Thursday, March 13, 2008

BeastlyOne

I read once that 100 years ago in American history, if a person were troubled or stressed they would go to a church and find peace. Now when a person is troubled or stressed they will go to a mall and find something new. I am not a big mall shopper myself, but the love of "new" is certainly a part of my make up. This experiment was far more interesting to me when it was just beginning. Now at day 34, it has become familiar, not nearly as intriguing, and I have to work harder to think about it. This raises a question for me: How do I keep this, and any other, experience with God fresh and renewed? I can certainly try new ways of doing things, but they quickly become the old ways.
So I'm thinking about this the other day and I took some time and read the book of 1 Peter. I read the whole thing, replacing all third person pronouns with "I", 'you", "me" and "my", as if Peter had written the letter directly to me. I took time to consider every thing he was telling me, rereading sections when I hadn't "listened" well enough to repeat what was said. At the end of the 5 chapters, I was refreshed, intrigued and challenged. Then the obvious occurred to me. New doesn't come from technique. New comes from something that has life of it's own. God's word is "living and active". Though my prayers draw from God's Word, in truth it is God's Word interpreted and internalized by me. Without His Word fresh in me, it will go stale. That's why David writes, "Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night." Intellectually I get this, but it has not been a practiced truth, just a vaguely believed truth. I probably read scripture every day, being a minister, but I have to give extra effort to really "chew on Scripture". I encounter people who say that their relationship with God is stagnant, that they don't feel close to Him. They will then blame it on their church, the preacher, teachers, etc. Though every church and preacher and teacher can improve, no one is responsible for my relationship with God besides me. With that in mind, I wonder if these people have really given themselves to God's Word. I wonder if I have.
God is clear through James, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you." He gives us a choice. He will not overpower us and force us to have a deeper relationship with Him. Certainly we will feel the affects of not having a relationship with Him(the loneliness, lack of satisfaction, sin problems growing, relationships becoming increasingly strained.), but He will not force us. We must choose to do so and the purest way to connect with Him is through His Word.

3 comments:

~Silver Lining~ said...

I greatly admire you, for when you felt that this experiment wasn't as intriguing and fresh as it was meant to be, instead of leaving it where it was, you dug deeper to refresh it. Being in the active word day & night is something that we should all be doing more. Thanks for leading us by following Him!

Zack said...

Thank you for these thoughts Beastly One! Truly it is one thing to read Scripture, but something else entirely to let Scripture speak to us. Using pronouns "I", "me", and so on is very enlightening. Thank you and the others in this experiment for sharing your thoughts and stories. Thanks and God bless!

*Porcelain Heart* said...

Thanks beastly one. Keeping this experiment genuinely alive and fresh has been something I've also been struggling with. What you've said makes since. I haven't found myself choosing to dive into the word lately, much less chew on it. I definately see the Living Word potentially bringing life back into my life and back into this experiment...if i just choose to let it.