“Again the word of the Lord Almighty came to me. This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.””
A number of years ago, while on vacation, I had the opportunity to talk with a hotel pool attendant about my choice of reading material. I was reading a book with the provocative title The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything written by Fred Saunders. The woman saw my book and began to ask questions about it, which opened up a productive discussion regarding the Gospel of our Lord, which I pray will be used of God to bring that woman to faith in Christ. That afternoon’s reading was a time that the Lord used to give me an opportunity to be a witness for Him. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord does this for us? It was also a wonderful time that the Lord used to draw me into a deepening trust in Him. To be away from my usual responsibilities was the catalyst in my being immersed more deeply in the Word of God through which I most often find myself hearing the voice of the Spirit.
It is this subject that I wish to reflect upon today. What I need most is to know the Lord more deeply. So often in my busyness I find myself losing focus upon who He is and what He wants me to discover about Himself. What I so desperately need is to hear His voice as He speaks with me in Scripture and directs me by His Spirit into those open doors of service where the Lord Jesus Christ can be made known to this needy, sinful world. When I read good books that expound the Word of God I find myself being drawn the Lord. When I read God’s Word itself, then I find that I begin to discover God’s Character as the One revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. At the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, John Piper introduces the subject of the reading Pastor with these three quotes.
“Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.”
“A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books which he has merely skimmed, lapping at them.”
“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
- S. Lewis
What Piper points out in his chapter is that Pastors, I will go farther and say all Christians face a constant danger of becoming barren and lifeless on account of their busyness. If we do not feed upon our Lord as we read we will find ourselves drifting away from the Lord. I might add that if our reading does not lead us into a deepening understanding of the Word of God as it is found in the Bible then it will be of little benefit to us. C.S. Lewis counsels us, and I agree with him here, to balance our reading of modern books with those great classics of old in which wisdom from saints who have lived and testified to Christ in the past is added to our modern voices.
The key thing is that we need to hear from the Lord Himself. His desire is to make Himself known to us. We must quiet ourselves down so that we can meet Him in His word. It is only when we have heard Him that we will be able to share with our world a witness that will be truly life changing.