When we faithfully read the word, not dabbling about but really reading it all, it will change us. We’ll be changed in the laws, and in the prophets. We’ll be changed in the mercies, and in the judgments. We’ll be changed by the passages that don’t sit right with us at first, and by those that immediately make our hearts glad.Rachel Jankovich
If God has given us this incredible gift, and we stand every day on the edge of its vastness, why do we so often try to talk each other into smaller and smaller portions? Why do we stick to the passages that look good on a mountainy background? Does the size of this canyon make you sick? some ask. Try the verse of the day! That is enough! Meditate on one word, maybe ‘forgiveness,’ or ‘compassion!’ Listen to a praise song! We settle for less because we are afraid of what this canyon’s vastness says about us. It shows us our littleness in making God bigger, our brokenness in making us whole, and our weakness in making us strong.
Our women’s Bible study kicked off yesterday, and I’m excited to be getting back into some regular rhythms of life… a schedule, albeit a busy one. Fall is a time of “kick-off’s” for Bible studies and general ‘let’s start over’ kind of things. It’s an exciting time, a fresh start.
Someone posed an interesting question yesterday at our study, and it was this: “what’s your life verse?” Some of us sat wide-eyed with no real answer, while others quickly rattled off verses they had memorized and told us why. I thought, I don’t really have a specific life verse, but I have scriptures that are meaningful. What I was meditating on last year may not be what God is giving to me this year. Verses don’t have an expiration date, we never forget what we learn, but there’s always more God wants to reveal. We had just read the verse in Hebrews 4:12 that tells us God’s word is “living and powerful”… it’s not static, but fluid, changing and convicting us.
So I have many verses in my life, but maybe not one specific “life verse”. Is that ok? I say it tongue-in-cheek, but we can get fixated on the wrong things. It’s not bad to have a life verse… but don’t get stuck.
I resonate a lot with this article from Desiring God that I quoted above. Rachel says,
“I underestimated the Word of God.”
How true this is for all of us I think at some point. We “dabble” in the Word for comfort and encouragement because the vastness of God and this story really is like a Grand Canyon of sorts that we can’t understand. So we cherry-pick, we create fancy fonts or backgrounds and we stick to what we know. But we sell ourselves short by just sipping and nibbling. God wants us to come and drink the living waters, and feast at His table!
I think one thing we are all guilty of is trying to maintain/contain our little versions of Jesus. We read what is comfortable, and we receive a little of what we are asking for. Time spent in the Bible is never wasted, His truth always brings light. But are we willing to let it actually shape us? Convict us to the point of changing how we live? Are we open to standing at the edge of that canyon where the focus naturally shifts off of ourselves and onto Him? It’s easier said than done if we are only reading little snippets to encourage ourselves.
Psalm 19 tells us that :
- The law of the lord is perfect
- The statutes of the Lord are right
- The commandment of the Lord is pure
- The fear of the Lord is clean
- The judgments of the Lord are true
There’s a whole buffet set before us, and we cheat ourselves out of some glorious things by sticking with just one kind of food. If you have a verse that encourages you, go get more! Grab hold of those life verses and themes and dig deeper. Read the whole Word of God and enjoy living life in that tension between great revelation and great mystery. We aren’t supposed to be thinking of ourselves while contemplating the Grand Canyon. Taking our eyes off of ourselves for a bit would do us all a world of good. In doing so, God makes Himself known on such a personal level and in such beautiful ways, we will want nothing less.
There’s no glass ceiling here, no statute of limitations on receiving words of truth. Pause when He says, take time in the pasture that He brings you to. And don’t be afraid to venture out into new ones when He says it’s time.