Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Hope you “recover” from a long weekend of eating and having fun. Some claimed to have gained several pounds over this weekend – it usually takes several months of diet plan and exercise to recover your waist size and weight. There is always a price to pay for having so much fun with food. We need to be reminded once again that man shallnot live by bread alone but by every word of God. It is time to turn our eyes to spiritual food which is always edifying.
Just having print on page and knowing how to distinguish nouns from verbs is not enough. Reading the Bible can get you into a lot of trouble if you do not do it rightly. You might own your own Bible but you don’t own the Word of God to do with what you want—God is sovereign. Your Morocco leather Bible might be thing that you paid fifty dollars for, but the Word of God is personal, living and active—God is love. If in our Bible reading we do not submit to the sovereignty and respond to the love, we become arrogant in our knowing and impersonal in our behavior.
The wisdom, counsel, and skills that have developed around this concern through the centuries coalesce under the Latin heading, Lectio Divina, often translated as “spiritual reading,” by which we are taught to read the Bible with humility and intimacy.
The word “spiritual” in the phrase doesn’t refer to reading about spiritual things, but to the way in which a book is read. Primarily it has to do with the way we read Holy Scripture, listening to the Spirit, alert to intimations of God, but the skill can be extended to nearly anything written, including letters, poems, novels, even cookbooks.
The concern of Lectio Divina is quite simple, really—at least simple to grasp. It means reading personally, not impersonally, reading for a message that affects who we are and are becoming, the way we live our lives, and not merely for information that we can use to raise our standard of living.
[Jesus said,] “. . . if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:16-17). Unfortunately, a lot of Christians read the word but did not apply to their lives. As a result, their lives are like building sand castles at the beach (not even building a house on the sand beach), which could not stand a gentle wave of life. I was approached by one lady in church who sought counsel for her husband. She claimed he was a devoted Christian and aware of all the teachings in the bible but could not apply them in life. What could she do for her husband? It was a very personal question for this brother in Christ. He knew but he did not apply the truth in his life. As a result, he struggled in his life by his own strength with no satisfaction at all (other than making money). Allow the Word of God take hold of our lives is a life long experience. But once we make it a habit to obey God’s word in whatever “baby step” at a time, we will grow in Him each day. Amen!
With Love in Christ,