3 Reasons You Should NOT Read Your Bible...
Yes, you read that right and no, I didn't lose my religion after leaving my job as a pastor. In fact, if anything it has given me a time to reflect on my personal faith, something I think pastors often neglect when caring for the spiritual lives of others. So before you call the Christian police let me get on with my list.
1. That's what 'good' Christians do. Don't fall for the checkbox faith that we have been fed. Checkboxes are easy and task oriented, they make us feel accomplished, like we are doing what we are supposed to do. Let me tell you, God is so not easy. Following Him is messy and emotional and never the same for any two people. Following Him means listening to the Spirit, using the gifts and passions you have and giving your life to Him to decide what happens. Confining Him to a checkbox takes the uniqueness out of both you and Him and you end up missing all the little intricacies that make Him so amazing.
2. You feel guilty that your Bible is collecting dust. When I was a kid, guilt was as much a parenting tool as iPad's are today. Guilt was used to make us go to church, to eat our veggies (you know "there are starving children in China" which by the way, I am still curious as to how me eating my veggies would make them less starving), to take care of our siblings...whatever needed to be accomplished, guilt was there to lend a helping hand. It worked so well, too bad it made what we did null and void of any real meaning or life change. God doesn't want our pity, He wants our whole hearts. If your Bible is dusty, dust it off.
3. You want to impress your friends with big Bible words. If you take notes in Leviticus, this might be you. This one sounds silly and irrelevant but it may be one of the most relevant ones on the list. There are so many things we do with great intentions but in the end we are looking to glorify ourselves and not our magnificent God. We want people to look to us and say 'ooooohhhhhh that was deep, maybe someday I will be as spiritual as you' instead of pointing them to the creator of the depths of all deepness where ALL answers lie. It's human nature, it's what we fight everyday, that battle between flesh and spirit. But, it's not why you should read your Bible.
So after the reasons why I think you should not read your Bible, let me tell you why I think you should. The creator of the universe loved us so much that He gave us 3 things, His Son, His Spirit and His Word. It is a gift to be matched with the sacrifice of His Son and the constant companion of His Spirit, there must be something good in there! It tells us who He is, what's important to Him, about some people that messed up and He still used for His glory, reminds us over and over why we are here, encourages us to keep at it but most of all its a redemption story. A story of a God who doesn't need to put up with our crap but still does because He loves us unconditionally. A story of a God who sent His son to die so that we could live. A story of a God that has a better end for us than we could think of or deserve. That's a big reason right there but if that's not enough, here is one more. It is the most powerful weapon we could ever hold in our hands. If it were a gun it definitely would not be legal, it is that powerful. In Ephesians 6, it talks about the armor of God that we need to fight the enemy Satan. Verse 11 says "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil". After listing all the equipment you will need for battle, it ends with the sword...the weapon..."which is the word of God." We are created to do things for God in such an amazing way that the devil (lowercase d cuz I hate him and am not giving him the dignity of an uppercase letter) wants to fight us. So do we just stand around and say "oh golly, I'm under attack, guess I will wait it out"? NO! We get out our sword and we fight. We use God's word against the devil by speaking against him, keeping our minds right (he loves to mess with our minds), we use it to remember what our fight is even about...we use it as a weapon to fight the most awful being that ever existed.
Friends, again I encourage you to put down your Bibles if you think you are doing God a favor by reading it. But most of all, I encourage you to get down on your knees and pray that God takes your life and makes it His own. I encourage you to let go of checkboxes and guilt and self glorification. And then, once you've done that, pick it back up, thank God for the gift and treat it like the powerful weapon wrapped up in a redemption story that it is.