The Pharisees read the Bible daily and memorized large portions it, but when the Lamb of God stood right in front of them they didn’t recognize Him.
We have a tendency to judge our Christian walk by how much time we spend reading the Bible and feel guilty for not studying it every day.
Down deep we often believe God is upset because we are not reading it more. This is a performance-based legalistic view of Bible reading that leads more to guilt and even resentment instead of love, joy and peace.
The life of Jesus in us is what matters most. We can’t equate “Bible smarts” with spiritual maturity. They’re certainly not the same.
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39–40)
Our goal should be to have a relationship with God, to bring glory to Him by the way we live our lives, and by how we relate to Him and others (Matthew 22:37–39; Mark 12:29–31).
The Bible is Our Map
God’s Word is the map to guide us on our journey and the light to show us the way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
The Free Believers podcast used an analogy of the Bible being a map to Disney World.
If you are planning a trip to Disney Word you can go to Google Maps and print out a map.
You use the map to find your way to Disney. But when you get there you do not sit beside the Dumbo ride reading the map. You ride the rides.
This is exactly what the Christian world looks like today. It’s a day at Disneyland where thousands of people have filled the park. However, all the rides are empty; there are no lines at the restaurants, no one is paying attention to the characters walking around, and the light parade goes unnoticed. Why? Because everyone is sitting around in clusters studying the map and going over how they got there.~Darin Hufford, Christians and the Bible
The Destination is Not the Map
We know how fundamental the Bible is to daily living and to daily learning. How often, however, do we get so tied up in completing a number of pages the main focus gets lost.
My daughter, Rebecca, teaches her five children Bible study every morning. Recently she said the wisest thing I ever heard from any homeschool mother:
“Teaching Bible is a priority in our home, but our children are more influenced by watching Mom respond to the everyday trials of life than the hour spent each morning instructing them on biblical truths. Their thinking, immediate reactions and responses seem to mirror my own more than they do the missionaries or patriarchs of the faith we have read about. The old adage is true, more is caught than taught.” ~Rebecca Keliher, Home Educating Family Magazine
How Do We Change this Mentality?
Jesus says we haven’t a hope of Heaven unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). We can read the Bible every day, attend church every time the doors are open, and it be nothing but hypocrisy and pride.
Our character is determined by our motives, and motive is always a matter of the heart. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. God doesn’t judge us by the amount of time we spend on our knees or in His Word, he judges us by our hearts.
How do we renew our mind? We need to ask God to lead us. We must stay in prayer and have faith that the God who created the universe and wh0 knows the number of hairs on our head will show us what we need to train our children for Him.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God.Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6–8)
We can either be spiritually minded or we can be carnally minded. We can give God permission to work through us, allowing His love to flow through us, daily. Moment by moment we can offer ourselves to God and allow His Holy Spirit to reveal to us what He wants us to do and say.
We can trust Him and rely upon Him no matter what the circumstances are.
Jesus taught that all the commandments in the Bible can be summarized in two precepts: loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:37–40). These should be our goals, not the number of Bible pages we read each day.
What is your motivation for Bible time? What are your goals? Do you feel guilt or shame because you don’t read enough?