There are two types of people: those who see the bible as a book, and those who see the bible as more than just words.
They see God working all the time. When they read their bible, they are not reading the same stories over and over but are intently searching for where God may be guiding them that day. Believing that God tries to communicate to you personally every day, makes being a Christian very exciting.
How do you approach reading your bible?
More Than Just Words
It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (MSG)
The bible is more than just words. When we read the bible, something is supposed to happen inside of us. It’s supposed to change how we think, excite us, and give us a bigger picture of who God is. It connects the dots inside of our lives. The bible is amazing when we let it influence us.
People who are going to change are the people who are able to distinguish the difference between God’s voice and people’s voice.
The Word of God vs Human Words
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV)
The bible describes a struggle that is common to many people and that is wanting to look at the bible from a humanistic point of view (human words) rather than accepting it as the words of God. This leads to us relying more on traditions rather than going by the bible.
What are traditions? They are rules or a set of beliefs that are based on people, not necessarily the bible. Not all traditions are bad, but when they interfere with us obeying the scriptures, they will cause problems for us spiritually.
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
Mark 7:6-8 (NIV)
Convicting words from Jesus. What he is saying is that the thing that blocks us from changing more than anything else is when we are stubbornly refusing to let go of our traditions to obey the bible.
Why do we do this? It can be way easier to live by human rules than by the Word of God. When we live by human rules, it gives us a way to remain distant from God. When rules take precedence over relationships, it takes the heart out of Christianity.We become comfortable with distance and turn everything into a performance. We will rate our closeness to God based on certain bench marks (how often we read the bible or pray, how often we show up to church, how much money we give in contribution) rather than how close and intimate we feel with God.
Can you identify the traditions/rules that you live by over the bible?
Once we identify and realize what these traditions and rules do to our relationship with God, we have to begin to uproot them.
Uprooting The Rules
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there— so that as they go they will fall backward; they will be injured and snared and captured.
Isaiah 28:13 (NIV)
The best way to uprooting rules is to study the bible with friends. Studying the bible is a process of uprooting rules and starting to live by a heart for God. It is not replacing the rules with God’s rules, it is replacing the rules with God’s heart.
When you uproot rules and get God’s heart, you get inspired and you inspire the people around you.
What things has God been communicating with you through the scriptures?
What rules can you work on uprooting today?