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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chew Your Food

I don't know why, but I've always assumed that when I read the Bible, I'm supposed to read a lot. Like the more I read, the better. If you are "spiritual", you read a couple chapters a day. If you're really "spiritual" you read more. Billy Graham read 5 psalms a day. THAT must be spiritual. Quantity matters more than quality.

While this may have increased some general Bible knowledge, a mentor pointed out to me that this isn't the best way to grow. It's like eating at a buffet- you eat and eat, and most of it's good, but in the end you don't really enjoy it because you tend to over-do it. He encouraged me to eat slowly- in other words, to read just a small piece of Scripture at a time, and then meditate on it throughout the day.

For this to work for me, I can read no more than 2 or 3 verses. Sometimes I read more until I get to a verse that really speaks to me, but lately I've been reading through Philippians a couple verses at a time. This little letter is so crowded with food for thought that a couple of verses is more than enough to chew on. And something good is happening in this meal. While I still have to fight the nagging doubt that no one truly "spiritual" would only read a couple of sentences at at a time, I find this routine gives me a chance to really reflect.

One quick example. Philippians 2:12 and 13 is good food for almost a week, but one thought in particular has stood out to me. Here, Paul encourages us to, "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear." In the next sentence, he reminds us that, "God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what please him." Isn't that a great thought? I love the idea that even as we give our all to please God by following His word, He is working in us at the same time. What's more, this verse would seem to suggest that by the nature of our working hard to obey, we open up our lives even more to God's work in us. We work. God works. We work out what God is doing in us while God works in us doing His will. This kind of divine partnership provides strength for the journey.

Had I been reading my typical 3 or 4 chapters at a time, I likely would have never paused here. But here I am, still chewing several weeks later.

What are you chewing on? Is it time that you slow down enough to believe that quality out-does quantity, even in spiritual matters?

Today, may you know the kind of God that is working in you- both to give you the power to please him AND the desire to do so.

Enjoy the journey-

(I realize that it's been sometime since my last blog. Let's just say that our family vacation was good and getting ready for the Fall has consumed quite a bit of time- but God is good and the next season of ministry looks great. Thanks to you who read regularly and have checked back about 100 times with nothing new. As always, I'm honored that you read what I have to say...NS)