Relationship vs. Reading

Tony Myles has asked a great question on his blog which got the wheels in my head turning. A question that I so appreciate and one that I think all followers of Christ should consider. The question .... Why do you read the Bible?

We are often taught that in order to be a good Christian we must have a "quiet time" or a "devotional time" each day. For many years I beat myself up because I didn't spend time reading the Bible every day. I would try. Often I would fail. Because of my failure I would fall into guilt. I thought I was not meeting God's standard for how I should live my life. I felt I was not measuring up. Does God really measure our spirituality by how much time we spend reading the Bible?

Don't get me wrong. I believe it is crucial for all followers of Christ to spend time reading, studying, and knowing God's Word. He tells us to hide it in our heart. That cannot be done if we are not regularly reading it. We must remember though, that more important than trying to fit in a reading time, is living God's Word, and experiencing the full extent of our relationship with Him.

Living God's Word and enjoying His constant presence in our lives means seeking after Him and enjoying a continual love relationship with Him. For me that sometimes means reading and studying large portions of His Word, other times it means reading one verse from the Bible and stopping there to allow it's truth to fully permeate my thinking and life. On other occasions it means sitting quietly before Him to pray and simply listen to Him. Sometimes it means listening to a beautiful worship song filled with the truths of God's Word and worshiping Him through it, or listening to the Word being read on my iPod as I drive. There are times in which it involves sitting out amidst God's beautiful creation and just taking it all in and being thankful for all He has done and continues to do. For me it takes on many forms. It is far more than trying to carve out a few minutes for God each morning.

I never want to reduce my relationship with Jesus down to a reading plan, or a check list. I want to be daily following after Him, enjoying a vibrant, joy filled relationship through out my day. If it is anything other than that it becomes a duty which is often accompanied by guilt. It is not God's desire that we live a life of duty or performance. That kind of living will only lead to an overwhelming sense of failure. We live in and enjoy His presence because of who He is and what He has done.

May it be our desire to be consumed with God's presence throughout the whole of our day, not merely a segment. May we walk with Him and show Him at all times.

What do you do to experience God's presence in your life and to grow in your relationship with Him?

5 comments:

Doug Jones said...

7what a grace-filled post... it is all about relationship - a living and breathing relationship with the Lord Most High. Great stuff Brian.

I remember those early days in ministry when I walked around feeling so hypocritical and guilt-ridden - having "no time" for a quiet time as a minister. Grace and Truth finally collided in my life and I found the reality of a relationship you describe here so well.

Matt Singley said...

I very loosely follow a Bible reading plan. VERY loosely. As soon as it starts feeling like a check list, I ditch it. When I start in January, I usually end up tossing the list around March.

I spend a lot of time in prayer in solitude. I mean real solitude, not group prayer at church (which is very common in my job, almost every day), and not home in the morning rushing to work. I seek out a very quiet place and make sure that I have a good amount of time set aside. Then I pray and read, pray and read. It's good. It's a relationship.

muzik said...

Brian,

I have spent near an hour searching through my blog for a similar post in which you made a great response about how worship is so much more then just reading. Your so right that we feel guilty because we are not doing it the way man desires us to.

Tony Myles said...

Brian -

Thanks for the link and for your comments. Sounds like we're strangely on the same page with this. Journey on!

darin said...

oh man...but checklists are so much easier....

great stuff - thanks for the reminder - amazing isn't it that we have to be reminded about keeping a relationship?

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