Let’s pretend that God wants to give you something that when you use it, the following things happen:
- You will feel inside you a real, tangible refreshing of your soul. Your heart was sort of sagging. Then you used this thing God wants to give you, now your heart is dancing.
- It will show you what to do in all those situations when you’re not sure what to do. You’re torn between two options. Should I do this or that? Is one of these choices better than another? If God wanted to give you something to help you in those moments, how many of you would want it?
- It will keep you from doing stupid things that will harm you. And this thing will not only point out the things that could harm you, but it will point out things that if you do them will make you healthier, stronger, happier, smarter, richer than you are now. Would anybody want that thing God wants you to have?
- It will automatically bring you closer to him. It will give you a real sense of his actual presence with you. Why, if you lean in and listen while you’re using this thing, sometimes you swear you’d even be able to hear God speak to you. Would you want that thing?
I’ll bet 90% or more of us would say, “That’d be awesome. I’d love it! What is it?”
Let’s pretend then that I reached into a box and pulled out…(drum roll, please)…a heat lamp. And I said, “Take this heat lamp, plug it in, and sit in front of it for 15 minutes a day, and all those things I mentioned will happen to you.” I bet you 90% of the 90% would buy one off of me, and I could retire a bazillionaire.
Of if I were to pull out a candle and say, “Here’s what it is…a candle! Light this candle and for fifteen minutes each day breathe in its aroma and make an engine sound with your lips”, again, I’d sell a million candles. Or if I were to say, “Here’s what it is. Take this baby powder, and shake it over your body, and let it sit there for 15 minutes a day before washing it off,” people would go nuts to try it.
Well, God has given us something that refreshes our souls, and helps us make good choices, and steers us clear of things that harm us and toward things that help us, and brings us closer to him.
King David wrote about it 3,000 years ago.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes…By them is your servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-8,11).
That’s right…a Bible. And I can just hear the palpable disappointment in 90% of the 90% of the 90%. “Oh. It’s that.” The sinful heart wants the flashy, sizzly, shiny thing. But what God gives to us to drive the roots of our faith deeper, to make us stronger, to make us holier, and happier is this – an open Bible in your lap.
But it’s true what King David says.
God’s Word does ‘revive my soul’. I begin reading in one frame of mind, and I end in a completely different place emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Something happens within me that is very real and very life-giving.
Jesus in fighting down the devil quoted the Old Testament verse that said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deut.8:3). It’s true. Reading the Bible in the right way, with the right heart, nourishes you. Just as you push away from the dinner table after a good meal feeling strengthened, I feel exactly the same way after my quiet time with God. It changes me. Reboots me. Refocuses me. The Holy Spirit within me takes the words that I have read, and thought about, and prayed about, and written down and does something inside of me.
Fears are calmed when I meditate on his word. Temptations are deadened. Sins are exposed, like termites hiding in wood. Hope is shored up. Faith is strengthened. Direction is given. Worship is awakened.
Now if you plop down on the couch for a couple of minutes, randomly pluck out a verse, sit there for 60 seconds with your restless leg going a mile a minute, and your mind thinking about a hundred other things, then say to yourself, “Well that didn’t work. The Bible is so boring. I don’t know what Bear’s on about.” Forget about it then. You never will experience God. Go get the powder and knock yourself out. You have to be still to know that he is God.
But for those who learn this art and skill (and it is something you can learn to do) – then a true experience of God awaits you. Better yet, a relationship awaits you, a deepening friendship with the God who made you, and loves you, and died for you that you might have that relationship.