Top of my list of warning signs for those of us in ministry, is that it’s fatally easy for Christian leaders to read the Bible – but to become so preoccupied with the opportunities of ministry that we only read it for others’ benefit, and never just for ourselves.
Now, I know that’s a false choice, because we never read the Bible without it passing through us, and whatever we have for ourselves will come out at some point.
But you know what I mean – and if you’ve been a pastor for a while, you probably identify with the danger. It’s the wrong sort of being a Professional. Ultimately it’s being a Pharisee.
I need to make the time to read the Bible primarily for me.
So that when I have that sweet, intense moment when the Bible becomes luminously clear, or one verse seems to be in bold and everything seems greyed out, that it’s not for the next blog post or talk, or small group study. It’s for me, as a Christ-follower, hearing from my Lord.
1. I’m really benefitting from using a journal bible, which reminds me whenever I use it, that this time, I’m doing business with God for the good of my soul. Pencils at the ready, and linger. Linger until the sweetness oozes from the honeycomb.
2. I’m still using Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s calendar of daily bible readings, which is a habit I began in student days (it’s free, all over the web). The OT once a year, NT and Psalms twice. It stops me being faddy, and forces me onto God’s big agenda every day. I owe more to this spiritual resource than any other.
3. I don’t follow many people on Twitter, but I do follow John Piper. He has a habit of posting one verse, in a way that makes you focus. In a stream of news about others, it’s good to be made to stop and think.
Don’t starve yourself of honey.