Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

How To Tell If You Really Love God

photo by Ron Almog
As posted before, my husband, Bill, was a dyed in the wool atheist, but he was a smart one. Quick on his feet and analytically astute, he could run off the best of the tract-waving street evangelists and well-intentioned door-to-door gospel witnesses. At one point someone left a Bible with some other books stacked on his table. Picking it up he decided he was going to disprove this Christian goofiness once and for all, and so he began reading the Bible.

He read it from one end to the other. Then he started all over again. Before he was finished with it the second time, God’s irrefutable truth had pierced his heart. As he explains it, he found himself exclaiming one evening, “My God, You’re real!”

Now Bill is passionate about telling others about the truths that can only be found in God’s Word. Instead of using his quickness and analytical skills to run off well-meaning Christians, he uses those same skills to draw them to a closer relationship with the Lord by encouraging them to read their Bible.

Here’s his argument to counteract the estimated 80% of Christians who never or rarely crack open their Bible.

On Reading The Bible
by Bill Burton

Let me ask you three questions:

1. Do you believe in God?
2. Do you love God?
3. Do you read the Bible?

If one is to answer truthfully, the answer must be the same for all three. In other words, one can answer all three “yes,” or all three “no.” No other combination will quite fit. You cannot answer “yes” to questions one and two, and “no” to question three. It doesn’t hold up when even the most rudimentary examination is applied to it.

As obvious as this is to the spiritually discerned, it stuns many Christians. The numbers tell us very few “Christians” have read the Bible and have no specific plan to read it. They prefer not to face what is really an obvious contradiction, that is, claiming belief but refraining from reading His Word.

There is an important correlation to consider. You cannot love God without believing in Him, and you cannot believe in God without knowledge about Him. The plain truth is, to love someone, especially someone you cannot see, you must know who that someone is. Knowing God is inescapably linked to His Word, the Bible. We do not develop genuine and deeply meaningful relationships with people we do not know. This includes God, if we are going to be honest about it.



I realize someone might claim to “love” someone they don’t know, such as the fan worship of a movie or singing star. This, however, is not the deep and personal relationship we are claiming to have with God. Moreover, even with fan adoration, fans hang onto every written word and visual image they can get their hands on.

How might you be reasonably expected to respond to someone you love, or think you may be in love with? Let’s assume that you do already know this person and have even shared a few special moments with them. While you think you are in love with them, you don’t know this person intimately yet. photo by Jason Roger

What you do know is that you have feelings for them and you want to know this person much better. You envision a lifelong and meaningful relationship.

And then a fifteen page letter from this special person arrives at your doorstep.

What do you do with the letter? Do you toss it casually in a corner or on a bookshelf and ignore it? Would it just lie there month after month? No. That would be a ridiculous and unbelievable response. It might apply to a credit card offer or a piece of mail from someone you could care less about, but it would never be unopened if it came from that special someone. Not someone you love and believe in. Yet some people toss their Bibles in a corner space on the bookshelf only to be moved for dusting. They never open it.

Let’s consider another possible response. How about you receive the letter and open it, but you don’t actually read it. Rather you skim over it a little. You read a paragraph or two, but as a whole decide it is too long or difficult beyond that. It has the personal details about that special someone you love, but reading it is just too arduous. Is this a reasonable response to the letter? Again, the answer is profoundly, no. That as well would be a ridiculous response. Many do carry a Bible to church, but beyond reading a few verses here and there, rarely crack it open.

Let’s consider one final possibility. In this one you receive the letter, but pass it off to the neighbors. They seem to read it quite often and once a week meet and discuss the person who sent the letter. You attend the meetings and note some new details every now and then, but for the most part you remain unaware of the intimate details in the letter given to you. Would this be a reasonable reaction? No. Again, ridiculous if you are “in love”. Yet this is typical behavior of many regular church attendees who never read the Bible or carry one to church.
photo by Endangered Angel
So how would you reasonably respond if your special someone sent a letter to you? The truth is, you would tear the letter open the second you received it and savor every word on every page. And since it is long and full of intimate detail, you would read it over and over again. You would probably boast about it to everyone. That would be a reasonable and believable response. And if we love God and believe in God, it is the same reasonable response we should be anxiously and excitedly giving Him.

