“The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions.”
- Don Moen
“When you open your Bible, God opens His mouth.”
- Mark Batterson
As 2021 gives way to a new year, I reflect on how God is inviting me to share my days in 2022 with Him. Three words: ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
Think about the last time you were writing or living at your best and in a hurry. If you’re like me and you’re drawing a blank that’s not surprising. I’m usually at my miserable worst as a writer, a leader, a husband, and a follower of Jesus when I am in a hurry.
Hurry and creativity are like oil and water. More importantly, so are hurry and love. I know that when I am in a hurry I ooze frustration, tension, anxiety – anything but love or creativity.
Hurry sucks the life out of creativity.
John Mark Comer, author of “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” tells the story of a conversation with his therapist. Comer shared the vision of his church which called for people to be apprentices of Jesus. His therapist loved the vision but explained, “The number one problem you will face is time. People are too busy to live emotionally healthy and spiritually rich lives.” (p.21)
In 2021 my days started with reading the Bible. Do you know that reading the Bible is the single most effective practise to grow Christian character and behaviour? The frequency of Bible reading was one of the key indicators and influencers toward spiritual growth. In other words, the more you read your Bible, the more likely you are going to grow in all aspects of spiritual maturity. ALL ASPECTS. Isn’t that incredible?
However, Bible reading is also the most neglected practise of 90% of North American Christians. According to a 2021 Barna survey, 11% of Christians use their Bible like daily bread. Most others see it as cake for special occasions. So, I made it my goal in November and December to help people in our church have the best shot at reading their Bible every day.
Now, before going on, let’s be clear. I don’t read the Bible to check off a box on a to-do-list or to follow the Bible. I read the Bible to follow Jesus. Unlike Islam, Christians are not “people of the Book.” Christians don’t and shouldn’t follow the Bible, otherwise women could not cut their hair, they would have to wear a head covering, men couldn’t trim their beards, and we’d have to greet all believers with a kiss even in a pandemic.
“The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.”
- James Merritt
I read the whole Bible looking for how to better love like Jesus. The YouVersion app is a Godsend for Bible reading. However, passion and availability are not enough to protect against hurry. I found myself skimming – hurrying through the reading more days than not. Especially when reading passages with which I thought I was most familiar. Slow is the operative word when connecting with God. Patience and going slow may feel less productive, but slow is most effective when you want to grow.
The Pace of God
Think about the ways Paul describes the behaviours of love in 1 Corinthians 13. What is his first descriptor? Patience. What behaviour is most challenging for you to practise? I’m guessing patience.
Jesus calls us to love. To love you must eliminate hurry and go s-l-o-w. Parents of little kids know that love is painfully time consuming. For that matter, parents of teens know the demands of patience.
Jame Clear says,"Slowing down enables you to act in a high quality way. Kind rather than curt. Polished rather than sloppy. It's hard to be thoughtful when you're in a rush."
In his book, Three Mile an Hour God, the late Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama described why the Father’s pace is slow. “God walks slowly because he is love. If he is not love he would have gone much faster.“
Walter Adams, the spiritual director for C. S. Lewis, called him to examine his walk with Jesus. “To walk with Jesus is to walk with a slow, unhurried pace. Hurry is the death of prayer and only impedes and spoils our work. It never advances it.”
You can't control COVID-19 in 2022 but you can control your pace and engagement with God. Here's to the ruthless elimination of hurry in all you do.
Happy New Year!
I write to grow hope, inspire people to be real, forge an authentic faith in Jesus, and discover their life purpose.
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