3 Reasons To Read Scripture

I woke up this morning, turned on the lights, and started my day with something that I have struggled to put first in my day: time in God’s Word. I felt the cool morning air seeping in from my window, and I enjoyed refreshing time in the Scriptures. I was looking at Psalm 119, and it was a convicting reminder of where God’s Word should be held in my heart and mind. It is easy to quickly turn from prioritizing time with God in His Word, allowing distractions like social media, television, and even good things like being a fiancee and minister keep me from Scripture. read me

Look with me at Psalm 119:1-3.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart – they do no wrong but follow his ways. – Psalm 119:1-3

Blessings. Fullness of joy. Perfect peace. True contentment. These things come to us when we are walking according to God’s Word.

Even though I know this is the case, my sinful desires often keep me from God’s Word. Good things in my life keep me from God’s Word. I’ll go too long without really diving deep into studying God’s Word, and the affects of such decision-making shows itself in each facet of my life. When I begin my day in God’s Word, it changes my whole day. Not because God rains down physical and earthly blessings as a result of my obedience and devotion to His Word. Rather because I enter my day with an eternal perspective, instead of an earthly one.

The Word of God is going to do 3 things for me when I spend time in it.

1. It shows me how to live a life that is pleasing to God. 

As a follower of Christ, I desire to please God with my life. I know that I will not be perfect in my endeavors, but I desire to be the man described in Psalm 119:1-3. A man who walks according to God’s Word, keeping his commands, and seeking Him with all my ways.

Because of Scripture, I don’t have to question or second guess what is or is not pleasing to God. In Scripture, I see what it is that God desires of me. Take this very passage for example. The Lord wants to draw me into maturity, draw me into ever-increasing obedience to His Word. God knows that we won’t be perfect. So even when we see in Matthew 5:48 the call to be perfect as God is, we read that in light of God’s grace. It’s something to pursue, but not something to bash over our own heads. God desires for me to keep his commands.

The Scriptures would be a treasure if this was the only thing they did. But the Scriptures do so much more than this for me.

2. It shows me to be set apart by God amongst the nations (when I follow it), bringing glory to God. 

So, when I follow God’s Word, when I live as He desires me to live, the world begins to see me as a man who is set apart. This was the purpose of the Old Testament law that was given to the people of God. This is one purpose of the entire magnum opus of Scripture as well. When I live as the Bible calls me to live, I will look different from the world. This is a reality. Our Christian witness will become more noticeable as our culture continues to drift away (or run away) from the commands of God. This drift is no need for fear, for it gives us as followers of Christ a greater opportunity to show ourselves as set apart, as men and women who live for something other than ourselves. We can show ourselves to be set apart, not in an elitist sense, but in a way that emphasizes the love and grace of God, thus giving glory to God.

3. It shows me the character of God.

This is probably my favorite aspect of the Bible. It shows me what God is like. It shows me His character. I don’t have to question what is He like. I get to see through Scripture the love, mercy, grace, holiness, justice, judgment, and heart of God. I get to be reminded of His power and presence and provision and protection. It erases my fear, doubt, and anxiousness.

For instance, when I read Genesis and the way that God has created the cosmos, it brings peace to my mind that He is powerful and purposeful and in control. There is no need to doubt His power or His control over the stressful things of my life (like wedding planning).

So God’s Word shows us how to live a life pleasing to God, following God’s Word sets us apart from the world, and God’s Word shows us the character of God.

The reality is, I’m foolish when I don’t search and study the Scriptures each day.

I would encourage you to dive deep into Scripture.

You will experience joy as you follow God’s Word.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

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Drifting

No one drifts closer to God.

I was eight hours into my egregiously long fifteen hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Wichita Falls, Texas when I heard this phrase in a podcast. I had seven more hours to think through its implications, and later that evening I realized that you can illustrate this reality in Scripture. 21208930_1417528678364805_1062599607_n

No one drifts closer to God. On days that we don’t pursue intimacy with Him we are naturally prone to drift further away from His presence, from the spiritual disciplines, and from His call on our lives. It just happens. Sure there are days where I’m not intentionally pursuing communion with Him and still feel close to Him. But 95% of the time, when I am not pursuing the spiritual disciplines, when I’m not pursuing His glory, I am drifting further and further from Him. If this happens for too long a season, it can lead me into sinful thoughts, behaviors, or lifestyles.

We all naturally drift away from God. This happens. This process is shown to us in the first Psalm. Look with me at Psalm 1:1.

How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! – Psalm 1:1

We see here in this verse an illustration of the regression that can happen in regards to sin.

Walking with the wicked – – – standing with sinners – – – sitting in the company of mockers.

Man this can happen so fast in our lives if we’re not careful.

It starts with us walking with God in the path of righteousness that is later described in this Psalm. Next thing you know, you’re not actively or intentionally making sure you’re on the path. This leads to a sometimes even subconscious walking on the path of the wicked. The wickedness of the world is thrown at us every waking moment, and so when we’re not communing regularly with God we can begin to walk out our lives on a path of wickedness that is provided to us by this world. It’s our natural inclination towards sin.

After drifting down this path for a while, we can find ourselves standing with sinners. Now, let me be clear, I do not see this verse as an indictment against having relationships and friendships with those who don’t share our faith. Standing with sinners in relationships is not at all what this verse is talking about, nor is it what I’m talking about. When placed in the illustration rather, it should surprise us that this wicked man is now standing. He is not moving towards God. He is not pursuing the Lord. He has set out on the path of wickedness and now he simply stands. Stands unaffected by sin.

In the seasons of my life that I have been drifting away from the Lord, I would find myself standing with sin lifestyles all around me, yet I wasn’t motivated to do anything about said sin. I had become apathetic towards sins that grieve the very heart of God, sins that my Lord and Savior had died for. This is what my heart is prone to do naturally when I do not pursue God. I subconsciously walk down the path of wickedness and soon find myself apathetic to sin.

I wish that was as far as we often get in our lives. Yet this isn’t the case. We can take it one step further – from apathy to mockery.

We can drift so far from the Lord that we go so far as to mock the very things of God.

This isn’t necessarily happening in our lives in pronounced or explicit ways, but it can happen in our hearts and minds. It can happen when we’re at small group or when we’re singing hymns at church. It can happen when we’re listening to a sermon or talking to a friend. We mock the things of God. I confess that this has happened in my life. I will be hearing a friend share about raising money for a mission trip and internally I’m mocking the idea of missions. I would be listening to a sermon and hear about how God is great and good and internally I would think to myself what is good about Him? I would receive godly and wise counsel from parents or other men and women in my life and immediately shrug it off or disregard it. This was extremely present in my high school days, as I sat in my mockery of God.

Now Psalm 1 is not in my opinion a Psalm about this regression, although I do believe David wrote the regression (walk – stand – sit) on purpose. I do pray and hope that as you read this, you are honest with yourself and with God about where you may find yourself today.

Are you walking with God on the path of righteousness, or are you sitting in sin?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. . . . If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. – Galatians 5:22-23a, 25

This is the fruit that should be present in our lives, that should be ripe in our lives. I am not myself prone to all of these things naturally, so again it takes active listening and walking with the Spirit of God in our lives.

The first Psalm gives us a clue on how we can make sure that we don’t drift away from the Lord.

Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. – Psalm 1:2

The man who is prosperous (not necessarily in an earthly way) is this man. The man who does not drift is this man.

May we be men and women who treasure the Word of God. May we be men and women who delight in the instructions of the Lord and make it a point to meditate on His Word day and night.

No one drifts closer to God.

It takes delightful discipline.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

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