I am a long time follower of Jesus. My relationship with the Lord began when I was a child, and I learned to study God’s Word as a teenager. I’ve had lots of ups and downs in studying God’s Word through many different periods of my life. I think all Christians do. However, I’ve recently discovered that sometimes long time Christians who’ve read parts of the Bible over and over again can become numb to the words. So, in considering this, I asked myself: “Why is this?” We become numb to it, or feel like we aren’t getting anything out of it, even though the study time began with prayer and we’re reading our Bibles daily. Surely I’m not the only one that feels this way. We are so busy in this day and age. Myself included! Sometimes I think we are so busy that we just can’t slow our minds down enough to ingest what the Lord is wanting to tell us. So, in our rushed minds, we also rush through our study of the Bible and feel nothing. We just have a common routine of being able to check our study off our daily to do list. Does this mean we shouldn’t have this daily routine, especially if we feel we never get anything out of it? Absolutely not! Good habits are sometimes difficult to maintain, so making it a priority to even open the Word is important. But, I think when we feel we aren’t getting anything out of it, we are really just forgetting to open our hearts and minds, and to slow the pace within us.
I know this has been me, more often than I’d like to admit. Often times I have my To-Do List that is always considerably longer than I’m even capable of completing in a day’s time lingering in my mind, and I feel like I have to hurry and get things done, including my time with the Lord. This is the ‘Martha’ in me, and not the ‘Mary’. (See Luke 10:38-42) I’m more worried about what gets accomplished than I am about hearing from the Lord, and growing in His Word. God’s Word tells us in Isaiah 55:10-11, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” So, if God’s Word is true, and I believe it is 100%, then we are meant to receive something from the Lord EACH and EVERY time we open His Word. So, why do so many people NOT feel like they do?
I know this has been me, because when I really, truly, deeply within myself am hungering for growth, the Lord shows me something new; something that’s been there all along, mind you, but I was too rushed to see it and soak it in. I’ve also read the same passages over and over again, reading the words like I read a story, and not really thinking much about what I’m reading. So, I come away ‘knowing’ the story, but not really the message behind the story. One such story that I know I’ve missed messages in, or didn’t understand the complete message was the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. I always thought the whole story was about the son that took his share of his inheritance, squandered it in wild living, and then came to his senses and returned to his father, who was waiting for him with open arms. I also always felt the older brother had reason to be upset! So, I tended to side with him. However, in really studying the passage, I came to realize that passage has a lot to say about the older brother. In fact, nearly half of the story is about the older brother. And, I realized that the older brother really had a heart problem. He felt he’d done no wrong, and didn’t understand why his ‘naughty’ brother was getting all the attention. The Lord showed me that the older brother was in fact wrong. He had a prideful heart! He felt as though he was better than his brother. But, Jesus takes us as we are…..good, bad, and ugly. Another story that I had read multiple times was the story of Mary and Martha (mentioned above). I felt Martha’s pain! I couldn’t understand why the Lord rubuked her when all she wanted was some help. But again, it was a heart problem. Mary had chosen relationships over regular duties. Martha was probably worried about cleaning the house, and preparing a meal. But, Jesus wants our hearts much more than our service. How did I miss these messages for so many years? I believe that it’s a prideful heart that causes us not to hear from the Lord. We think….I’m doing the right thing, I’m spending time in His Word and in prayer. But, deep down we think we’ve heard all of this before, that what we’re reading is boring or doesn’t apply to our exact situation. So we try to go at this life on our own figuring we can take care of whatever we happen to be going through on our own.
Thank You, Lord, for putting up with my pride. Create in me a clean heart and a humble spirit. I want to feel what Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
May we all slow our pace, get rid of our pride, and really desire to grow in His Word, and in better relationship with Him.
we had this very lesson a couple of weeks ago and I understood it more. Scott Mayes was our preacher