This post is part of the Resolved series: a collection of 21 personal resolutions that I’m writing/preaching to myself.
If you’d like a little more information, please visit this introduction to the Resolved series.
Resolved, to consistently study God’s Word; never losing focus on His grand story of redemption; to do this for His glory and for my joy.
What and Why?
Here’s where I explain what I mean and why it matters.
God’s Word (a.k.a. the Bible)
A collection of 66 books written over 1500 years by more than 40 authors on 3 continents, the Bible is a diversive yet remarkably unified library within itself. It was penned by human hands, but inspired directly by God. It’s words are His words.
The Bible may not answer all of our questions, but it never promises that it would. It gives us everything we need in order to know and to pursue God. It’s accurate and, most importantly, it’s true. There’s life in this book.
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
A Story of Redemption
The Bible isn’t some sort of divine rule book. It is not the equivalent of a ‘you must be this tall to ride’ sign at an amusement park. It is not a corporate policy book, nor is it a collection of moral stories designed to teach you all about how to live a better life.
The Bible is the story of God reconciling all things, from eternity past to eternity future, to Himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the hero of the story and the Gospel is the thread that runs through it all.
“‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:25-27 ESV
“And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:20-21 ESV
I’m an intellectual guy. I soak up information like a sponge. I read a lot and would rather study than watch TV. I’m great at winning arguments and can remember enough verses to coldly beat people into submission. That’s what we call self-righteousness.
In case you were wondering, that’s not a good thing.
Scripture doesn’t terminate on itself. It points to a God more wonderful than words could ever describe. It’s all about the story and the glory of God. All of our theological study and nerdy conversations are worthless unless they point to Him.
God is not glorified in begrudging submission. The Bible wasn’t written to be a holy buzz-kill. It’s a gift from the God who is infinitely more wise than we are. It’s purpose is not our unwilling subjugation, but our endless joy.
I want to let the Scriptures weigh on me. I want them to crush me and cause me to repent when I fall short; not because I’m supposed to live a repressed, unhappy life. The point isn’t to rob me of my temporary happiness, but to provide me with everlasting joy.
I’ll leave with this quote from C.S. Lewis’ sermon called “The Weight of Glory.”
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.”
How and When?
Here’s where I look at ways to practically apply this resolution to my life.
- Through regular study and reading tons of books on faith, theology, etc. I get plenty of didactic Bible reading in. That’s great for head knowledge, but terrible for heart knowledge. I need to re-establish my place and time for devotional Bible reading – that time where I simply let Scripture weigh on and change my heart.
- The Bible is all about Jesus. When I study, I need to look for and understand that common thread in all of it.
- Where practical, I need to pay attention to application. I love to think and study in 30,000 foot blue-sky land, but completely neglect to bring things back down to Earth and apply them to my life.
That’s it for resolution #4. If you’d like to keep up with this series, feel free to click one of the links below and subscribe to my RSS feed.