If you’ve already begun your daily Bible reading new year’s resolution, you’re off to a great start! Missed a day or two? Don’t fret. Climb back up on the horse, so to speak! Giddy up!
Here’s why I need to feed on His Word day by day–my faith is tepid, my trust near-starvation level unless I hang out with Jesus. Regularly. Frequently and consistently. Meaning what I say. Practicing what I…well, you know.
There’ve been times when seeking God’s guidance gets shoved to the back burner. I’ll figure it out myself. Who needs anyone else? How foolish. Decisions are rarely worth a hill of beans without Jesus’ input.
When I graduated from Princeton Seminary, I had the idea (me, I, and myself!) that I could be a missionary within my old denomination. Not on some foreign field but closer to home, knowing that mainline folk (my old crowd) are not keen on needing to be saved, which really makes them out-of-line…with God. They’re snooty-smug, figuring that God will let them into heaven without anything on their part. Many aren’t sure there is a heaven. So, why bother?
Thought I could lend a hand. What a joke and not a good one at that. Pretty quickly, as a young pastor, I become complacent and spiritually lazy, becoming quite genius (!) at taking shortcuts, turning my Bible reading and personal devotions with Jesus into sermon preparation time. I must have a 2-for-1 coupon. Hey, I’m snowed and swamped, up to my eyeballs in Churchianity! Echoes of what my Grandfather Fischer used to say–‘smart like your father, you dope you!’
Here’s a song that catches me off-guard– ‘He Pilots My Ship’. The words of the chorus are these–‘I won’t sail these stormy seas (any) more, lest Jesus leads the way. I won’t ever drift so far from shore, I can’t hear what He has to say…’ I’m stopped in my tracks. Knocked for a loop. For there were times when I heard only a faint whisper from my Lord. Barely audible. Rarely noted or, even worse, heeded.
But now those words have become my prayer. My commitment. To stay close to His shoreline. Hearing Jesus. Listening for His voice. Following what He says. I’ve been lost, out of range, but now I’m staying close by, anchored but a stone’s throw from shore. At least a bit more of the time.
John 10: 14,16–‘I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.’ Who’s Jesus talking about? This caring shepherd, who leads His own to the very best grazing lands. Even gives up His own life for them. You know.
And what characterizes Jesus’ own? As in you and me? We hear His voice. Listen and respond. Keen to follow Him. Alert to what He says. And that means time in your Bible.
This early in the new year, stay close by Jesus. Don’t give up or get too lax. After all, He’ll never leave you. There’s really no good reason to wander off, too far from shore, out of range of His sweet voice. Is there?
Lord, for being close by me, I thank you. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.