When my children needed to be homeschooled we had to find time to do it. Kelli and I oriented our lives around opposite schedules and we made sacrifices. One of the sacrifices for me was the daily posting of Bible study reflections on this blog. I hadn’t really done it for a constant flow of readers – my postings were too frequent to be popular. Popular bloggers limit themselves to one decent post a week. In fact a decent post has been defined to me as a weekly blurb of about 800 words or less.
One of the things I sacrificed along with my daily postings was my daily reading of a commentary. I would get up each morning and read a selection from scripture from the NIV Application Commentary series. I have read the majority of the commentaries now, but as I was finishing up 1 Corinthians I just let it go. My rationalisation was that I would be reading daily with my children, so I would check the box of daily Bible study with them.
However, as I drew from a shallower well, so my refreshment and renewal became more superficial. In doing a routine for the sake of my children, I lost the depth of connection that I had done from my own heart to God. I hadn’t become pagan, but I had become less thoroughly Christian. Not that God was saving me less, but just that our conversations had become less enlivening.
Today I read the introduction to a commentary on 2 Corinthians and I was drawn into the book in a deeper way. I have had oases of experience over the last year and a half, but they have been oases and not running rivers. I have prepared sermons and tried to spend close to twenty to twenty-five hours with a text. When I know that I am preaching on a passage, somehow I make time for it.
Bible study can not just be a cerebral activity, it must be formative. It is not about the information, but the formation (James K A Smith). The patterns we form our lives around must also have a focus. The focus of all of us should be the father heart of God. Our highest call is into divine intimacy, and our life practices must show that.
This summer I am challenged to re-institute a pattern of Bible study that does not check a box, but that consistently holds my attention and fixes my gaze away from self and onto a saviour who is bigger than my mind can grasp. I have studied the Bible consistently, but it has not been devotedly. In developing a pattern of devotion and prayer in my children I have neglected a healthy pattern in my self. Eating consistently the diet of an 8-year-old is not sufficient nourishment for a 47-year-old.
As I post on the Plymothian, I am not producing so that others may consume. I am not buying in to a system of commercial success, platform building, or broadcasting. I am just journaling for God and committing to evidence that my heart is devoted to him. May it be so.