Every Year the Year of the Bible 2021January 7, 2021 Drawing Near
I’m resuming a regular blog schedule this year that will hopefully be a weekly encouragement to press on to the high calling of God in your life. At the top of that pursuit would be a life committed to a regular intake of Scripture.
For some years now, I have offered a message in which I challenge the FBCG family to consider fresh commitments to bring the word of God into their lives. I have called this message, usually preached on the last Sunday of the year, “Every Year the Year of the Bible.” I just can’t think of a greater commitment than an ongoing pursuit of knowing, savoring, applying, and obeying the message of Scripture.
I am writing as one who loves the Bible! It has been a major part of my life since the summer of 1985 when I first began to read it. At that time, I was a halfway through my college studies, and I can remember the burden I felt regarding my sin. I would not have been able to articulate this burden at the time, only that I knew that my life was not right, with God or others.
On a park bench in my hometown, I began to call out to God for the first time in my twenty years of life. I began to read the Bible, which I previously viewed as a book for someone else in a past generation. However, as I began to read the Scripture and the claims of Jesus Christ, I was captivated by this book. Slowly conviction formed, and I began to see that the Bible was not an archaic book, but a treasure given from the living God who cared about every detail of my life. I began to see that the Bible revealed God as sovereign and gracious and wise and holy.
On one particular Wednesday night that summer, I attended a Bible study and the pastor was teaching from Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
That evening my heart was “strangely warmed,” to quote John Wesley’s conversation experience, and I was born again. The summer of 1985 was the beginning of a journey with the Bible that has continued to this day. My experience has fueled my efforts as a pastor to offer strong challenge to the FBCG family in bringing the Scriptures into our daily walk with Christ.
As we look out on a new year, when is the last time you thought seriously about your commitment to the Bible? Let me encourage you to find a Bible reading plan that is a good fit for you and begin your day by reading God’s word. A simple search of “Bible Reading Plans” on your web engine will give you more options than you can imagine. There are digital plans/apps as well for your phone that offer more options. However, the best Bible reading plan is the one you use!
The Bible was written that you and I might know God and his salvation. My appeal is not for the purpose of doing well on ‘Jeopardy’ or some board game that may have Bible questions. My appeal comes because there is an urgency to the Bible’s message. We all have a life to live, a death to die, and a judgment to face according to the Bible. To these ultimate issues, God’s word speaks in clear terms and points us to Jesus Christ of whom it was said that these things “are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
With such incredible promises from God, I believe the Bible is the most neglected resource in the world. Charles Spurgeon once quipped, “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers.” Indeed, we neglect its message to our peril.
Determine today to bring the Bible into your life. Know and believe its message based upon your personal discovery, and you will find that God’s word will bring light for today and bright hope for tomorrow. For truly, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)