I have been thinking a lot lately on what it means to really have a relationship with God. This question was once again brought to light this week as I was reading through the applications for our Mexico Outreach this summer. One of the questions asks, “Are you currently spending a regular time alone with God in Bible reading and prayer? Please explain.”

As I read the answers given by many of the students I was saddened. Not so much by their answers, but rather by the poor job we as the church have done in communicating what a personal relationship with God looks like. I was saddened because we have in many ways reduced it down to a mere reading program. In doing so I believe we have set people up to fail.

As I read the responses I read things like, no I am not spending a regular time with God because I am too busy, I have too much homework, or I don’t feel like it. I also read, not as much as I would like to, or when I set up a plan I don’t stick to it. I thought to myself, how defeating. What must it be like to say that I don’t have time for God? If I were to guess I would say many people do spend time with God but since we equate it to a reading program that people have a hard time sticking to, they suddenly feel guilty, and defeated.

I am all for Bible reading. I think it is a vital and important part of the Christian life, and something that all believers should do. God’s Word after all, is his message to us. I in fact liken it to a love letter from God to us. We must read it. Are there other ways though to spend time with God? I would say yes.

As much as I try, I don’t read my Bible everyday, though I do spend time enjoying my relationship with God everyday. I enjoy times of quiet reflection, worship through song, fellowship with other believers, serving, prayer, etc.

I love my relationship with God. I am thankful for my relationship with God. I don’t though want to reduce it down to a mere reading program and feel like my relationship is not going anywhere if I fail to crack the cover of my Bible. I have to believe that the followers of Jesus before the time of the Gutenberg press in 1455, were enjoying and developing their relationship with their Lord. I believe we can to.

Continue to read and love God’s word. It is one of the most valuable gifts we have been given, just don’t beat yourself up if you fail to adhere to your reading goals or program. Continue in, and enjoy daily, your love relationship with Jesus.


AJ said...

Good thoughts Brian. Funny thing - Just before I read your blog I posted on a quite similar subject!

Steve said...

Brian I was recently talking with someone about this and they were somewhat uncomfortable with encouraging people, especially young people, to experience God in ways other than Bible reading. Reading and listening to God speaking through His Word is so vital to evaluating the other expressions of the Holy Spirit's desire to experience life (eternal life that has already started) with us. In the same way we reduce our relationship with God to Bible reading, we reduce worship to singing, we reduce church to Sundays, we reduce witnessing to the five spiritual law, we limit discussing God to quoting scripture. Without freaking people out...or maybe that's good...maybe we need to put the mystery and "mystic" nature of a relationship back into our love affair with God...When was the last time I laughed with God? When was the last time I cried with Him over the things that pain Him? Brian, don't be discouraged...keep living your friendship with God out loud in front...rather, along side...your kids. Thanks for the thoughts...great challenge... Adios

Brian Eberly said...

AJ I enjoyed reading your similiar thoughs. Fascinating that God is stirring similar things in our hearts.

Steve, I could not agree more with your comment. It is my prayer that we as the church continue to seek out and appreciate the mystery of God and enjoy/practice a more organic relationship with Him, and cease trying to neatly package Him in our little boxes. Thanks for the encouragment.

KC said...

When I read through our apps...I wanted to cry and felt responsible in some ways...I'm sitting in my office avoiding my nightly "afterglow" talks this next week...thanks for the idea...

Jon Knapp said...

You all are starting to sound post-modern! =) Desiring to avoid modernistic reductionism (which we are prone to). . . It is interesting . . . it is seems Jesus rather than reducing things, made them more vague and difficult to understand through telling stories. And even when he did reduce things "Love God, and your neighbor as your self." He reduced it in a way that opened the door to a whole new journey and set of questions. What does that mean to love God? Can I do that in 30 minutes a day with my bible open?

muzik316 said...

Ya know... this may be my issue. I am trying to reduce God to a reading program. I have always struggled with getting into God's word. I think it's because I view it as a reading program, a chore. I don't see it for what it is, passion, a love for the creator. However, I do agree that there are multiple ways to enjoy our relationship with God & grow in that relationship.

Thank you Brian.

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