I’m what I call a seasonally avid reader. With three small children, I read when time allows and this usually comes in bursts.
- I read during the summer while my children take long naps.
- I take advantage of time changes, especially when the kids are going to bed earlier because the “sun has gone to bed”.
- I read more in seasons that are slow or ironically those seasons that are very busy.
Because my reading opportunities come in spurts, I find that I devour book after book after book. I’m a non-fiction fan so I take notes and find ways to implement what I’ve read immediately. I must drive my husband nuts with all the information and “life change” I experience with each book and, of course, feel the need to share it's contents with him.
That is, until one day, I realized I was feasting on all the wrong words. Not that the words I was reading were inherently wrong. Some were amazing and pointed to truths in God’s word. The problem was I was reading books in place of God’s word.
This wake-up call sent me on a search. The search for the right approach for reading God’s word for me in this season with small children and challenging time restraints.
- I tried picking up my traditional leather bound Bible and felt overwhelmed.
- I tried listening to the Bible through a nifty app. This lasted for a season and then unfortunately became white noise as I did the dishes.
- I tried writing out scripture passages based on a website’s daily prompts but couldn’t keep up.
Nothing seemed to be working.
Then I took a look at my stack of books that had become my main form of consumption. They were 100-200 pages in length. My unique mind decided, “That’s it! I need the Bible in book form. I need to read one book at a time but as an individual book!” I started researching whether or not this was even a thing. Could I find the book of Mark all by itself? I did find a study that did just that. They put each book of the Bible into a literal book. Novel. No flowery study extras. Just the words of truth penned so many years ago in a handy paperback comparable to my beloved non-fiction collection.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been digging into the book of Mark. I’ve been reading it passage by passage and experiencing the power of God’s truth hitting me square between the eyes. It’s piercing my heart and my curiosity in ways that long lay dormant from my teen and early adult years. “It’s about time,” I tell myself.
We gave our eldest a very unique name: TRUTH. Accompanying his middle name is a life verse that I pray he’ll embrace, internalize, and believe always.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Society, at large, would disagree with these powerful words of Christ spoken merely hours before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
Society would say:
- There are many ways to Heaven.
- There are many gods.
- I follow the teachings of Jesus just not Jesus, himself.
- I just don’t believe I need a Savior.
- Christianity is a cult.
- It’s okay for you but not for me.
- I just don’t believe in the afterlife.
My son will face many of these arguments as he ages. As he wrestles with these ideas, he can either own his faith, hang out with the ideas surrounding faith, or completely reject it. Oh, how I pray he and his siblings own it. But as they struggle with owning their faith, the questions will arise.
What will I do when the questions come?
- Mommy, what is Islam?
- Mommy, my friend at school says there are many gods. Is that true?
- Mommy, why should I tell the truth?
- Mom, why should I have integrity?
- Mom, why should I and my girlfriend remain pure?
- Mom, why should I go to church?
- Mom, is Jesus real?
- Mom, my friend is an atheist? How do I talk to her about Jesus?
When these questions and many more like it come, I want to a have a BIBLICAL RESPONSE. I want to teach my children to go to the Bible first. If I’m going to teach my children this, I need to lead by example.
How do I do this?
It happens when I wrestle with the story of the Greek woman begging Jesus to heal her sick daughter. It’s wrestling with Christ’s references to dogs and bread crumbs. (Mark 7:27-30)
It starts when I read Christ’s response to the Pharisees indignation over the disciples’ unclean hands. It happens when I ask myself: Do I act like a Pharisee? Do the things that come out of me defile or honor God? (Mark 7:13-15)
It starts with praying that God would illuminate His word so that what I learn would be TRUTH and not a regurgitation of some sermon, or tradition long passed down through my church history that has no Biblical basis whatsoever.
It comes when I take ownership of my faith, taking great care of the treasure I hold in my hands. This double edged sword I read is not a self-help study but a life-changing, life-giving, truth-telling instrument that brings me closer to my Lord and Savior.
Want to join me? Dig into God’s word. Whether it’s leather bound, app inspired, or one book-of-the-Bible paperback at a time, let’s dig in. Let’s devour His word like the latest book on the New York Times Best Seller List.
We pray that YOUR word would be the guide by which we live out our lives. May the words of the Bible be the metric by which we order our steps. Use it and your Holy Spirt to draw us closer to you and make you known to a generation that is dying to know you. May it start by us authentically knowing you and your Words of Truth.