This is the third entry in a series of posts by Brian Hardin, author and founder of Daily Audio Bible. In his previous essay, Why Don’t We Read the Bible?, Brian looked at common reasons we don’t spend more time with Scripture. Here’s his latest essay, drawn from Brian’s book Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You.
So what’s supposed to happen if we read the Bible every day? What can we really expect?
I can say with all honesty that everything will change—but it may not be the way that you’d think. Change will happen from the inside out, not the outside in. If you’re looking for a genie in a bottle, you will be disappointed. The Bible isn’t a magic book of ancient wisdom; it’s a book about life and about God’s love for you.
In John 15 Jesus uses the metaphor that he is the vine and we are the branches. He breaks it down in simple terms by telling us that life is not going to work apart from him. If we remain in him, he will remain in us, and that connection will bring life. There is no possibility of true life outside of this connection, for without him we can do nothing.
A branch gets its nourishment from the vine or trunk. Our spiritual nourishment comes from Scripture, which provides the context for a dynamic relationship with God. This isn’t just religious jargon thrown in for encouragement. Our relationship with God is informed by Scripture, and according to Jesus this relationship is what gives us life itself.
We are all seeking life. It’s built into our DNA. Every commercial offers it and every romance novel, every magazine article, and every toy we buy promises to give it to us. Sometimes we settle for counterfeits such as materialism, an addiction, or any other obsession; but in the end, everything fails to give us what we want. The entire book of Ecclesiastes is a study on the meaninglessness of life without God, written from the perspective of a man who had seen and done it all. King Solomon had over a thousand of the world’s most beautiful women waiting for his call. He had riches and honor that brought dignitaries from far and wide just to observe it; his wisdom and cunning were feared and revered. From an earthly perspective, his exploits are still referred to thousands of years later. Yet, in the end, he found it to be meaningless. All of his pleasures and pursuits did not bring life. What Solomon sought—and what we all seek—is authentic life. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Full and abundant life, Jesus says, is the very reason he came. This life cannot be found in earthly pursuits alone. King Solomon, the wisest man ever known, demonstrates this. Jesus, God in flesh, demonstrates this.
When we expect external things to bring us peace and happiness, we live our lives backward— outside in rather than inside out. Living from the inside out correctly orients us to the vine, the life force of God within us. From this place of connectedness we experience the abundance we crave. And when we have an insatiable desire for more of God, we are truly living an authentic life.
Just as our bodies need a balanced diet, our souls require a steady diet of Scripture. Our spirits cannot survive without the Word of God. God sets us a banquet. He offers us 31,173 nutrient-rich verses about himself and encourages us to feast! We nourish our hungry souls when we devote a balanced and generous amount of time to feasting on the truths of Scripture. It doesn’t take long to notice the change. The Bible is life-giving—it revives every famished heart and breathes resurrection power into deathbed souls.
Watch for the next post in this series later this month! In the meantime, you can read more of Brian’s writing in Passages, or follow his work at Daily Audio Bible. You can keep up with him each day at his blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook or G+ pages.