ll come out stronger than I was before.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” ~ Matthew 6:33