How Can Scripture Be Personal?

I’ve been thrift-shopping for decades. I usually walk out of the store empty-handed. But I enjoy the serendipity of finding some treasure I didn’t know I was looking for, like that three-volume New Testament dictionary set I found at Goodwill or that nearly-new sweater with the tags still on it (Salvation Army). You never know what you’re going to find when you’re thrift-shopping.

Over the year I’ve noticed some patterns in thrift store merchandise. For instance, do you know what is the time of year you’re most likely to find gently-used exercise equipment at a thrift store? February or March, of course. Those expensive pieces of equipment first showed up under the Christmas tree, and they were used diligently for a few weeks into the new year. But after a while, along about the time you realize you realize you’re using your exercise equipment more for a clothes rack than for actual exercise, you admit to yourself that it’s time to cut your losses. That massive machine is taking up space. And even though you spent hundreds of dollars on it, you come to the conclusion that your visions of exercising yourself into prime physical condition were just that: visions. You never really made exercise a part of your habits, your routines. And now that the novelty has worn off, it’s time to clear out the space and hang your clothes somewhere else.

The same thing can happen with our spiritual disciplines, especially with our intentions to read the Bible every day. This is especially the case if reading the Bible seems boring, a chore, a dry and meaningless task that seems impersonal and pointless.

How can I make my Bible reading personal and relevant, so that it isn’t just a box that I check?

David Powlison talks about bringing the “near horizon” into focus so that our Bible reading is personal, not just academic but powerful and personal. The “far horizon” deals with how the Scripture impacted the lives of far-away those people who lived thousands of years ago and far away. The “near horizon” deals with the burdens and needs I have right now. If I am going to see the Scriptures transform my life and not just inform my mind, I must see them in the “near horizon.”

I want to encourage you to set aside the time and the place in  your schedule for you to encounter God in His Word. And let Him speak to your “near horizon,” the needs and burdens you are struggling with now.

Stick with it; commit yourself to listening for God’s voice as you read His Word.

Persevere.

Pastor Paul

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