It's Not a List, It's a Relationship
"Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:21,22
So many times in the beginning of my Christian walk I would decide to read the Bible in its entirety. From beginning to the very long awaited end. (I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it.) If I applied myself and would find the time to sit in my room, alone for the quiet I needed to be able to focus. But let me tell you I had a big problem with focusing my mind and reading comprehension as a child. I would start a journey through something that was bigger than me and soon veer off the path because of confusion, misunderstanding, complications or I'm not gonna lie, just plain boredom. Within the first couple of verses my imagination would take over and the pictures I drew in my mind would carry me through until my focus would change courses, and before long I would forget what I was reading and why.
I cannot tell you how many times I started and stopped the process, never reaching the end of Genesis, not to mention getting near the Revelations. I had good intentions. My heart was in the right place; most times. As a young girl I'm not sure what would drive me to have the 'want to' to tackle such a huge reading project. Except the part of "get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you" part.
I always made a list that went something like this:
"To Be A 'Good' Christian I Must"....
1. Go to church.
2. Don't cuss.
3. Honor my father and mother.
4. Be kind to my sisters.
5. Read my Bible.
I had the first three under control, it was number four and five that would be my biggest challenge, but I was determined. I would find myself in my room, sitting up in the middle of my bed with my Bible open to Genesis chapter one, and many times that is as far as I would get. I thought how in the world could I be the Christian I am supposed to be if I can't get through my instruction manual, not even the first page? How will I know how to be and do and act if I can't pay attention long enough to get through the creation of the world? I disappointed myself on many levels. I would walk away defeated and tired.
But you know what? I realized as I grew that if I listened to my Sunday School teachers and read along, like a good student in class, they would teach me how to read and understand the Bible. If I would pay attention when mama and daddy would lead us in our devotionals after breakfast each morning I would learn and grow and know the things I needed to get me where God wanted me to be. I had several occasions of Bible study classes, camps, retreats, over the years that I was able to learn and grow through His Word... and yeah, it was covering all the points on my list of being a 'good Christian'.
I finally read through the Bible when I was twenty-eight years old (maybe that was the exact time God wanted me to, huh?). It took the Holy Spirit's leading for me to come to that decision. I don't remember what prompted me except that God wanted me to complete this desire to accomplish such an important task I had for myself so many years ago.
Girls, we must follow our convictions. Maybe yours won't take you some twenty odd years to reach, but if it does don't give up. Keep striving! It will be worth it. I hope that reading through the bible will be one of your desires. Let the Lord lead you and teach you through it. And remember..."do what it says" (Jas.1:22b). Through the process I learned that it's not about checking all the boxes off a list it's about a relationship with our Father. It is a very private, emotional, joyful journey for sure!
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, May Your Word be planted so deeply in us that we can't help but to do what it says. I pray that we will soak in Your Words of love and truth and live by them. Thank You for the inspiring, encouraging, marvelous, mysterious prophecies Your Book holds. You are amazing! Amen.