All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17
Most Christians have heard of the term “spiritual discipline” which usually conjures up thoughts of hours alone meditating on Scripture and praying. Growing up, I had a Sunday School teacher who would call my house in the middle of the week to ask how my Bible reading was going. I was around twelve years old and was too busy dancing to Britney Spears to have time to read my Bible.
Thankfully, Caller ID existed and I dodged her calls… only answering every fourth time so she wouldn’t think I was a total heathen. I was shamed into reading my Bible so, I didn’t do it for God or myself but out of fear of what people thought.
Later on, I learned to ask: Who was I reading the Bible for? Was it for those bible study leaders who would “check up” up on me? Was it to better myself? Or was it for God’s acceptance?
It was none of those things.
My Bible reading time was for me to know more of God’s character and allow the knowledge of Him to fill me with worship.
God was changing me through the time I spent getting to know him in his Word. He became my motivation for reading the Bible.
Recently though, I found myself once again muddled in my motivation for reading the Bible. It had become about feeding myself again FOR the benefit of ME. Can I read my Bible just enough so that people will think well of me? My son is just a baby but doesn’t he need to witness that my faith is important to me? Me. Me. Me. How does God Word’s benefit me and people’s perceptions of me?
Graciously, the Spirit entered and shifted my perception and my heart towards God’s view of my time spent in the Bible.
Here’s how it happened: on a recent Wednesday night, a sweet friend asked our community to pray for her time spent in God’s Word. I thought to myself, “This is a classic request. We all need extra encouragement in spending time with the Bible. But, this will probably help her reach a new level of depth in her relationship with God.”
Yet, my friend continued, “How can I be a great friend if I am not reading God’s Word? I am here to serve my friendships by building them up and encouraging them with God’s truth.”
If I am not reading my Bible, I am unequipped to serve my friends.
She was referring to Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (NASB).
I love that this translation uses “word” to describe what should be coming out of our mouths. The Word of God is something we need to invest in so that our mouths can use His Word to speak goodness and encouragement to our people. The Bible is a starting point for filling our souls in preparation to serve others- without it our friendships in His name aren’t grounded in knowing Him first.It’s hard to share the love of God when we don’t know him well.
I am always looking for ways to love my friends, family and neighbors with sweet gifts, celebrations or time spent together. But maybe what I really should be doing is spending time in God’s Word, writing it on my heart so I can speak truth over others to “equip them for every good work.” Then I can show them the best gift I can possibly give them: God’s grace through His truth.
I want to go deeper with God. I want to know Him and be satisfied by Him. Yet, not for my benefit but for the benefit of a community that knows and can live righteous lives for God’s glory.
Questions for Your Community:
What are your motivations for reading the Bible?
What are some rhythms you can create for daily Bible reading and reflection?
How can you make Bible reading/instructing a characteristic of your community?
This week, see how you can encourage, advise, or instruct your friends with Scripture before you jump in with your own thoughts and ideas.