As a worship pastor, I think it is incredibly important to lead by example. I want to love reading God’s word more than eating a good steak or drinking a top notch Americano. I don’t just want to know that God’s Word is important, I truly want to enjoy it as I journey through life. Let me share why I feel this way.
- Jesus did NOT say, “Man shall not survive on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
- Jesus did say, “Man shall not live on bread alone..” (see Matthew 4:4).
I firmly believe that when Jesus says this, He intends that we delight in God’s Word as our source of strength and guidance, as well as our source of enjoyment. Jeremiah confirms this when he says, “[Y]our words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart..” (Jeremiah 15:16).
While I do strongly feel that loving God’s Word is greatly important, there are times that I honestly feel that God’s Word is boring, irrelevant, and one of the last sources that I want to go to when making a decision in life -after all, the newest books of the Bible were written about 2000 years ago. Perhaps there are many reasons for why God’s Word feel’s boring or irrelevant, but what it boils down to is this: If God’s Word is dull to me, then the problem is not with God or His inspired Word but with my own perception. In other words, the lens that I view life through can get pretty jacked up. You see, I can try as hard as I want to enjoy reading the Bible, but what I desperately need is not to try harder, but to have the Holy Spirit invade my life and give me a new pair of glasses to see His Word through.
One way this can happen for me is by reading different versions of God’s Word. Doing this can help me from just scanning over passages I’ve read so many times. If you can relate, I urge you to try it! Eugene Peterson, author of “The Message,” tells us about why he decided to translate yet another version of God’s Word.
While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’”
I read this refreshing/convicting passage this morning first out of my English Standard Version (a more literal translation) and then out of The Message which is quoted in the following text.
“I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily” (Galatians 2:19-21, MSG).
May God stir our hearts as we read His exciting Words that apply to every facet of our lives!