As a church, we’re walking through the book of James. We’ve tagged it “The Gospel on the Ground” as James, the author of this little epistle, does a fanatic job of sharing with this young, fragile church, the need for HOW the gospel has transformed their lives. For what you believe about Jesus will impact the way you live for Jesus. That’s the book of James in a nutshell.
In our text from this past Sunday (9.8.2013), we talked about the “implanted word that is able to save your soul” from James 1:21. I proceeded to share four barriers that keep us from reading God’s Word. Here they are:
Often, we simply assume the Bible will influence us without us actually having done any reading, thinking, or contemplating. Passivity fills us with assumptions. We assume that we don’t have a need for the Bible, or that it’s not that interesting, and therefore we “read” without really reading. What I mean by this is that we assume we’ve already heard all there is from the Bible, and therefore do not need to read attentively. When we read like this, we often miss what God is saying in a particular text to you. If you find yourself assuming themes from a text, you may be reading it passively.
Indifference is essentially the lack of desire for the Word. Maybe you’ve read the Bible for some time, but you’re just not that interested in it anymore. Or, other things or books have taken the place of the Bible in your life. You’d rather watch that football game, or listen to talk radio, or catch up on the latest current events, or even read that novel that is not beneficial to your soul. Indifference is deadly because like a newborn that desires for food – so Christians are to desire the Word of God in their life, and indifference communicates to you that the Word is not that necessary. If you find yourself busying yourself with other things other than the business of reading the Word, you may be becoming indifferent.
3. Sin to confess
When we allow sin to lie dormant, it creates a natural barrier in our hearts against Truth. To think that we can constantly sin against the Lord and expect to glean much of anything from the Bible is ironic and a tragedy at best. This, by the way, applies to relationships as well! Confessing sin is what the Lord asks of us, but also allows us to see our need for a Savior. So, if you find yourself feeling a barrier to the things Jesus wants for you, it may be because you have sin you need to confess. And understand that He is always willing to forgive.
When I am not thankful, I tend to be pessimistic in all that I do. When I am thankful, and I read the Word of God, the text seems to come alive! It’s an attitude for us as we approach the Scriptures. If my attitude is “half-empty” then I’ll get less out of the Scriptures, but when my attitude is “half-full” I seem to be much more intone with what Jesus would have me to learn. If you find yourself embittered to the things of God, it may be because you’ve not actually thanked him for Who He is and what He has done.
Admittedly, this list is not exhaustive, but it does help you pinpoint the areas that might reveal why the Bible has become cold to you. Which barrier do you struggle with?