I marvel at God’s providence even in the smallest things.
For years I have not been a consistent bible reader – far from it in truth. But, with the new year bringing resolutions and the CBR guide, I felt I had a reasonable shot at implementing a new rhythm in my life that had been severely lacking.
However, that by itself wouldn’t be enough to start a new practice in my life. I’ve neglected consistent Bible reading for so long that, just like any new year’s resolution, it’s unreasonable to think it would stick.
For me, the real challenge in reading the Bible and praying has always been focusing my mind on God alone. I don’t have a hard time putting aside distractions and finding a solitude of place, but I struggle to quiet my thoughts and find a solitude of mind — and without that solitude of mind, I can’t focus on God. I end up feeling overly self-conscious or thinking that I’m just doing some religious homework.
Prone to wander. Lord I feel it.
It’s in this reality that God has met me. And it’s in a simple, practical way.
The CBR has us read passages from the Old and New Testaments each day. And the simple fact that our New Testament reading has started in Luke has been most of the reason why I’ve slowly developed a Bible reading rhythm. That’s because as a church we’ve been plodding through Luke for over a year, and the simple process of re-reading Luke in the CBR has allowed me to instantly focus on God by recalling the messages from Sunday mornings.
One morning, we were reading in Luke 18, when Jesus talks with the rich young ruler. After the ruler tells Jesus he has obeyed the commandments, Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. This causes the ruler to walk away sad because he was very rich.
In reading this section I remembered DJ just a few weeks ago preaching from this passage, and I recalled the idea, “You cannot serve God and money.”
Rereading this passage with the message in mind allowed me to quickly reach a focused state. It gave me a framework to think and pray through the text. I was able to acknowledge my sinful posture of worshipping my own comfort instead of loving Jesus. In praying, it was made clear to me that I am in fact treasuring my own comfort and not treasuring Jesus.
Now, I know that God can meet me through Scripture all on his own, and that having a sermon to recall when reading the Bible can become a crutch. But God, in his kindness, is meeting me where I’m at now, calling me out of my shame of not reading his Word, and easing me into a necessary rhythm — Now I’m just praying for confidence in that, because we’ve only got a few more days left in Luke.