"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4 (NIV)
Until about a year ago, I had no desire to read the Bible on a daily basis. It was too hard to understand on my own. I was raised on the King James version of the Bible and, unless the pastor explained it in church, it was Greek to me. So, I trusted that what the pastor told me in church was what the Bible said. I never bothered to research it on my own to make sure what I was being told was true. I didn't care to find out what God wanted from me and expected from me and commanded me to do. I didn't live on His Word. At all.
It's very easy to turn our backs on God when we're not spending time in the Bible. It's very simple for Satan to convince us that going to church every Sunday and trying to do good things are enough. The Bible's too boring, it's too hard to understand, it's too old fashioned, I don't have the time, my home is too noisy....we can come up with every excuse possible to not study God's Word. And God leaves that decision up to us. He doesn't force us to open our Bible during the week. Sometimes you may even end up at church without it. I know I used to do that a lot. Then I was introduced to the version of the Bible I use today - the New International Version.
I love this version! It's easy for me to understand and to study. I know there are other versions out there that are just as easy to read and understand, but this is the version I feel I've been led to. This is the version I have the desire to study and learn from. This is the version I use to follow up each sermon with my own research and devotions. God has given me the desire to open His Word each and every day. Some days, like today, it's late in the evening, other days it's first thing in the morning, but I study it every single day. Yes, Satan does his best to persuade me that skipping one day won't make a difference. But one day leads to another, then another, then another and pretty soon it's very easy to leave God's Word on the bookshelf or bed stand or coffee table. Then to stray from living according to His commandments. Then to missing church every once in a while. Then to living according to the world's idea of what is good and acceptable. It's like a snowball rolling downhill. However, being in God's Word every day gives me the strength to resist Satan. It gives me the courage to face whatever the day may bring. It gives me comfort and peace when I'm worried or anxious. It guides my thoughts, my actions and my words. It is transforming my life. I feel so much closer to God and Jesus than I ever have before. I'm learning how to let go of anger. I'm learning how to stop judging others. I'm learning what God expects of me in my life. I'm learning to accept and be thankful for both my blessings and my trials. I'm learning how to pray. I know there's so much more God has for me to learn and I wake up excited to find out what that may be.
The Bible is one of the most important tools God had given me to guide my steps and impact my life. Just like any other tool, I get to choose whether to use it or not. I am choosing to use it and build my life upon it. To memorize it and share it with others. I pray that He will fill you with the desire to do the same.
"Sin will keep you from the Bible but the Bible can keep you from sin." - Anonymous
Dear God, I want to thank You for the gift of Your Word. Please continue to fill me with the desire to read it, study it, apply it to my life and share it with others. I want to live according to the principles You've made known to me. May I never stop learning from Your Word and growing closer to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.