Let’s review those three questions again. If you are a follower of Christ and professing to love God, how do you respond to His love letter, the Bible? If it is not with a “yes” answer to all three questions, you may be fooling yourself.

I doubt God is fooled.

The truth is God is not the Lord of your life if you are not following Him daily, or at least sincerely trying to. The correct answer for those who love God is “yes” to all three questions.


Let's get others thinking about this. If you have a blog, could you provide a link to this article?


Related Articles:
Why Should We Read The Bible To Our Children series
7 Ways The Lord Blesses A Family Centered On Him
Defaulting On Our Contract

5 comments:

Diane L. Harris said...

Deb,

Like your husband Bill, I was a committed atheist for years, and even after I came to the conclusion that there must be a God, this was a lukewarm belief based on evidence but with only haphazard study, as I still resisted getting to know Jesus until I was 44 years old. I have written a book called "Stepping into the Light: You're a Christian, what now?" and would like to share a quote from it that pertains to the subject of "faith" without study:

"We must study God’s Word to know His promises before we can assert faith in them. The greater our knowledge of God’s Word, the stronger a foundation we have for our faith.

If I don’t know God’s promises, my faith will be based on misapprehension or fantasy. I will expect things from God that He will never deliver, and then I will find myself disappointed. I may even become bitter against God—all because I did not bother to learn what I should expect from Him.

What if I told you that I used to stop at Burger King some mornings to pick up a hot, convenient breakfast, but one day I wanted my shoes shined too because I had an important meeting first thing at work that day. The Burger King attendant wouldn’t shine my shoes and her manager rejected my request too, so I got angry and never went back to Burger King. Would you think I’m crazy? Should I know better than to try to get my shoes shined at Burger King? Why? Because I’ve read the menu and seen the television ads and never did Burger King promise to shine my shoes.

Well, the King of the Universe, God Almighty, has also provided me with a menu of promises and an advertisement of all He will do and has done for me. It’s called the Bible, and I need to read or listen to the entire collection of books in it in order to know God’s will, His ways, and His commitments to me. Lasting faith requires first learning God’s promises and then believing those promises."

Diane L. Harris
http://www.steppingintothelight.net

John Nunnikhoven said...

Almost 20 years ago, I was in a situation where everyone that I had anything more than a casual relationship with was having a problem with the consequences of alcoholism. My approach, the typical bookworm's approach, was to read everything ever published by AA and so I went through each of them, the Big Book. The Blue Book, The ... Book, time after time after time, looking for the answer. I couldn't find it but I kept running across this curious phrase, "God as you understand him."

One evening, God spoke to me very clearly, "You don't understand me and how can you when you are not reading My word?" I put down the Big Book and picked up the Good Book; I have been reading, reading and rereading it each day every day since and it continues to be fresh and revealing.

Deb Burton said...

Diane, John, thank you for your comments. Your insight based on personal experience adds so much to the discussion. Those of us who came to Christ as adults had to learn for ourselves that reading God's Word is what gives us the knowledge to develop our faith. However, our children have the advantage - or should - of being taught to go to the Bible in everything, learning foundational truths firsthand at the knees of mothers and fathers. We CAN teach our children to love God's Word for themselves so that their faith is based on truth and not supposition or even superstition.

Debbie said...

Deb, I need to come back and read this post...I don't have time right now but it looks very interesting. I just wanted to let you know that you are all linked on Blog Around the World! Check in daily to see where we are headed next!

Alan Melton said...

Do you feel inadequate to teach the bible? Any parent who wants to disciple their children can begin with simply reading the bible to them. God's word will do the teaching. As parents do this daily, the Holy Spirit will give parents something to teach.

Blessings,
Alan Melton
www.DiscipleLikeJesus.com