I saw this post on Facebook from a former pastor of mine. I thought that this was a good illustration as to our relationship with Scripture.
“As I check under the hood of my car, one of the things I check is the battery to be sure both cables are clean and secure–one is positive and one is negative; if either one gets loose or disconnected, the car will not start. The Bible, a true relationship with God has both a positive and negative aspect, without good connections to both, we are going nowhere. Positive: “Do all to the glory of God.” Negative: “Avoid the very appearance of evil.” Likewise the railroad has two tracks–try to run on one and you have a great train wreck! We must maintain a proper balance.”
About this time of year most people have fallen out of keeping their “New Year’s Resolutions”. Number one on the list of common resolutions that people try to keep is… to lose weight. Sadly, many businesses know this and you probably have noticed that they spend most of their advertising money during the end of the year and run through the beginning of the year. Can you guess what is the number one resolution that most people give up on before February 1st? That’s right… to lose weight. (see note at bottom)
Can you guess what the number two most common resolution that people try to keep is? Yep… to read the Bible more. Sadly the second most common resolution people give up on is… read the Bible more. The difference here is that you hardly see any advertisements on Bible sales or reading plans. Why is that? (Yes this is a rhetorical question)
I believe it was Dr. Phil that has said that it takes an action to be performed 21 times (on average) to form a habit. This means that if a person makes a commitment to lose weight, he would have to eat right and exercise for 21 days in order for the habit to form. The problem is what type of people usually make this kind of resolution? Right again… out of shape people. Why do you suppose that most do not make it to the 21 days? Right again… because it hurts, it’s too hard, or inconvenient. Don’t worry most who do not succeed will just wait until the next new year to make the resolution again.
But think about this. Doesn’t the same happen to those who try to keep the resolution of reading the bible more? How many times did we read through Genesis and thought “Hey I can do this”. It was probably when we got to somewhere around Leviticus before we started thinking that it was irrelevant or boring? Didn’t make it the 21 days huh? Why do most people give up on reading the bible and keeping their resolution? (Again, rhetorical)
I think that the biggest difference is that Dr. Phil isn’t taking in consideration that those who are successful in keeping a regular Bible reading schedule don’t make resolutions to read the Bible more. It’s not out of habit, it’s out of a relationship. Should we read the Scriptures to get a check mark so that we can brag? Or, do we read the Scriptures because we want to know more about the creator of … well everything?
*Note- The actual number one resolution is anything health related. (Quit smoking, take better care of oneself, eat better, lose weight, etc.) The actual number two resolution includes the category of self-improvement. (budget, get out of debt, learn new language, read Bible, etc.)