The last time I asked God what I should read from the Bible, he said, “Nothing.”
I didn’t know God said that. For fifteen years people have been telling me to read my Bible, and its author tells me not to?
He’s always after my heart; he cares about it more than anything else. And the part of my heart that receives his written word is broken.
I’m a busted hinge hanging off a door–until I am anchored in place, the door will never open and close as it was designed.
I am after God’s words; I care about them more than anything else.
I want to know what he says. I want to know his Son, who is his Word. I want to know his Spirit, who forms convictions in me about what he says. I want to know what my Father’s words say about his heart.
I believe Scripture is his life-giving breath. But sometimes it’s just a bible–letters punched onto a page, printed by Zondervan, and packaged in leather binding.
As if the Spirit must first reattach my pulmonary veins to my heart so this vessel can receive resurrection breath.
I haven’t only been told to read my Bible for fifteen years. I’ve also been told to memorize it. Know the addresses of the verses.
I didn’t realize God’s words lived someplace besides his heart.
When he first breathed the words of his story into the ink of men, there were no numbers. No chapters, no sections, no verses. Only the inerrant, cohesive whole of his heart, spelled out for us.
We put in the references later, as expedient bookmarks for a context. Then it became expedient that I know those references, and always be prepared to give an answer (1 Pet. 3:15), and always have an address to back up my spiritual point. In one breath, I studiously spouted my spiritual points and reference proofs.
In so doing, I missed the one breath that could resurrect me.
For those fifteen years, I had a mixture of responses to someone who quoted a reference to me.
First that mental scramble to see if I knew it, too.
Intimidation and guilt, if I didn’t.
A reassuring pat on the back if I did.
And always, always, that nagging whisper of You could do better.
I was hurled into a crippling fifteen-year cycle of religiosity. Part of it was the way Christianity presented the Bible. Part of it was Satan’s thumb.
Most of it was my heart.
I did not trust God loved me, so I didn’t believe I was valuable. Maybe I would be valuable if I knew my Bible.
Maybe people would value what I said if I had a verse to back it up.
Maybe I needed to be more credible in a world of papers with signatures and seals. Maybe then people would know I had achieved.
Maybe if I was confident enough, and had enough key Scriptures memorized (because some are more important than others), then people would know I had arrived.
How tragically comical that, in deriving my value from what I knew about God’s breath, I sacrificed knowing his breath, which is where my value lay all along.
I told him I want to be repaired. This hinge needs some new screws. A little oil. Whatever he sees fit.
I don’t want to be arrogant to think that in hearing his voice I no longer need the written word, this Bible so tainted by the roughness of human hands. There’s a reason he spent thousands of years compiling a story in words that I can read. I want to know every one of them.
But first I must rest in the truth that I am valuable because I am loved.
And I don’t have a solitary verse to back up that belief.
But isn’t that the point? What is the heart of God in the context of our story? A Triune love so full that it overflowed to include me in relationship. A Triune love so persistent that it pursued me to the furthest reaches of my rebellion. A Triune love so defining that my value can hardly be drawn from anything else.
Oh, heart, be at rest.
A paper with a signature and seal is not your credibility. Jesus is your credibility, and because of his Triune love, you are set as a seal upon the Father’s heart.
He can repair this broken hinge with a single word, for it is upon his Word that my value hinges.