I have observed as a general rule that mankind tends to put off big decisions, big tasks and deep thinking about the big issues in life until such a time as they cannot be avoided any longer.
The thinking may sound like this, “Sure I know I need to think about religion eventually, but that’s a long ways off…lot’s of life to live before I need to deal with that sort of thing.”
This same attitude has always been prevalent among men. Perhaps that’s why Moses had these words to say to the Israelites after giving them commands from the Lord:
And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:45-47)
You would think that it would be enough for the people of Israel to simply hear a word from God. After all, they had seen great and awesome works – miracles that no one had ever seen before. But Moses wouldn’t have had to say, “it is no empty word for you, but your very life” if there wasn’t a natural tendency to disregard and not take seriously God’s words and God’s commands.
In the New Testament, we see the same thing with Felix and several of the other rulers that Paul testified before during his trial. He confronted them with such stark and powerful truth that they were forced to put him off. They didn’t want to deal with life and death decisions – they simply wanted more wine and cheese!
We find the same thing today, and that’s why (I believe) we read Jesus saying things like “I am the way the truth and the life” – He wants us to understand in no uncertain terms that His words are not “empty” or simply prophetic, or merely good for instruction. To follow the teaching of Jesus is to make life and death decisions.
The Apostle John later affirmed this in his first epistle:
Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:10-12)
Perhaps you would agree with me that these are “big” topics. You ought not to open the Bible simply to read bedtime stories. And what is more, most homes in America own a Bible of some kind, yet it sits there neglected. The words of life, ignored. Night after night we watch our favorite television show, and delay the bigger things in life. We know the truth is out there…but that can wait until tomorrow…can’t it?
To ask the question is to answer it.
Furthermore, if you are a Christian and you are not regularly reading the word of God you are depriving yourself. You are cutting off the oxygen of the Christian life, and you are doomed to go through life with little wisdom and no joy. I want to encourage you to pick up the Word – be intentional and have a plan. Get some accountability and read the Word with someone. Do not neglect the excellent in place of the average. Do not neglect life in place of death.
I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:4-7)