What do we do when reading the Bible is about as exciting as folding laundry? How should we think and feel when God Almighty's book of Infinite Love seems as stale as the end piece of an old loaf of bread? Isn't Jesus the Bread of Life? Why does God's Word feel almost like death at times?
Usually when we are experiencing Scripture in this way it is not long before we close the ancient tome with a helpless, guilty conscience, and involve ourselves in pleasures or duties that we have more control over. We can keep flipping through the T.V. channels until we find something entertaining. Or working on anything gives us at least a slight sense of accomplishment. But reading Scripture when our hearts are dull to it? It's like a young boy being made by mom to follow her around in the department store for hours. She sifts, and looks, and doesn't buy, until finally she leads him outside, and he feels the sunshine, and knows he's going home to have real fun.
We want to experience the sunshine of God's Word. We want it to be real fun. But when our hearts are dull, the choice is either to quit reading at the slightest excuse or to force ourselves to read.
Forcing ourselves to continue reading is the right way to go. We must not knock once and then go running off, concluding no one is home. If we are going to sin in our lack of delight in God's Word (and that is a sin) then we might as well sin while seeking not to sin- we must keep reading! But not only that, we should ask God to fan the inextinguishable flame of His Spirit within us. Ask! Seek! Knock! Knock louder! "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) Is there still no answer? KNOCK LOUDER! Break your knuckles if need be: "God! Come visit my heart! Come! Come! Come! Come make me feel Your Spirit's blessedness as I peer into Your Word!"
Still no answer? Maybe it has been quite some time since we have actually met Him. Maybe we have never met Him. Those who have can remember the times of "joy inexpressible and full of glory," (1 Peter 1:8). Either way though, saved or unsaved, Jesus is the Door (John 10:9) to knock on. Expect Him to answer!
The longer it has been since we have met with Him in the heavenlies the longer we may have to knock. Remember that our relationship with Him is the great relationship over all our other relationships, and just like it is with a friend we haven't seen in a while, we can't always just pick up where we left off. It is strange to be with a friend who seems like a stranger. Face to face time is needed. Conversation is needed- even if it feels cold and formal and forced at first. Among things we can touch, the Bible is God's Face. Get face to Face with Him. Put yourself before His Word and ask- "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law." (Psalm 119:18)
If our relationship with this old Friend is worth more than all other relationships combined, then let's fight to feel His Face. Let's kiss the Bible. Hug it. Read it. It is our Lord's Word to us. Jesus shed His blood so that we might hold this book in our hands and talk to Him, and hear His powerful voice.
If face to Face time, day after day, still does not bring our hearts to melt sweetly at the reading of His Word, it is time to fight. Are we ready to fight? Are we ready to prove to God and to ourselves that He is the Supreme relationship in our lives? That He is far more valuable to us (deep down inside us, somewhere?) than all the things our five senses can detect? Then it's time to get mad at ourselves, sorry for our waywardness, and determined to find delight in God again. Instead of just God-less joy in the gifts He gives, remember that He still urges you on: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep [over your neglect of God]; let your [superficial] laughter be turned to [genuine] mourning and your [fleeting] joy to [selfless] gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." (James 4:8-10)
We know that God's Spirit is like the wind (John 3:8), and that even for believers He blows in a way that is unpredictable. Sometimes a gust of Heaven's Wind will suddenly fill us when we aren't even looking for Him.(He likes to surprise us!) We also know that we can't experience Him unless, ultimately, He acts first. But that does not mean we just walk in the cold, and wait for a change in the weather. Let's get active, go inside, and put logs in the fireplace. Let's show God and ourselves that we are tired of the cold. Let's search our hearts as we force ourselves to read the Bible. And let's not be surprised at how dull we still are: we are sinners, and there is more inside us that is opposed to the Word of God than we dare admit to ourselves! But we should admit it, and admit it openly to God. And let us meditate: "What part of my heart am I holding back from You God? What part of my life- what duty or entertainment or ambition- is more important to me right now than fellowship with You? I do want my heart to be warm God, but only if it can be with You and because of You."
So, let's do away with the dull and guilty. Let's do away with being merely "moral" (what a dry, unbiblical word!) towards the Word, getting it "over with". Let's knock hard, and then wait expectantly. Let's knock hard, and then search our hearts and lives before His Face. For in the Word is a holy pleasure worth looking for, waiting for, and praying for.
May God bless you in your pursuit.