The #1 Key to Growing as a Christian

January 5, 2012

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If I had a dollar for every person who’s New Year’s Resolution was to read the Bible more, or to pray more, or to _____ more, I would be a wealthy man.

This key extends to all the disciplines in the Christian life, but let’s look at through the lens of reading our Bibles.

How many of us desperately want to read our Bible, but no matter what we try, it doesn’t seem to work?

We lack the motivation to read it, so we don’t. The tyranny of the urgent calls us to do other, more important things. As a result, the Word of God becomes a source of guilt in our lives.

Can you relate to those feelings?

If you say yes, you are in the majority and not the minority. What is the secret to developing such a necessary, but difficult habit?

The secret lies in our motives.

Most of us have slightly distorted motives when it comes to these things.

  • Do we read the Bible to be a good Christian?
  • Is it because your pastor says to?
  • Is it out of guilt?

Maybe it isn’t even as bad as these motives. Maybe it is out of an obligation to God. He saved us. Reading our Bibles would be the least we could do to pay Him back.

Or is as simple as having the satisfaction of checking off your daily bible-reading chart?

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All of those motives, while somewhat effective, are not the true secret to success.

The secret to growing as a christian and success in reading your Bible is not because you have to, but because you want to.

Seem too simple?

How many of you know when you have to do something, your immediate human response is not to do it. We hear the words ‘Don’t touch that’ and what do we immediately want to do?

Do you realize there is no formula in the Bible that says, ‘being a good Christian = reading your Bible?’

So why am I saying you don’t HAVE to read it?

Contrary to the way many believers live the Christian life, your Bible is not a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ or ‘rules and regulations.’ While there are countless references to things like this in Scripture, they are not the primary purpose of the Christian life.

The key for the Christian life is a relationship with God.

Just as in a marriage you are not required to communicate, so in the Christian life you are not required to read your Bible.

Is it a good idea? Of course, I highly recommend it. Just as I would recommend communication in a marriage!

My point is if we are reading our Bibles for the wrong reasons, we may still grow, but our relationship will be drudgery and stagnant. What we need to focus on is our love and knowledge of God. One of the best ways to know God is to read His Word.

Our motivations need to change.

This change did not occur the day I had a revelation about my misguided motivations. I had to wake up each morning and make a choice.

I used to read the passages in the reading plan and check them off. Somehow, checking them off made me feel good. It was almost as if I was trying to manipulate God, paying my dues so He would bless me.

When I began to get a hold of this new concept, it revolutionized my life. I no longer felt obligated to read my Bible everyday. If I missed a day, I did not feel like God was waiting to strike me down with a lightning bolt from heaven. I missed it!

Give it a try. I’m convinced your enjoyment and satisfaction will totally change. Instead of feeling guilty for not reading the Bible, you will find yourself looking forward to it.

Reading our Bible does not make us a good Christian, Jesus does.

Since he has already declared us righteous, the amazing gift will make us want to get to know the Giver.

This key of “wanting to” versus “having to” works in all aspects of our walk with God.

Portions of this have been taken from “Death of the Modern SuperHero:How Grace Breaks our Rules” Copyright 2011

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons by Flicker by Alejandro Hernandez.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God