It warmed my heart to read this, in an old Puritan book called Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks:
If any should ask me, what is the first, the second, the third part of a Christian? I must answer, Action; as that man that reads that he may know, and that labours to know that he may do, will have two heavens – a heaven of joy, peace and comfort on earth, and a heaven of glory and happiness after death.
The Bible calls for action
I think we can sometimes be so overwhelmed with people saying that we need to rest and be still (which is also a good thing!) that we are scared off from putting in effort in the Christian life. But the Bible calls for it.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Jas 1:22
It is a balance
It is interesting to me that it is John who talks about the importance of abiding in Christ, but it is also John who talks about how we show that we love God by keeping His commandments.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." John 14:21
It is important to be still and spend time with God away from the busyness of life, and we need to pray and depend on God for His strength. But we also have our own role to play in growing as a Christian, and are called to put into action what we read. We are fighting a fight, and running a race!
Reading in order to do
I think the important message to take from all this is to read the Bible in order to know, and to do what it says. So we shouldn’t just read it and think, "That’s a lovely promise", but actually apply it to our lives personally.
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46
For a while now I have kept a journal to go along with my Bible. I try to write down at least one principle, promise and commandment from my reading every day, as well as anything else that strikes me. I then write down at least one application to my life, and try to pray through what I’ve written.
Doing this has transformed my Bible reading into an exciting and practical time, which transfers into my daily life, as I am taking away real challenges. It doesn’t take that long, and it is so exciting that I now really miss having my journal with me if it’s lost somewhere.
If you don’t do something like this already, please try it, and I think you will be encouraged by the results!
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