First of all, I have to admit that I am not a very disciplined person when it comes to making myself have a “quiet time.” I am easily distracted and before I know it, my allotted time has run out and I have to go get ready for work or teaching lessons or something.
It’s always something.
I’ve been making an effort lately to carve out time in my morning to get into scripture. I’ll get out my ESV Study Bible (which is too enormous to take anywhere, by the way, but I still love it) or I’ll get out my computer and use the online version. I really like using the online version because it lets you highlight passages and add notes in the sidebar and you can log on from anywhere to access your account. There are a lot of really useful features and I think they were really smart with how they configured things.
Ok, commercial over. :)
Let me also say that I understand that the reason we read our Bibles is not to feel better. It is not to walk away feeling encouraged, and it is not help ourselves in any way.
Not that those things can’t happen, but it’s not the primary reason.
I know I should spend time in the Bible because I want to deepen my relationship with God. If He loves me and He wants to know everything about me, why wouldn’t I do the same for Him? Why wouldn’t I want to get to know Him on a deeper level? And how do I do that? I spend time in the Bible.
Which brings me to this morning…
I decided to spend some time in 1 John today. 1 John 1:5-10 :
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
[Is anyone else singing a little DC Talk right now? I wanna be in the light, as You are in the light, I wanna shine like that stars in the heavens… Just me? Okay, never mind. :) ]
I don’t often choose to live in the light. In fact, sometimes I think I enjoy living in the darkness too much. I don’t mean with the big, tangible sins that are easy to spot. I’m not doing drugs or cheating on my husband or contemplating leaving the faith.
But I don’t always think pure, holy thoughts. I don’t pray for those who I feel have wronged me. I don’t always want to forgive people (I blame that on my rule-follower self who gets irritated when other people break the rules with no consequences…but that’s another blog for another day). I don’t want to let things go that I’ve tried to let go of a million times but for some reason I still reach out and grab on to them.
I’m discouraged after reading 1 John today. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m ashamed of myself that I don’t make enough of an effort to pursue living in the light rather than darkness. I’m frustrated with myself that after I work so hard for so long to let go of things that it’s so easy to fall right back into carrying around animosity.
I want to live in the light.
So now, I want to take that discouragement and turn it into determination. I want to pursue holy thoughts. I want to be so focused on God that I have no time to focus on the things of this world. I want to love Jesus so much that the love naturally spills over into my earthly relationships.
At church this past weekend, Todd talked about marriage and how impossible it is for two people to make marriage work without God helping them. He said repeatedly that God’s message for marriages was “You can do this, with My help.”
I’m stealing that tagline for this blog, even if it’s not about marriage. I know I can change my thought patterns to be more focused on God. I know that my heart can be changed to be more like God’s. I know it won’t happen overnight, and I know I can’t do it alone. I can do it with God’s help.
Praise God for His help. Praise Him that His help never runs out.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)