Whenever we move house it’s often a joy for my kids to discover old boxes of toys and drawings they’d forgotten about… memories unearthed…
When we start a new year we are reminded of the ‘old forgotten boxes’ of last year’s resolutions… Does it delight you to resurrect – or repackage – them? Or do they just remind you of dreams left by the wayside?
I don’t really mind if my resolutions are the same each year. Whatever my goals and aims, I would hope that within all of them I’m still growing, maturing and becoming more like Jesus Christ…
One of the resolutions we Christians often come up with to fulfil the aim of godliness is to ‘read the Bible more’.
Like the goal of omitting sugar, carbohydrates and fats from our diets, this one can tend to fizzle out quickly.
We all know reading the Word will help us learn more about God and become closer to Him… yet how often do we acknowledge the enemy which fights against us delving into it?
It should never be about picking it up because we should, as yet another religious exercise which makes us feel like we’re better Christians…
But sometimes it does take effort and strength.
I like the idea that the Word is a weapon of warfare. In the description of the spiritual armour of God in Ephesians 6, we are directed in verse 17 to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The Bible. His inspired words for us.
Is anyone truly surprised that we find picking up the Bible hard sometimes? That Satan isn’t trying his darndest to turn one of the key weapons of warfare – the sword of the spirit – into one of the driest, most religious exercises we can think of?
Where’s the passion for getting to know the story of the one who saved our souls? Where’s the creativity when it comes to applying ourselves to learning and studying Him?
We have turned one of the most potentially joy-filled pursuits into a guilt-ridden religious directive. So often we hear ‘Read your Bible and pray more’ from the pulpit as if it’s a magic formula. But how often is such advice issued alongside a warning of the spiritual battle we’ll face when we try and go deeper with God in this way? Without an explanation of how gratifying, encouraging, peace-producing and character-building it is if we push through the inevitable enemy tactics we’ll first face…
In many countries God’s people are imprisoned and tortured for owning a copy of the Scriptures. Yet the average Westerner owns a Bible in every version imaginable. We have such treasures – invaluable resources. Insights into the heart of the best saviour, lover, companion, brother, friend and Lord we could imagine. And the enemy of our souls is scared of what will happen when we tap into these.
When Jesus and Satan entered a verbal joust following His period of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4), quoting scripture was key to His victory over the evil one in v.8-11:
“…the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
How will you do battle this year? How will you allow yourself to fall in love with the Word, and with the power of prayer? Ask God for creative insights and inspirations suited just to you. I plan to journal more, blog regularly using scripture as my basis, copy words from the Bible by hand – and memorise. And not because I want to be a good, religious Christian girl – but because I want to fight against the one who would seek to tear away my joy and spiritual growth… and instead fall deeper and deeper in love with the One who will ultimately set me free.